A man protesting Florida’s handling of coronavirus outbreaks in the state’s prisons was arrested Friday after confining himself in two barrels filled with concrete outside the governor’s mansion.
Jordan Mazurek, 28, a self-identified sociologist and “national organizer and co-creator of the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons” was charged with a misdemeanor count of resisting an officer without violence, court records state, USA Today reports.
Mazurek was first spotted outside the Tallahassee mansion’s fence around 6 a.m. and cops, who failed in dissuading him from continuing the protest, started to use jackhammers to get rid of the barrels’ concrete that encased his hands, Kevin Bradshaw, a spokesman for Tallahassee police, told the outlet.
After around two hours, during which firefighters were working to get him out, Mazurek was freed not long after 10:30 a.m.
PVC pipes were placed into the pair of concrete-filled 55-gallon plastic drums in which Mazurek, who was donning a mask and face shield, had stuck his arms, the spokesman said. “Stop the massacre” was painted on one drum, with the other reading, “Free prisoners now.”
Turns out, Mazurek didn’t actually need any help freeing himself from the compromising position.
After spotting the man adjusting his mask, police realized he’d used carabiner clips to attach his arms and keep them “from being forcibly removed, but he could unclip himself if he chose,” Bradshaw explained.
Karen Smith, a 45-year-old who was with Mazurek, fled as the state’s Department of Law Enforcement agents went to investigate. She was arrested later in the day and also charged with misdemeanor resisting without violence.
In a demonstration organized by Capital City Mutual Aid earlier this week, prisoner rights advocates in about 20 vehicles went to the Department of Corrections’ headquarters — also in Tallahassee — and the Capitol complex.
Bemoaning the lack of social distancing prisoners can do and the medical care they get, the demonstrators called for the release of Florida inmates so coronavirus could stop being spread in prisons and jails.
The virus has been confirmed in 54 of the state’s prisons and four probation offices, Tampa Bay Times reported Friday. At the time, four inmates were confirmed to have died of COVID-19.