Turlington Plaza has noticeably been down one pair of hot shorts lately.
On Aug. 24, Dennis Kane — also known as “the Turlington dancer” — said he woke up “a little more edgy” than usual.
So when the 37-year-old started seeing students paying more attention to their phones than to their peers, his mind began reeling, starting a train of thought that would end with University Police trespassing him from campus.
“I started making the connection between them and those people who shoot people up,” Kane said Thursday.
According to a UPD report, Kane “made a threatening statement” while on Turlington Plaza on Aug. 24 at about noon. Police officers began searching campus for Kane at about 3 p.m.
Kane said he had been shouting to about 60 people regarding the importance of being nice to one another. He said the reason mass shootings occur is because lonely individuals go crazy and start plotting revenge on society.
But bystander Tammy Tang told police a different story, according to the UPD report.
Kane “was just shouting out about how he has no friends, the universe is meaningless and that we are all idiots,” Tang wrote in a statement.
She wrote that she and her friends began feeling uncomfortable when Kane said, “I should just get a gun and start shooting people.”
Tang, a 19-year-old UF student, could not be reached for comment.
After the speech, Kane said he stayed “happily” on Turlington Plaza until about 2 p.m. He then moved near the Reitz Union Colonnade.
At about 3:30 p.m., Kane said a police officer on bike approached him and asked what he talked about earlier on Turlington Plaza. Kane said he was confused at the time; the UPD report says he was cooperative. Eventually, Kane said, five officers were questioning him.
“Where I was at the time, there was no way to defend myself — no witnesses,” he said.
Eventually Officer Daymon Kizzar told Kane he had to stay off of UF’s campus for three years, according to the report.
UPD spokesman Maj. Brad Barber said the department hasn’t had problems with Kane before. Officers at the scene made the trespassing call.
“We assess the nature of the threat, and that was what was done in this case,” he said. “Because there was no crime committed, anyone else would likely receive the same punishment.”
Kane said he doesn’t know how his words were misconstrued.
“What I do is so abnormal that sometimes I feel guilty about making people feel very uncomfortable,” Kane said.
At Panera Bread on Thursday night, a few students asked Kane what happened.
“Do you think it was a hate crime?” asked Richard Viera, a 20-year-old political science senior.
“I’m not a piece of crap like everyone thinks I am,” Kane responded. “I deserve better treatment than that.”
Viera said he became accustomed to seeing Kane on campus this summer wearing scanty, bright ensembles. He was shocked to hear Kane was trespassed from UF, he said.
“Someone dancing in the background is completely different than a guy in my face telling me I’m going to hell,” Viera said, referencing the religious speakers often on Turlington Plaza.
Kane said he would like to get back onto UF’s campus. He’s appealing the trespass charge. But he said he thinks Santa Fe College or his previous home by University of California, Los Angeles would be good alternatives.
“If I was the kind of person who ultimately gave a crap, maybe I’d have more to say,” he said. “It’s like if someone is paralyzed on one side of their body, the other side can be really strong. I have other avenues and other things to focus on.”
Dennis Kane, 37, known as “the Turlington dancer,” has been trespassed from UF’s campus for three years. He is appealing the charges.