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'I Was So Speechless': Florida Minister Who Attended Protest to Pray Arrested, Jailed


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On Pentecost Sunday, Dr. Delaine Smith of Jacksonville, FL, said she received a special message from the Lord.

"God said to me, 'Daughter I want you to go to the courthouse to pray,'" Smith told CBN News.

Smith, a retired real-estate investigator, and an ordained minister had gathered with about 400 others in front of the Duval County Courthouse to rally for justice after the death of George Floyd.  Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25 while in police custody.

She said the protesters, mainly millennials were about fifty percent black and fifty percent white.

"I took posters with me that said ," explained Smith. "Then they say peace and love. So, I did what he said to do, and I carried those items and a cooler of water to bless the police officers and the people that may have been there."

Smith said she felt like she was on assignment to show the love of God and to pray for both protesters and police.

"When I get there, I take a selfie with one of the officers," she said.  "And then I prayed with three of the other officers. I prayed for them and offered them water."

Smith filmed herself at the event live via her Facebook page.

The video shows her praying with protesters and telling them to remain peaceful, and to not destroy any public property.

"I wanted to convey that message number one, I'm a licensed realtor. I specialize in new construction. I couldn't see anyone standing before one of the houses that I have under contract and burning it over a protest. I couldn't fathom that," Smith explained. 

She added, "I felt like because I sell in Jacksonville, I felt like it was my duty to take a stand. I stood and I said, 'no, God promises me that where my feet tread, he'll give me the land. We don't burn cities. We don't buildings. We don't destroy property."

Smith said she stayed on the steps of the courthouse to pray while protesters proceeded to march.

Sometime later, Smith says she heard an officer telling protesters they had to leave.

"I leave the steps of the courthouse. I walk into the street where the officer is. I said, 'Sir, may I please have clarity? Why are they being asked to disperse?' He said, 'Because I said it's over and it is an illegal gathering.'"

Smith's video shows the crowd dispersing as police in riot gear moved closer to them with orders to leave the premises with her urging people to go home.  Some who refused were arrested, including Smith.

"You're now under arrest," Smith recalled the officer telling her. "And he pointed to one of the officers, he said arrest her. He put zip lock handcuffs on my hands behind me."

"I was so speechless.  I said, 'are you kidding me?'  I am the one that has controlled this crowd.  I am the one,'" Smith continued.

"He put me in handcuffs and those zip ties so tight that my hands were swollen for almost an hour," she recalled. 

According to News4Jaz, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said the crowd had become confrontational and things were being thrown.  

Smith said she and several other protesters were detained in a police van for two hours before being taken to jail where she slept on a bed without padding. She was bailed out after 24 hours and all charges against her were dropped.

While upset about the experience, Smith believes that God used her prayers to maintain peace. A protest the prior night turned violent.

She said, "I'm not bitter. I think I'm better because as a preacher and a minister of God, we're so busy going to church that we forget to do ministry. And what God did was he gave me my compassion back." 

"I was manifested peace. I am so grateful that God chose to use me.  I needed to save those kids," said Smith.

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About The Author

Charlene Aaron

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter, backup news anchor, and co-host of The Prayerlink on the CBN News Channel. She covers various social issues, such as abortion, gender identity, race relations, and more. Before joining CBN News in 2003, she was a personal letter writer for Dr. Pat Robertson. Charlene attended Old Dominion University and Elizabeth City State University. She is an ordained minister and pastor’s wife. She lives in Smithfield, VA, with her husband.