MIAMI (CBS4) – Governor Rick Scott may be in hot water with the American Civil Liberties Union after several sheriffs’ deputies threw out several people wearing “Vote Democratic” t-shirts at the public state budget signing event in The Villages last month.
The deputies were caught on camera, which was later posted on YouTube, telling the group that they were doing what they were instructed to do by a member of Governor Scott’s staff.
“Why did they put it in the newspaper as a public event?” remarked one person that was thrown out of the signing event.
Those holding pro-Scott signs were reportedly allowed to stay.
The ACLU finds the incident disturbing.
“They should be embarrassed,” said ACLU spokesperson Howard Simon.
Scott’s office first denied ordering the crowd weeded out but a spokesman later said “the governor accepts responsibility for decisions by his staff. This confusion and the results it created will not happen again.”
The ACLU sees the budget signing debacle as the latest in Scott efforts to keep the public out of public business.
“This administration, from the day it was elected, has been trying to operate as if Florida didn’t have a tradition, didn’t have a constitution, didn’t have laws that require government,” said Simon.
The ACLU may file suit over the incident. If so, it would be the third the union has filed against the governor.
Just in the last week, the ACLU has filed two civil rights suits – one challenging a law he signed that makes it more difficult for some citizens to vote, and an executive order directing that state employees undergo mandatory drug testing.