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Florida taxpayers spend $505,000 on security for Capitol protest

3:39 PM, Sep 4, 2013   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The 31-day sit-in by protesters at the Florida Capitol ended up costing taxpayers more than $500,000.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports it paid officers with Capitol Police a total of $505,000 during that period, including about $170,000 in overtime pay.

Dozens of members of the group Dream Defenders staged a vigil at the Capitol from July 16 to mid-August because they were upset with the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.

They called for a special legislative session on Florida's Stand Your Ground law, and other issues, but were unable to convince Gov. Rick Scott or lawmakers to convene a session.

Shortly after the protest started, Gov. Scott's administration started putting out daily tallies on the cost to increase security at the Capitol.

Phillip Agnew of the Dream Defenders was asked about the cost of the sit-in for taxpayers at that time.

Agnew said the group was not there to waste people's money or time.

"We're here for the future of our kids. So how much money are you willing to save when you're talking about young people? I think they deserve the best. I think our young people deserve the best possible opportunity for a productive future. So costs? How much are you willing to spend on your kids?"

Dave Heller

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