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State drops charges against ‘Capitol Pitbull Dude’

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Prosecutors have dismissed the criminal case against the man known as “Capitol Pitbull Dude.”

Leon County court dockets show charges of trespassing and resisting an officer, both misdemeanors, were dropped last week against 35-year-old Antonio Ringo Davis. 

Davis first became known as “Capitol Pitbull Dude” and “Capitol Bulldog Guy” after he and his dog were escorted out of a Senate committee hearing this past session.

written explanation for the “nolle prosequi” from the State Attorney’s Office in Tallahassee showed that prosecutors “believe he may have mental health issues.”

Also, Davis had said he intended to return to South Florida. Assistant State Attorney Jessica Tehlirian wrote she did “not believe it is a good use of state resources to bring him back to Tallahassee for the charges against him.”

Other court records show Davis was first diverted to Veterans Court, a special tribunal for military veterans that offers “substance abuse, mental health, and holistic well-being” services. His service information wasn’t disclosed.

But he was sent back to regular criminal court after telling court officials he “did not wish to receive (any) services.”

Davis caused a scene at the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee on Feb. 16. 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 Chairman Jeremy Ring ordered him to leave, and he was escorted out of the building by sergeants-at-arms and 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.”

Then on Feb. 24, reports show he tried to get into the Senate Office Building in the Capitol Complex, ignoring instructions by police.

During an arrest, he yanked his hand away from an officer, then grabbed hold of his uniform and ripped it, a 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,” police said in the report. “Please consider a mental health screening.”


Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 9 a.m. Thursday.

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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