CORAL SPRINGS, FL – Since the killing of George Floyd set off demonstrations across the nation in late May, Coral Springs has had about a dozen protests – all of them peaceful without any problems other than a few large crowds pouring into busy streets, City Manager Frank Babinec said Tuesday.
In a virtual meeting with business leaders, Babinec said police have worked with organizers of the local protests to help them plan the events, some of which drew up to 450 people and led protesters to flood the streets around the intersection of Sample Road and University Drive, requiring police to briefly redirect traffic.
“In the end of the day, we have not made an arrest associated with a protest yet. Nor have we had to use any real force to get any of the protests under any kind of control,” Babinec said during a meeting of the Coral Springs Coconut Creek Regional Chamber of Commerce.
So far, Coral Springs has been spared the kind of violent protests and looting that has gripped other cities across the nation.
City officials, including Mayor Scott Brook, have welcomed peaceful protests that allowed demonstrators to express outrage over the killings of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement in recent years.
Babinec said at the meeting that the protesters are not the problem.
“It’s the agitators, folks who want to come in and do not share the messages of the protesters. They want to see disruption. And what sucks about that is that it takes the focus off the protesters and takes the focus away from the message,” Babinec said.
He added: “That’s not what we need right now. We need a very focused message, so we can look at opportunities that need to be made right now.”
As part of that, Coral Springs officials are meeting with community leaders Thursday to evaluate the city’s policing processes, procedures, and policies, he said.
“We want to make sure we’re doing it correctly. We want to make sure we’re doing it the way it should be done to serve our community,” Babinec said.
He told business leaders that Coral Springs is committed to keep working on improving policing.
“The day you say you have it 100 percent right, you probably should step aside because there’s always room for improvement,” Babinec said.
Know a story we should share with our readers? Email editor Leon Fooksman (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell him about it.