Commission meeting canceled over Facebook post

Thursday’s regular scheduled commission meeting would have been the last for Commissioner Gail Johnson and the commission’s last before its fall recess from Oct. 1-10.

The City of Gainesville announced Wednesday evening that the meeting was canceled after threats of violence.

“The emotionally charged events of the last several days have left tensions running high, and have culminated in threats of violence against our elected officials,” a city release said. “We take these threats seriously, and the decision was made to cancel out of an abundance of caution.”

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The threat came from a Facebook post by Chanae Jackson talking about Commissioner Reina Saco.

“I will literally drag her and be smiling on the mugshot,” one post said.

Graham Glover, GPD spokesman, said Saco and city hall asked the department to look into the threat.

GPD investigated the threat and conferred with state attorney Brian Kramer, but while the comments were threatening, they were not criminal.

Glover said GPD has only looked into this one incident and wasn’t involved in any later city hall decisions.

In his 15 months with GPD, Glover said he doesn’t recall investigating threats made against commissioners.

In a Facebook live video, Jackson said Saco and city hall canceled the meeting in order to overshadow the fact that Saco pointed her middle finger at a group of firefighters protesting outside of city hall in late August. A video of the incident just appeared this week.

A second reason, according to Jackson, is to undercut Johnson’s last regular commission meeting after she announced her resignation in August.

“Why is it that we’re discussing what I put on Facebook,” Jackson said in the 26-minute video. “Let’s discuss the work that needs to be done.”

A special election will be held in November for the at-large seat, costing the city around $200,000.

Mainstreet Daily News reached out to the City of Gainesville, but the city said they had no new information besides the email sent to announce the cancellation of Thursday’s meeting.

The commission was scheduled to talk about safety on University Avenue, finding interim charter officers, adding parks to the registry of Protected Public Places, an appointment of a new mayor pro-tem and what to do with the old fire station.

These items will be moved to a future meeting.

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