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Friday, June 09, 2023

Group protests activist's detainment

After 87 days in jail without a trial, friends and supporters of a local political activist are getting restless.

Charlie Grapski, 43, has been held in the Alachua County Jail since Oct. 12 without bond, according to a jail representative.

About 20 protesters, including Alachua County Commissioner Mike Byerly, gathered outside of the State Attorney's Office Wednesday evening. They requested that State Attorney William Cervone drop controversial misdemeanor charges against Grapski.

According to a Gainesville Police Department report, Grapski arrived at Mark Kiester's house around 2 a.m. Oct. 12.

He broke a window and entered the house through a side door after Kiester repeatedly told him to leave, the report stated.

Protesters told a different story.

"It was a misunderstanding between friends one night after the LSU game," said Michael Canney, a friend of Grapski.

Someone overheard the argument and called the cops, he said.

"He is not a criminal society needs to be protected from," Canney said. "He is not a threat to society or himself, and he is not a flight risk. A bond should be reinstated."

Commissioner Mike Byerly stood among the neon-colored signs that urged people to honk for Grapski's release. He said he was protesting as an Alachua county citizen, not an elected official.

Until Grapski is found guilty, he shouldn't be in jail, Byerly said.

"Because of the jail's crowding, there are not enough resources to hold someone who is not a threat to society," he said.

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Editor's note: this article incorrectly stated that Charles Grapski broke into John Angel's house. He broke into Mark Kiester's house.->

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