The tracker told a deputy that since Demings was in the parking lot of a public park, “he felt he had a right to try and ask” Demings questions. He tried to approach Demings twice but “met physical resistance”, the man told police. The tracker, who told his version of events to the assistant 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 file a complaint but did not know the identity of the security guards.
Much of the sheriff’s office report was redacted because it is “criminal intelligence” and “information” that is being used in an active battery investigation, according to the Brevard records office.
Two short videos that were turned over to the sheriff’s office as evidence and obtained by POLITICO show a fight between two men and the tracker.
In a nine-second video, three people can be seen approaching the tracker, then two men appear to be pushing it down. The tracker can be heard saying “what are you doing?” An unidentified person says, “You can’t go up. Stay on the ground.” Then someone says “de-escalate, de-escalate”.
In a longer 40-second video – which appears to have been recorded before the altercation – the tracker can be heard telling someone ‘I’m just doing my job’ and ‘I’ve been so good to you guys’ . An off-camera person can be heard saying “don’t touch me”. The incident and videos were first reported by Florida Politics.
But another video of the incident – filmed by someone a few feet away and obtained by POLITICO – shows footage that appears to predate the incident as well as the scuffle itself. In the third video, the tracker is seen trying to flee from the security team and chase a moving car that Demings was driving in.
The security team can be seen restraining the tracker. Eventually, after trying to run away again, he can be seen falling or being pushed to the ground. A member of the security service is then heard saying “let him go”. This video does not include comments made by the tracker on other videos.
Christian Slater, spokesman for the Demings campaign, said in a statement that “security officials take potential threats and threatening behavior toward the leader seriously. In this instance, the individual failed to respond to multiple requests to leave and aggressively charged security personnel in pursuit of Chief Demings’ approaching vehicle.
Federal campaign documents show Demings has spent more than $17,000 this year on security services.
Republicans – who have tried to undermine Demings’ experience as a former police chief – criticized Demings’ campaign over the altercation.
“Her security guards assaulted a man and she defended them,” said Priscilla Ivasco, spokeswoman for the Republican National Senate Committee. “I guess her message of law and order only applies when she lies to Floridians in TV commercials.”
Holly Otterbein contributed to this report.