Casselberry Commission condemns U.S. Capitol uprising after Busch comments

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Martin E. Comas, Orlando Sentinel
·3 min read
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Casselberry commissioners Monday unanimously approved a resolution that condemned the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that left five people dead, along with any speech that incites riots, after a city commissioner was recorded making comments at a local Trump rally that seemed to support the uprising.

“Peaceful protests are protected by the Constitution of the United States,” according to the city resolution. “However, violent acts of aggression and speech inciting riots are not protected free speech, have no place in American democracy and must be strongly condemned.”

The resolution was pitched by Mayor David Henson at a Jan. 26 meeting, where dozens of residents turned out to demand that Commissioner Mark Busch resign for his comments on Jan. 5 while attending a rally at the corner of U.S. Highway 17-92 and State Road 436. A petition drive asking for Busch’s resignation collected more than 1,600 signatures.

Henson told residents that although Busch’s comments “didn’t put the city in the best light,” neither he nor the city had the authority to remove Busch under state law. Only the governor has that power.

Henson, however, said it was important that the city approve a resolution to show that the Casselberry Commission condemns the violent uprising, regardless of what a commissioner said.

Resident Emily Orey, who started the petition drive to oust Busch, said she was pleased with the resolution.

“I’m happy with the wording, and that it doesn’t just glance over the violence,” she said. “I think the city did all that they supposedly can do.”

Busch, who apologized for his comments, agreed to step down from two city boards. But he will remain as the city’s vice mayor.

According to a video posted on the social media website Rumbler, a group of Trump supporters on Jan. 5 are holding flags and signs at the northwest corner of the busy U.S. 17-92 and S.R. 436 intersection in support of the former president.

Busch walks up to the group carrying a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and is introduced as a Casselberry commissioner by Jeff Sonksen, an artist famous for his murals along the Seminole Wekiva Trail.

“He ain’t scared,” Sonksen is heard saying after introducing Busch. “You don’t fight, you can’t win.”

Busch responds: “Absolutely.”

Busch and Sonksen are then seen talking about then Vice President Mike Pence certifying the Electoral College votes at the Capitol in Washington D.C. the next day on Jan. 6.

“He’s going to have one to two million people sitting outside the Capitol,” Busch said. “He better do the right thing…. And these people, they’re foaming at the mouth mad right now. They got the pitch forks. And they got the torches. And if they don’t do what should be doing, watch out. All bets are off…I think at this point, we just don’t care anymore.”

The next day a large mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the Electoral College vote count and overturn Joe Biden’s presidential win in last November’s election. The rioters stormed through police barricades and then vandalized the building for hours.

Among those who died was Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Dozens of people were injured.

According to Casselberry’s resolution, the Commission “strongly condemns the actions of the individuals who participated in the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol Building….and those who spoke with the intention of inciting the attack, which is also a violation of law.”

The resolution also urges “peace, unity and tolerance by all citizens.”

Casselberry Commissioner Anthony Aramendia said the resolution is a way for the city to move forward.

“It’s to show that we, together as a commission, are working wholeheartedly for the all citizens of our community,” he said.