Manatee County Commissioner – Under Color of Authority

 In opinion, Politics

Charles B. Smith is a Manatee County commissioner in Florida. Some of the constituents of that county saw him at the recent Bradenton protest leading a group of Black Lives Matter activists while wearing a Manatee county shirt. And they are not happy about it.

Under color of authority

Black Lives Matter has openly called for the death of police officers on many occasions. By leading their march at the Bradenton Protest while wearing his county shirt, Smith gave the impression that Manatee County supports Black Lives Matter and their anti-law enforcement stance.

Charles Smith is a past vice president of the NAACP, and has a long list of Community Service organizations. He should have known better than to drag the county of Manatee into the middle of a politically charged group like Black Lives Matter.

One constituent told us,

“Was he at the front of this protest representing the Commission? Was he being paid to be there? If not, who authorized Mr. Smith to wear a Manatee County Commission shirt to a protest with individuals who are affiliated with a National movement that has called for the killing of our Law Enforcement Officers, even celebrated their deaths?”

The constituent, whom we will refer to as “D,” was unhappy that any commissioner would allow himself to be seen with a hate group like Black Lives Matter. The constituent also took exception to the fact that employees of the County would be fired for such a violation and was concerned that the Commissioners were not subjected to the same rules.

August 22- the day after the protest

The 5 hour meeting on August 22 of the Manatee county Commissioners is at this link.

The day after the protest, the commissioners admitted that some had approached them with questions after seeing Commissioner Smith leading the BLM protesters with his County shirt. Smith became defensive and said, “I will wear my shirt anywhere I please…”

Commissioner Vanessa Baugh stated that she had been attacked on Social Media and called names, not by the White Supremacists, but by the other side…and she specifically mentioned Commissioner Smith.”To give in to either group is wrong.” She said it’s not just one side, but it’s both sides. She stated she doesn’t like to be bullied.

Smith claimed to have been in 100’s of “these marches,” and stated that “it’s gonna get worse before it gets better,” and warned the commissioners that they could get hurt. Another commissioner stated that threats against the elected officials are subject to being arrested for a 1st degree misdemeanor. Many of them have received threats.

“They are using the statue as a weapon… there is no guarantee that if we move that thing today that the violence is going to stop. Where’s it going to stop?…We have just gone backwards in time! What is the motive, the purpose of this?… Both sides are acting like spoiled brats.” Commissioner Robin Disabatino

When the conversation turned to his wearing of the shirt, there was a verbal altercation, with some stating that it was now becoming a personal attack. Constituents had complained to them about the issue and the commission attempted to redirect the conversation back to the moving of the monument.

Ultimately the commission voted to move the Confederate Monument away from the Courthouse, not to destroy it. Whether or not that will solve their problem is unknown. But at the very least, Commissioner Charles B. Smith should have known better.








Showing 2 comments
  • JD Carter

    My great grandad was a Confed’ soldier captured & released 2 weeks before Lee signed papers! As a member of Moore, OK McCurtain Camp 513, people need to realize these monuments are our “Heritage not Hate!” I taught school 28 years retired & worked another 15 years at a State agency! My best friends are Black/Oriental/Hispanic/White all of whom were students & State employees! Hate groups need to realize that GOD will defeat them as HE is in control !! Be a caring person not a hater! HERITAGE Not HATE !! We can’t change History !!

  • Wayne

    Why is Mr Smith a bad person for supporting a cause that is very up front and in the News all over this wonderful nation. As we attempt to heal and address things as a nation that had been swept under the rug for so many years. There is Major group of American that take Offense to celebrating figure from a very dark time in this nation history. A time that a large group of American would rather forget or ignored as maybe it did not happen. Well it did happen and the wound is very fester and needs to be address so that it can began to heal. When American make statement like get over it or that was along time ago to me not only is it unintelligent but it belittle very important demographic that is still struggling to recover. And being 60 years old I can tell you it was not that long ago I can remember riding the county bus with my mother and having to give up our seats to white people even though we were sitting in the black only section Because then when we came for the first week in the black only section that we made available to the white people even if that meant the black people had to stand. Am I bitter about this no but am I ready for someone that does not look like me to tell me to get over it. No I Am not. The day will come when these things will be a very distance issue but that day is not here so my point is If Mr Smith choose to exercise his right to a peaceful protest what is wrong with that. I have known this young man to be a very fair mined honest American that has serve his constituents fair and proudly. I wish America was able to address hate groups of all race with as much concern as they have amass for the Black lives Matter campaign. I cannot speak for everyone in the Black Live Matter group but being a member my full intentions are to demonstrate that black lives matter and no hidden agenda. It does not mean that Blue lives don’t matter or anyone else live don’t matter for that fact. All it means is at the rate that blacks lives are being taken is alarmingly high. No one in my circle of friends would ever indicate that anybody life should be taken. Let’s stop pointing the finger at each other address the real issue at hands we still have a long way to go before we can say it was along time ago. Someone stated earlier in a statement that there Great Grandfather was part of the confederate army and I thing that is something that they should be proud of for there Family history but by the same situation I would pray they could understand why I would prefer not to see statues of Confederate generals and soldiers it’s not to disrespect there family are the history they have but it’s to respect my family and the same history that we share. We do not choose to rewrite the history books but we don’t want to celebrate what many historian have said was some of the darkest days in our country history. So when you say that Mr Smith is a disgrace I say he is a strong African-American that has pride in himself and his Country.

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