As the second week of protests comes to an end, the number of protesters is growing at the state capitol and so is the number of officers with Capitol Police.
“Our staff is double with Capitol Police right now,” said Gretl Plessinger.
The Dream Defenders have had around 100 people stay at the capitol after hours a number of nights. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has also kept a close eye on the group. F-D-L-E says extra officers are costing the state tens of thousands of dollars.
“In overtime costs we’re seeing about $47 thousand so far. We’re in the middle of a pay period so that number could increase or decrease, these are just estimates,” said Plessinger.
As people stay here for the sit-in over the weekend, FDLE says the numbers they released do not only include overtime, they also include general operating expenses.
“That includes overtime worked, anyone working overtime; it also includes when we calculate salary we calculate benefits as well,” said Plessinger.
The Dream Defenders say they understand overtime is costing the state money but they ask is the overtime worth more than a human life?
“What is the cost of the thousands of black and brown youth through-out the state going to prison or losing their lives and not finding any sort of justice,” said Steven Pargett.
Talks between the protesters and capitol police have remained peaceful, something the protesters say they will continue to do.
“We haven’t been creating any problems, so maybe there are too many officers, maybe that’s why the numbers are high,” said Pargett.
For security reasons, FDLE wont say how many extra officers they have working, making it difficult to justify the costs.