Florida State Rep. Angie Nixon accuses Governor Ron DeSantis of contributing to racially motivated violence

In the aftermath of a racially motivated shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, State Rep. Angie Nixon (D) has strongly criticized Governor Ron DeSantis (R) for his role in what she considers to be an increasingly hostile environment for Black Floridians. The Saturday shooting, which took place at a Dollar General store and claimed the lives of three Black individuals, has once again brought racial tensions and the role of political leadership into the spotlight.

Tensions ran high during a community vigil for the victims. Governor Ron DeSantis, who attended the event on Sunday, was heckled by mourners, underscoring the palpable frustration and grief over what many see as his role in fostering a divisive environment in the state. The tragedy occurred on Saturday when a 21-year-old white man, Ryan Palmeter, who authorities say “hated Black people,” took the lives of three individuals—Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr, 19, and Jarrald De’Shaun Gallion, 29. The event has deepened the scrutiny of Governor DeSantis’s policies and rhetoric, with critics like State Rep. Angie Nixon accusing him of having “blood on his hands.”

Nixon, whose district includes the site of the deadly shooting, told MSNBC, “Look, at the end of the day, the governor has blood on his hands.” She went on to accuse DeSantis of targeting the Black community through his policy decisions and rhetoric, which she believes contributed to the atmosphere in which the shooting took place.

“His anti-woke policies are nothing more than a dog whistle to get folks riled up,” Nixon said, referring to DeSantis’s efforts to loosen gun restrictions and his support for controversial educational standards that limit the teaching of Black history.

The Governor did condemn the attack during the press conference on Sunday, stating that “targeting people due to their race has no place in the state of Florida.” However, Nixon criticized DeSantis for what she sees as hypocrisy, given his policy agenda and previous remarks. She pointed out that she and other Black lawmakers had “repeatedly” warned him about the consequences of his actions, most notably when he used the phrase “monkey this up” during his 2018 campaign against Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum, who is Black.


“This is absurd, it’s ridiculous. He is one of the causes of this,” Nixon added.

Nixon appeared alongside Governor DeSantis at a Jacksonville vigil on Sunday, where he was met with boos from the crowd. Later, she posted on social media platform X that DeSantis “needs to apologize for his part” in creating an environment that contributed to the tragedy.

“Gov. DeSantis and the Republican Party of Florida are doing nothing but hurting us. And I am angry. I will not continue to sit idly by,” said Nixon in an emotional message.

The shooting comes against a backdrop of what many see as rising racial tensions nationwide. The incident serves as a harsh reminder of the historic and ongoing impact of racial inequality in America, not least in local governments where policy decisions can disproportionately affect marginalized communities.

While the motive for the shooting is still under investigation, what remains clear is that the events have ignited a broader conversation about the role of political rhetoric and policy in perpetuating racial tensions. Critics like Nixon argue that far from being neutral, such rhetoric can have real and tragic consequences.


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