An updated press release from the Fernandez-Bardine Law Firm provides an official update to the St. Pete Gunman case. The full press release is included below:
On Thursday, October 22, nearly one month after a member of the alt-right, now identified as Lawrence Arnold Davis, pulled a gun on peaceful protesters in Downtown St. Petersburg, victim Kimberly Cox along with two members of counsel met with prosecutor Anthony Carlow in an attempt to make a voluntary statement to the State Attorney’s Office regarding the events of September 26.
Still suffering the effects of a concussion, severe bruising, and a probable broken tail bone after being illegally thrown to the ground by Davis during the incident, Ms. Cox traveled over an hour to tell her story.
A week prior, the same prosecutor canceled the same meeting with only two hours’ notice. While disappointing, we understand that things happen, and we were hopeful that, upon rescheduling, Mr. Carlow would give this case the respect it deserves. That did not happen. Instead, Mr. Carlow proceeded to bully both counsel and Ms. Cox.
From the moment he met us in the lobby of the State Attorney’s Office, counsel was wary of Mr. Carlow’s behavior as he failed to greet and introduce himself to Ms. Cox. Upon ushering us into an interview room, Mr. Carlow asked for a private audience with counsel outside of the presence of Ms. Cox. Counsel obliged. Mr. Carlow proceeded to aggressively bully counsel in an attempt to intimidate and assert control and power over counsel. Counsel did not back down. The interview began with the understanding that counsel would protect Ms. Cox from any intimidating and potentially traumatizing behavior perpetrated by Mr. Carlow.
Although neither counsel nor Ms. Cox had ever met Mr. Carlow previously, Mr. Carlow’s bullying behavior only increased as the meeting progressed. Counsel observed that Mr. Carlow was red-faced, shaking, and aggressive, making both Ms. Cox and her counsel extremely uncomfortable. The interview was terminated less than 30 minutes in, at which time Mr. Carlow continued to bully and harass counsel as well as Ms. Cox down a narrow and enclosed hallway.
An additional Assistant State Attorney accompanied Mr. Carlow during the interview. She never spoke aside from introductions.
Although it is counsel’s opinion that Mr. Carlow’s attempts at bullying were to serve to stop this case in its tracks, his bullying was not effective. Although the interview with Mr. Carlow was terminated, we did not give up. We requested an immediate audience with Bernie McCabe, and we waited.
We arrived at 10:00 AM for our original meeting. The meeting was terminated by 10:40 AM. At around 11:30 AM, Ms. Cox and Counsel met with Assistant State Attorney Fred Shaub. Counsel relayed our concerns to Mr. Shaub regarding Mr. Carlow’s behavior as well as the previous behavior of law enforcement. We requested that Ms. Cox be interviewed by someone who is comfortable and familiar with speaking to victims of violent crime. Mr. Shaub responded appropriately, and the interview proceeded under the questioning of Assistant State Attorney Elizabeth Constantine. Mr. Schaub remained present while Ms. Constantine questioned Ms. Cox. Ms. Constantine behaved with the utmost professionalism, and we are grateful for her tone, tenor, and demeanor. We remained at the State Attorney’s office until just after 2:00 PM.
Although Ms. Constantine referred to Lawrence Arnold Davis as the “defendant,” we also learned that the State Attorney’s office had not yet made any filing decisions regarding the incident- an incident that was entirely caught on video.
In Facebook posts, Davis exhibits an infatuation with inflicting violence upon protesters, showing a premeditated desire to inflict harm upon those with different viewpoints who are exercising their First Amendment Rights.
In one Facebook post dated June 20, Davis shares an article from Arizonasticker.com, an alt-right online store and blog, with the following title: “Man Defends Himself Against Rioters Who Attacked Him With Knives/Skateboard.” The thumbnail photo shows a man holding a gun and pointing it outward. It mirrors the images released of Davis pulling his own gun on peaceful protesters. His caption on June 20 states: “I would have done the same these little pussy’s [sic] are only tough in mob mode.”
We believe this post to be the inspiration for Mr. Davis’ false accusations against two Black men shown in the videos previously released to both the public and to law enforcement, Black men who had suffered continuous racial slurs as well as racially motivated intimidation by Davis before suffering Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon at the hands of Davis as reported by victim’s to both law enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office.
Davis hired counsel shortly after the events of September 26.
We demand the State Attorney’s Office immediately file charges against Lawrence Arnold Davis. Charges include, but are not limited to, the following: Improper Exhibition of a Firearm (Fla. Stat. 790.10), Carrying a Concealed Weapon While Under the Influence of Alcohol (Fla. Stat. 790.151), Providing False Information to a Law Enforcement Officer During Investigation (Fla. Stat. 837.055), Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (Fla. Stat. 784.021), and Felony Battery (Fla. Stat. 784.041).
Moreover, we demand that charges against Davis be reclassified under Florida’s Hate Crime Statute, which states that “the penalty for any felony or misdemeanor shall be reclassified…if the commission of such felony or misdemeanor evidences prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, or advanced age of the victim.” (Fla. Stat. 775.085).
Further, while Mr. Carlow’s behavior regarding this matter has been unacceptable, he still maintains his position as lead prosecutor on this case.
We do not trust Mr. Carlow with this case. We do not trust him with the brave victims coming forward to tell their stories. We do not trust him to effectively hold those stories, and we do not trust his judgment moving forward. In short: We do not trust Mr. Carlow to effectuate justice in this case or any case involving the conduct of the alt-right. We implore Mr. McCabe to recuse Mr. Carlow from this case as well as from any case involving the ongoing protests. We implore the State Attorney’s Office to reassign this case effective immediately.
Finally, we call on the community for action.
If you were a victim of violence at the September 26 protest, a witness, or can help identify any of the other alt-right assailants shown on video, we urge you to come forward.
In addition, please contact Bernie McCabe, State Attorney for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, at (727) 464-6221, as well as Mayor Rick Kriseman regarding the prosecution of Lawrence Arnold Davis.
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