'It is behavior like this that causes serious and sometimes deadly incidents,' Sheriff Rick Staly said.
The Flagler County Sheriff's Office on Sept. 25 issued a news release titled, "Sheriff encourages community to remain peaceful during election season" after a supporter of President Donald Trump drove through a pro-Biden event screaming profanities and threats at attendees.
“It is behavior like this that causes serious and sometimes deadly incidents. I have directed our Homeland Security Section to look into this troubling video.”
— RICK STALY, Flagler County sheriff
The man, 50-year-old Palm Coast resident Christopher Feeney, posted a Facebook Live video of the event taken from inside his truck, writing, "I DESTROYED THESE WACKOS. DEMONCRATS," followed by a series of laughing-face emojis.
The Sheriff's Office's news release does not name the political affiliations of the two sides, describing the incident as "a local resident acting aggressively towards a large gathering of people who came together to show support for a particular presidential candidate. ... In the video, the person in support of the opposite candidate drives down the street where the group is gathering while screaming profanities and at points threatening members of the group."
The incident occurred Sept. 19 in Palm Coast's Town Center, where Biden supporters had gathered.
Feeney had opened the video by stating, laughing, "OK folks, here we are, we're going to see the Democrats." A few times, he addressed a woman in the car.
"My Trump flags are going? Yes, they are," he said, as the truck approached the rally. Then, "I'm coming right in the middle of these mother-effers."
And, shouting out the truck's open window, "Get the f--- out of here you piece of s---. F---ing touch my truck I'll f----ing kill ya. ... F---cking idiots, get your brains out of your a--es! ... Look at all the nutcases, look at them all. Triggered liberals, yeah! Trump 2020!"
He continued driving slowly through the crowd, yelling profanity and insults. A few from the Biden group yelled back.
When a Biden rally attendee approached Feeney's truck threatening to call police — which he later did — Feeney claimed to be “buddies” with Flagler County Sheriff Staly. Feeney then left, according to an FCSO incident report, and deputies tracked him down at a Trump event, where he admitted to heckling the Democrats.
“I do not personally know this individual, and I certainly do not condone his aggressive behavior," Staly said, according to the news release. "It is behavior like this that causes serious and sometimes deadly incidents. I have directed our Homeland Security Section to look into this troubling video.”
The attendee who'd called the Sheriff's Office told deputies that Feeney appeared to be trying to hit people with his truck. A deputy who reviewed the video found that allegation unfounded, noting that the video showed people walking around in the road unafraid of Feeney's vehicle, and that Feeney hadn't veered toward anyone. Feeney has not been charged with a crime, according to a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.
The FCSO's news release states that the FCSO is "reminding residents to remain peaceful and think rationally" during the election season, and adds, "Every American has been granted constitutional rights, and the First Amendment grants all Americans the right to freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble."
“Emotions are high this election season," Staly said, according to the news release. "If you choose to support a political candidate, please do so peacefully and respect the rights of others who may not agree with your views. We will protect everyone’s First Amendment rights. If there is a peaceful assembly taking place and you do not agree with their stance, don’t go to their gathering, don’t drive through it and don’t antagonize people. This kind of behavior only hurts your cause and can be extremely dangerous for everyone. You don’t have to agree with someone to be kind to them.”
The news release urges anyone who encounters suspicious activity to report it to the FCSO by calling 386-313-4911, or 911 for emergencies.