The tracker told a deputy that since Demings was in the parking lot of a public park, “he felt he had the right to attempt to ask” Demings questions. He tried to approach Demings twice but was “met with physical resistance,” the man told police. The tracker, who recounted his version of events to the deputy at a local McDonald’s after the incident, showed three injuries he claims he suffered during the alleged altercation, including what appeared to be a “new” abrasion on his left side, he told the deputy.
The tracker wanted to press charges but didn’t know the identities of the security guards.
A large section of the sheriff’s office report was blacked out because it is “criminal intelligence” and “information” that is being used as part of an active battery investigation, according to Brevard’s records office.
Two short videos that were turned over to the sheriff’s office as evidence and obtained by POLITICO show a tussle between two men and the tracker.
In one nine-second video, three people can be seen approaching the tracker and then two men appear to push him down. The tracker can be heard saying “what are you doing?” An unidentified person says, “you can’t go up. Stay down.” Then someone says “deescalate, deescalate.”
In a longer 40-second video — which appears to have been recorded prior to the altercation — the tracker can be heard telling someone that “I’m just doing my job” and “I’ve been so good to you guys.” A person off camera can be heard saying “don’t touch me.” The incident and videos were first reported by Florida Politics.
But another video of the incident — shot by someone a few feet away and obtained by POLITICO — shows footage that appears to be from before the incident as well as the scuffle itself. In the third video, the tracker is seen trying to run away from the security team and chase after a moving car that Demings was riding in.
The security team can be seen restraining the tracker. Eventually, after he tries to run away again, he can be seen either falling or getting pushed to the ground. A member of the security detail then is overheard saying “let him go.” This video does not pick up the comments made by the tracker on the other videos.
Christian Slater, a spokesperson for the Demings campaign, said in a statement that “security officials take potential threats and threatening behavior toward the chief seriously. In this instance, the individual did not respond to multiple requests to leave and aggressively charged at security personnel in pursuit of Chief Demings’ approaching vehicle.”
Federal campaign filings show that Demings has spent more than $17,000 this year on security services.
Republicans — who have been trying to undercut Demings experience as a former police chief — criticized the Demings campaign over the altercation.
“Her security detail assaulted a man, and she defended them,” said Priscilla Ivasco, a spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “I guess her law and order message only applies when she’s lying to Floridians in TV ads.”
Holly Otterbein contributed to this report.
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