The man who originally filed a complaint against Rep. Keith Perry filed to withdraw it Thursday.

The charges stemmed from a dispute Saturday between Perry and the man over one of Perry’s political signs placed in the 2200 block of W. University Ave.

In video footage of the incident, Perry can be seen slapping the man on the left side of his neck.


At a press conference Thursday, Perry apologized and said he only hit the man after being pushed and spat on. The man also screamed obscenities at Perry’s wife, he said.

“We all, as fathers and husbands, have a certain defense mechanism that comes in and a protective mechanism that comes in,” Perry said.

The complaint withdrawal will be sent to the state attorney, Gainesville Police spokesman Officer Ben Tobias wrote in an email.

The case has been transferred to the Seventh Judicial Court due to Perry’s familiarity with Rod Smith, a state attorney who formerly represented District 8.

“It will be up to the state attorney to determine how the case proceeds at this point,” Tobias said.

GPD filed a sworn complaint Wednesday with the state attorney, recommending simple battery and trespassing charges.

Rob Lash, Perry’s attorney, called the case unorthodox.

“We haven’t had any contact from GPD,” he said. “We haven’t had any contact from the state’s attorney’s office.”


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