GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A man who’s been arrested twice near Spring Park after residents accused him of yelling offensive and racially-charged comments toward people on the Pier said he’s become …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A man who’s been arrested twice near Spring Park after residents accused him of yelling offensive and racially-charged comments toward people on the Pier said he’s become an unfair target of harassment by the Green Cove Springs City Police Department.
Mark David Morgan, 53, is awaiting a jury trial next March when he hopes to show he’s being persecuted for having outspoken support for former President Donald Trump. He also said the city’s police department is trying to run him out of town.
“I’m having a large problem with people going on social media and condemning me before due process,” Morgan said. “The city is rampant with due process issues. I have a big mouth. I’m very political. I fly [Donald] Trump flags for the 2020 election. I’ve been called a racist and a bigot.
“A lesson I learned the hard way, a friend of mine told me to never engage in politics unless they start it first. It’s turned into a mess. Nobody wants to confront me or ask me what’s taken place, what’s going on.”
Morgan’s troubles started on July 19 when the city’s police department was alerted Morgan appeared intoxicated and was being rude toward people on the Pier. Morgan eventually ended up in the St John’s River – he insists an officer pulled a rope that caused him to fall; GCSPD said he jumped without any provocation.
“I swam around. I had a good time. I laughed at it,” Morgan said.
He also was charged with boating under the influence and refusing to submit to a blood-alcohol test, according to the city’s arrest report.
According to the report, “the defendant suddenly jumped in his vessel and began floating from the pier. I gave the defendant a lawful order to come back to the pier. The defendant began cursing at me and told me to go away. At this point, I told the defendant I was detaining him and trespassing him from the pier. The defendant continued to curse at me and attempt to start his boat several times to leave the pier. It should be noted, it was obvious the defendant was under the influence of alcohol by him falling over in his vessel when he tried to stand up several times.”
The city issued a no-trespassing warning at all city property for the next 12 months, according to GCSPD Operations Cmdr. Shawn E. Hines.
Morgan was arrested again on Oct. 23 and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing when residents on the pier said he was yelling at them. Morgan said he pulled his boat out of the water in the swampy area near the Elks Club, which isn’t on city property.
“Green Cove is doing nothing but harassing me,” Morgan said. “I never did any of that. I swear I didn’t do any of that.”
Morgan said the same people who claimed he was cursing at them in July were the ones who called the police in October. He also said one of them threw his bicycle in the river.
Hines said his department is wary of dealing with Morgan.
“If he wants to be responsible and stop breaking the law, we look forward to having him being a productive member of our community,” he said. “If he doesn’t want to be responsible and he wants to keep breaking the law, we’d rather he’d leave. It’s that simple.
“I can assure you we haven’t violated any of his rights. We are not picking on Mark. But we won’t allow someone to act like this, especially when there are children out there [at the park].”
The State filed a motion on Nov. 10 to revoke Morgan’s $752 bond following his arrest late last month. A judge hasn’t ruled on the motion.
Morgan is scheduled to stand trial for both cases on March 21, according to the Clay County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office.
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