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It’s over: Dream Defenders quit protest

By   /   August 16, 2013  /   News  /   29 Comments

AP photo

IT’S OVER: Dream Defenders left the Florida Capitol on Thursday after a month-long occupation of the governor’s office.


By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

TALLAHASSEE — There will be no more “mic checks,” cable news interviews or sleepovers at the Florida Capitol. The stand your ground protesters have gone home.

After occupying Gov. Rick Scott’s office for 31 days, the group known as Dream Defenders called it quits Thursday after lawmakers opted not to convene a special legislative session to address the group’s agenda.

Chief among their priorities was the repeal of Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law, which, according to the group, makes Florida less safe.

The Florida Sheriff’s Association, however, disagrees. A recent statement cites unanimous support for the law as written.

Floridians also approve 2-to-1, and a new Quinnipiac Poll shows a majority of Americans support the measure as well.

Initially, the protesters wanted Scott to declare a special session — the reason they targeted his office. Scott met with the protesters three days after the sit-in began but said he agreed with the law and instead called for a day prayer.

The protesters tried to bypass the governor by gaining legislative support. If three-fifths of the 160-member Legislature agreed with them, a special session could be triggered.

But that effort fell short when the Florida Secretary of State announced Wednesday that after 120 votes only 37 lawmakers wanted to reconvene. The magic number of 96 was out of reach.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, promptly took to twitter:

Weatherford SYG tweet

As of Thursday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said the state had spent $428,566 in security costs during the month-long protest, reported the News Service of Florida.

The sit-in was peaceful and began as a reaction to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the Sanford neighborhood watchman who shot and killed 17-year old Trayvon Martin.

Several civil rights leaders made appearances to express support, including Jesse Jackson, Harry Belafonte and Julian Bond.

Capitol police confirmed the protest ended shortly before the building’s 5 p.m. closing on Thursday, and added the governor’s mansion was likely the group’s next meeting location.

Related: Stand Your Ground protesters occupy Florida governor’s office for second week

Related: Trayvon Martin protesters flood Florida governor’s office, and they’re not leaving anytime soon

Contact William Patrick at [email protected] or follow Florida Watchdog on Twitter at @watchdogfla Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!


William Patrick is Watchdog.org’s Florida reporter. His work has been featured by Fox News, the Drudge Report, and Townhall.com, as well as other national news and opinion websites. He’s also been cited and reposted by numerous state news organizations, including Florida Trend, Sunshine State News and the Miami Herald, and is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Florida Press Association. William’s work has impacted discussions on education, privacy, criminal justice reform, and government and corporate accountability. Prior to joining Watchdog, William worked for the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, Fla. There, he launched a legislative news website covering state economic issues. After leaving New York City in 2010, William worked for the Florida Attorney General’s Office where he assisted state attorneys general in prosecuting Medicaid Fraud. William graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College, City University of New York. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife and three young children.

  • travon


  • jody

    none of them have jobs,so this is just a florida vacation. wonder who is feeding this sorry bunch?

  • VoxVerum

    Learn how to spell loser, loser.

  • VoxVerum

    Why look! It’s the neocon mutual admiration society!

  • Prospector69

    Good point Jodi. I wonder, how many of the “protesters” live in Tallahassee, how many live in the county? Those people can go home at night and eat. But what about those who don’t live in the city or county? A month of expenses without a pay check! Is someone else picking up the tab? If so who? Are some of them, like Jackson, Belafonte and Bond, non-residents? How did they get there and who is picking up the bill?
    The Governor should only respond to state residents. Outsiders, go away!

  • ray

    Finally these wacko’s quit wasting the tax payers money. The governor should send the bill to that loud mouth Al Sharpton. I agree with you Jody.

  • Victor Blowfeld

    Did the Justice Dept fund this takeover? If so, Holder should be tried and put in prison.

  • SixSixSix

    Stalk and kill. A great law.

  • AfricanRockFish

    Zimmerman didn’t stalk anyone.

  • SixSixSix

    Nah, just a young Buck. But in Florida that’s always in season.

  • JamesinTampa

    wow….thats $576 per hour for security…how many security guards did they hire??

  • Thugvon Deserved It

    haha Sixsixsix, you must be extremely racist against the non-blacks. Nothing Zimmerman did was illegal, but if Thugvon was alive to day you know where he would be??? In jail awaiting trial for attempted murder and assault charges. The thug got out thugged and you need to get over it. If he didn’t want to take a dirt nap he should have just went home.

  • SixSixSix

    Eat dirt and die. No time for Trolls today. Sorry.

  • BTeboe

    You’re absolutely right, you’re the troll and you need to go home. Trayvon was an out-of-control teen whose parents did not know what to do. If mom had had some control over him, he would’ve never been in Zimmerman neighborhood. If the school district would’ve charged him with burglary instead of trying to sweep it under the rug and dish out suspension versus jail time, Trayvon would most likely still be alive. There are lots of people to blame, including Trayvon himself. Get over it. Case closed.

