Political tensions hit close to home with a man taking his frustrations into the headquarters of One Bay County political party

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 9:52 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - According to Bay County Sheriff’s records, Bay County Republican Party Vice Chairman Tho Bishop was in the party’s headquarters Saturday with a few volunteers, when Walter Arnold came in and things took an ugly turn.

“I don’t think he came in here meaning to do wrong, but you can’t come in here angry and attack people. You know, it was a mistake he made and I hate that he has to deal with the consequences, but we can’t have that happen anymore,” said Bishop.

Bishop said the man was upset about their Trump signs around town and wanted to know when they would take them down. The report said Arnold began to curse at, and push. Bishop after being told to leave.

“We’re not going to tolerate that. We can’t tolerate that anywhere in Bay County. There’s no room for political violence here,” said Bishop.

Bay County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to investigate the incident, which led to Arnold being charged with misdemeanor battery of touch or strike. Panama City Biden Victory Center Director Alvin Peters said he’s disappointed someone would take out their frustrations on the other party like this.

“There’s no reason to go to anybody else’s house or office and engage in political arguments. People just need to be respectful of one another, respectful of each other’s rights and place,” said Peters.

Peters adds that the unprecedented set of violent circumstances at the capitol last week should not be a role model for bay county.

“We need to remind ourselves that we all need to live up to the ideals of America where we exercise our first amendment rights without engaging in any types of violence or threats or pushing or any kind of intimidation,” said Peters.

Bishop said the local Republican party is channeling any anger they say they feel in a peaceful, productive way moving forward. He adds the Bay County Republican Party is not giving up on Trump supporters and wants them to feel like there’s an instrument here they can rely on. Peters wants to remind people that the election results need to be respected by both sides.

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