Florida state Sen. Tom Wright, a Republican, allegedly “aggressively” put his hand on a domestic violence shelter worker, according to an incident report from the Daytona Beach Police Department, but the lawmaker recalls the incident differently.
Women domestic violence survivors and their children were boarding a school bus for a field trip Saturday afternoon as counselors from the Department of Children and Families and other domestic violence state employees were on a tour with Wright.
The bus driver was preparing to depart when a woman observed Wright approaching the bus, the incident report said, according to Fox 35.
“Excuse me, sir. You may not board the bus full of survivors and children,” the woman told him, adding that they deserve safety and anonymity and that it is her job to protect them.
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Wright informed her that he was not going to get on the bus and was not attempting to speak with the survivors, according to the report. He said he wanted to speak with the bus driver.
The woman told police that Wright spoke to her in “an aggressive manner” and placed his hand on her shoulder.
“Do not put your hands on me,” she told him, and he backed away from her, according to the report. She also accused him of lunging at her multiple times and getting in her face in an effort to intimidate her.
Another worker attempted to intervene, but the woman told police she still felt threatened.
A request to have Wright trespassed from the property was later granted, as police officers issued a warning prohibiting the senator the property until further notice.
Another witness told police she saw Wright approach the bus but did not see him physically touch the woman. This witness also recalled seeing Wright with his arm extended, but could not remember what happened afterward. The witness said Wright aggressively approached the woman and refused to de-escalate the situation, according to the report.
Wright left the property before police were able to talk to him, but officers found him at a nearby store. He told officers he approached the bus to speak with the driver when the woman began to yell at him that he was not allowed on the bus, the report said. He said the woman continued to scream at him as he attempted to explain that he was not getting on the bus.
The woman was getting in his face, the senator said, so he put a hand on her shoulder to tell her that he was not about to get on the bus. He said she told him not to touch her and she walked away.
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Another witness said they observed Wright placing his hand on the woman’s shoulder to tell her he was not going to get on the bus.
The woman who accused Wright of “aggressively” putting his hands on her refused medical treatment and would not allow officers to take a photo of her shoulder because there were no visible injuries, according to the report.
The incident remains under investigation.