  • SixSixSix

    The right to walk down a street with Skittles and ice tea not menacing anyone in a place where you are legally residing is fundamental. It is called life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That happens to be the bedrock foundation of the Supreme law of the land (except in Florida if walking while Black.) Unless of course a bunch of racist crackers want you dead. In which case you racist crackers think it is just about the worst crime imaginable. Sad, sick people that you are.

  • BTeboe

    I think you need to begin at the beginning and the beginning was not Trayvon walking down the street. drinking watermelon tea, and eating a bag of skittles. The beginning was the number of robberies in the neighborhood. The residents got together and decided to start a neighborhood watch program of which Mr. Zimmerman was a member. That is the beginning of this tragedy.

  • SixSixSix

    And so the vigilante stalks and kills mistakenly. Brilliant. Way to go Florida. Stand your ground, even you are the threat.

  • phattdad144

    OK they call themselves the “Dreamers”. But they are protesting laws related to self defense? The Dreamers protested for 31 days and plan to start a protest at the governors mansion. How about get a job and at least appear to be one of the hard working immigrants that are seeking citizenship.

  • BTeboe

    You really like creating your own narrative, regardless of how close or far it is from the truth. Trayvon Martin attacked Zimmerman. Do you get that? Martin attacked Zimmerman and was in the process of pounding his head on the sidewalk. Martin ATTACKED Zimmerman, versteh? You’re a complete moron who is clueless to the real world. and BTW ‘Stand your ground’ law was not invoked by Zimmerman. If you’re so ate up with people just walking down the street and being killed, why don’t you espouse on the Australian teenager that was killed by three black teenagers because they had nothing better to do. I suppose in your tiny little mind it was a justified killing, because blacks should be allowed to kill indiscriminately and no white person has any reason to try and defend themselves. And the same for the white woman who was pushing her baby down the street when 2 black teens decided to shoot her baby point blank in the head and her in the leg because she had no money. Again I’m sure in your itsy bitsy brain that killing was also justified. You need to just shut the F up until you learn how to process the facts.

  • SixSixSix

    Wow, I guess the inability to see black helicopters overhead or receive messages from the Galactic High Command puts me at such a disadvantage. I see now. The whole trip to the market was a dodge. A trap. Darkie was out hunting white people. The Buck was the hunter armed with the deadly Skittles and ice tea, Travyon anticipated Zimmerman stalking him. But really it was a case of double cross stalking. Martin in his rush to die at the hands of an opponent armed with a quick kill gun without a safety, cleverly enticed Zimmerman into following him. Then he faked a conformation to commit suicide by pseudo-stalker to throw everybody off. Isn’t that just like what those people do. Probably has half of Saddam’s WMD back home where they plan white people killing incessantly. That’s we white folk for 300 years have had the right to kill blackie on sight so shut the fuck up. Wow can I join your Klan now? People like you make me believe in the death penalty for people like you. See, you succeeded at one thing, loser.

  • BTeboe

    WOW – You are a complete moron and you live in your own little ate up world. Yes I believe in the death penalty and people like you make me want to exercise that belief. I don’t have a klan unless you consider the majority of Americans who believe in our justice system – which is something that you do not. So you shut the fuck up you stupid fuck and while your stupid fucking mouth is shut why don’t you try growing a fucking brain cell and have a fucking synapse at least once a fucking day. See I too can use the F word with abandon.

  • khamilah

    Despite the ugly posts shown here, The Dream Defenders certainly had a right to protest the injustice of “profiling, hunting and killing Americans without provocation (as well as “cradle to prison” paths). Trayvon Martin was an “unarmed” black youth walking home who was murdered by George Zimmerman. No more will Americans stand silent when our children are murdered because GZ feared perceived robberies in the neighborhood.

  • SixSixSix

    Glad to be on the other side.

  • Shnookums

    Please excuse BTeboe’s excessive use of the word fuck. You must understand how frustrating it is to attempt logical debate with someone as ignorant as you. And no, before you ask, you may not join my Klan.

  • SixSixSix

    Got me own Klan. Our rope is stronger than yours and fires burn brighter.

  • Shnookums

    0_0 do tell, of what material are your ropes made? And what the hell are you burning? We only do crosses. Perhaps you burn white people? Oh I get it, this is your attempt at being idealistic…it’s the Constitution you are burning.

  • Shnookums

    At any rate, where’s all the spitfire and rage from a few days ago?? Quit being a pussy, lets have at it. I mean this is the Internet; here we can courageously duke it out behind our keyboards.

  • SixSixSix

    We only burn American Constitutions which burn with a true blue flame. Oh what a good Troll I am, I like that one. Back to it, we worship the Confederate one, just like the Tea Party but they aren’t Conservative enough for us, which basically means we are even more crazy than them. We don’t burn white people because they smell like roast pork and we are vegetarians. (So was Hitler.) We also burn hemp crosses to eliminate unnecessary steps. Now I bet you want to join our Klan. Sorry, membership is full, come back next year.

  • SixSixSix

    I rest my case with the last reply. Top that if you can. Out Troll me, I don’t think so.