Police overtime costs for Capitol protest top $100K
The estimated cost of police overtime during the ongoing Capitol sit-in has surpassed the $100,000 mark. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which oversees the Capitol Police, released the latest figures on Friday. Overtime costs alone, including for uniformed police and FDLE agents brought in for relief, now stands at $103,563, according to the agency. The state has, in effect, provided protesters around-the-clock protection as they sit, eat and sleep in the governor's reception area and nearby hallways on the Capitol's plaza level. Twenty-five people slept in the Capitol on Thursday night.The sit-in is now in its third week. Workers already have taken down the official portraits of past governors that hang in the hall immediately outside the governor's office. Staff members said they were worried about the paintings being bumped into and damaged. Protesters, led by the Dream Defenders student group, are upset over George Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. They've said they won't leave until Gov. Rick Scott calls lawmakers back into special session to reconsider the state's "stand your ground" law and enact civil-rights legislation named after the slain teen. "Stand your ground" allows attacked people to meet perceived deadly force with deadly force in self-defense without requiring them to flee. Zimmerman did not invoke "stand your ground" to seek a dismissal of the charges against him, but parts of the law were used in the jury instructions. Scott has refused their request, though House Speaker Will Weatherford now says he's asked his Criminal Justice subcommittee to hold at least one hearing to revisit "stand your ground" this fall.