News Pensacola Politics

Mayor’s Gallery Night Statement

October 30, 2012

The mayor issued the following statement today, following the local police union’s request last week that the Pensacola City Council investigate him for misuse of position and intimidation due to an alleged incident that occurred during the Oct. 19 Gallery Night event downtown.


Statement by Mayor Ashton Hayward on Gallery Night issues


The City, the Downtown Improvement Board (DIB), and downtown business owners have worked hard to make Downtown Pensacola walkable, safe, and inviting. Gallery Night is Downtown Pensacola’s signature event, and an opportunity to showcase our downtown businesses to thousands of visitors.


At recent Gallery Night events, the closure of Palafox Street has extended through midnight due to corporate sponsorships which have covered the cost of security and liability insurance. Unfortunately, the DIB could not obtain such sponsorship for the October 19 Gallery Night, and many attendees were unaware that Palafox Street would be opened at 9:00 PM.


As the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Pensacola, it is my job to ensure that our police officers interact with citizens in a positive and respectful manner, and those issues will be addressed internally. I am currently working with the Chief of Police and the DIB to refine our protocol on how to best manage large events. I respect and appreciate our police officers, and I look forward to working together to make sure Gallery Night and other downtown events are safe and inviting.

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  • Alex November 1, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Watch this video Sandy. This is riot control, which later included tear gas.

  • jeeperman November 1, 2012 at 9:49 am

    So with every Tom, Dick and Sandy having a video capable cell phone, I have seen no mention of any video posted to support what some say was abusive or appalling behavior.
    Can’t say that I believe some citizens versus the PPD version.

  • James November 1, 2012 at 9:26 am

    @ Sandy

    I was in attendance at Gallery Night and saw everything from the vantage point of a balcony. What I saw were hundreds and hundreds of people who completely ignored the police officers who were attempting to clear the street. I saw several officers walking through with one car behind them using the speaker to announce the road opening they were largely ignored. I too took a look at the Facebook pages you were referring to and I saw very few negative comments. It has to be a tough job moving thousands of people from the streets and I don’t think there is a kind, gentle way to get it done.

  • Sandy November 1, 2012 at 8:55 am

    @Alex, I guess all of the people that posted on the DIB and WEAR-TV facebook pages about the poor conduct of the PPD at Gallery Night are all liars too? Disappointing when our officers can’t admit they handled a situation badly.

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