Cops in St. Petersburg, Florida stated Thursday that they’d be posting MPs at 5 early polling stations as a precaution, the day after two armed males dressed as safety guards had been seen in a marketing campaign tent outdoors a polling station.
The boys informed a police officer that that they had been employed by the Trump marketing campaign to supply safety, deputy Chuck Skipper of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Workplace stated. However county sheriff Bob Gualtieri stated he had “completely no affirmation” that the boys had been employed by the marketing campaign. The boys stated they had been guards for a Florida-based safety firm, Gualtieri stated.
Thea McDonald, a spokeswoman for President Trump’s marketing campaign, stated in a press release: “The marketing campaign didn’t rent these folks or instruct the marketing campaign to go to the polls.”
The boys’s presence got here at a time of stress and worry of election turmoil after the Trump marketing campaign promised to ship “a military” of election screens to polling stations. Through the first presidential debate, Mr. Trump urged supporters “to enter the elections and watch very carefully”.
Mr Gualtieri stated that whereas the boys made some voters uneasy, they didn’t break the regulation.
“All of a sudden two folks arrived, they had been carrying mild brown khaki pants, they had been carrying blue polo shirts with security badges,” stated Gualtieri. “They had been additionally armed and wore gun belts and had firearms. This has raised some issues because of the elevated consciousness. “
However he added: “Their mere presence doesn’t coerce or intimidate voters. Some folks may see these folks right here and it would not make them really feel nice. On the opposite facet of the coin, it will probably make others really feel good as a result of they really feel protected. “
The League of Ladies Voters instantly expressed concern that the presence of MPs at polling stations may even deter voters from showing, and famous a historical past of electoral obstacles in St. Petersburg.
“Whereas the intent is for voters to be actually comfy about yesterday’s occasions, it doesn’t require regulation enforcement officers to be at polling stations,” stated Linsey Grove, the group’s native president.
The pinnacle of the safety firm that employs the boys, Syotos, primarily based in Crestview, Fla., Attributed the episode to a misunderstanding involving an off obligation employee. “We had an off obligation employee selecting up a member of the family who occurred to be close to a polling station,” wrote Syotos government director Trei McMullen, saying the employee was “on no account concerned.” Watch survey. “
In one other incident in Florida in Miami-Dade County, prosecutor Katherine Fernández Rundle stated Thursday that her workplace could be investigating the case of a Miami metropolis police officer who wore a face mask with a mundane pro-Trump slogan to an early voting level on Tuesday in uniform. The division has introduced that officer Daniel Ubeda will probably be disciplined.
Patricia Mazzei contributed to the protection.