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“Capitol Pitbull Dude” arrested at Senate Office Building

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A man who was escorted out of a Senate committee hearing last week was arrested by Capitol police Wednesday and charged with trespassing and resisting an officer, both misdemeanors.

Antonio Ringo Davis, 35, of no fixed address, was booked into the Leon County Jail, where he remained Wednesday morning.

Davis caused a scene at the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee on Feb. 16 as lawmakers were considering a proposal by Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner that would have bumped up lawmakers’ annual salaries from $29,600 to $50,000.

Amateur smartphone video captured him and his dog, which appears to be a pit bull, shouting about how Florida nonprofits had ruined his life.

Committee Chair Jeremy Ring ordered him to leave, and he was escorted out of the building by sergeants-at-arms and Capitol Police.

He enjoyed 15 minutes of fame on social media variously as “Capitol Bulldog Guy” and “Capitol Pitbull Dude.”

According to an arrest report released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which oversees the Capitol Police, Davis was given a written warning on Feb. 18 by a Senate sergeant-at-arms “due to his aggressive behavior toward Senate staff.”

On Wednesday, he again tried to get into the Senate Office Building in the Capitol Complex, ignoring instructions by police. During an arrest, he first yanked his hand away from an officer, then grabbed hold of his uniform and ripped it, the report said.

Davis shouted several times during the arrest, “You’re going to regret this!”

“Davis’ mental health could have been a factor in this incident,” the report said. “Please consider a mental health screening.”

There was no mention of the dog in the report.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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