FDLE says security cost of Dream Defenders protests tops $200,000

6:41 AM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
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Video: FDLE reveals security cost of Dream Defenders protest

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St. Petersburg, FL -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says the cost of security for the Dream Defenders round the clock protest at the state capitol has now reached $212,337.

But at least one state lawmaker worries the security cost numbers are being sent out to put pressure on the Dream Defenders to end their sit-in.

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SEE ALSO: Jesse Jackson stands with Dream Defenders, calls for FL boycott

"If, in any way, it's a disingenuous attempt to paint, or color, the students as costing taxpayers dollars for exercising in America the right to protest for what one believes is right, I think is wrong," said state Representative Darryl Rouson, of St. Petersburg.

"All they're doing is exercising what the constitution guarantees and to try to belittle it, if that's the intention, by putting a dollar cost on it I think is wrong."

In addition, 10 News has learned the security total of $212,000 may be misleading. More than half of that money would be spent on capitol security even if the Dream Defenders were not there says FDLE Spokesperson Gretl Plessinger.

In fact, the FDLE says the overtime associated with the sit-in, which is the closest, truest number for the security cost is just $84,674 and Plessinger says that total may be reduced through flextime.

The Dream Defenders began their round the clock sit-in at the capitol on July 15. They want to Governor to call a special session to consider repealing the state's Stand Your Ground law.

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SEE ALSO: Poll: Rick Scott not alone when it comes to Stand Your Ground

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