A St. Petersburg father is speaking out after his video, that shows a group of animal rights activist confronting his family, went viral. The video was sent in by viewer Bob Hope.
Bob Hope spent Tuesday afternoon fishing with his family at Crescent Lake in St. Pete.
Hope says his father caught a 4 lb. tilapia and laid it on the sidewalk while someone brought him a bucket.
The animals rights group called Direct Action Everywhere Pinellas was close to a child that was with the group approached Hope that he was concerned about the fish. The boy also told him that fish have feelings and to release it back in the water.
“I turned to him and said I respect your opinion but I don’t share your opinion so we’re going to continue fishing. That’s when six or seven people ambushed us that what we were doing is wrong and we’re hurting the fish,” says Hope.
Kayla Leaming with Direct Action Everywhere Pinellas says they were simply just trying to save the lives of animals and did nothing wrong.
Leaming explains that her 9-year-old son was very respectful.
“These grown men were extremely hostile and laughed in his face,” says Leaming.
Leaming says the group has been getting death threats and now worries for the safety of her children.
Hope feels his rights were violated since their fish was taken away.
This is the same group that protested at a Pinellas Park Chick-fil-A. The video which went viral.
The group sent us a video of the confrontation from their point of view.
St.Pete police say by the time they showed up everyone was leaving and there was no reason to make any arrest.
As far as the fish, the police department says since it wasn’t in a bucket or cooler or there is really no way to prove who owned the fish.
Police released a statement on the incident:
When the officer arrived, the protesters were already getting in their cars. The primary concern for the officer was to restore the peace and the officer didn’t witness any disorderly conduct or criminal activity. The officer documented the call as well as the names, addresses, and auto tag numbers of the principal protesters. Whether one agrees with the message or not, any group has a right to free speech in a public park. The officer acted appropriately under the circumstances.