An argument between Manatee County School Board members Scott Hopes and Dave Miner escalated in the parking lot of the school district administration building after Tuesday night’s meeting.
The incident occurred at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, after the meeting, outside the Manatee County School District administration building at 215 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
Hopes claims that Miner drove at him with his car, but Hopes said he never intended for the incident to become public. Miner claims that the incident has been blown out of proportion as he was merely trying to leave when Hopes kept approaching his car.
Both school members agree the incident in the parking lot stemmed from a disagreement during Tuesday night’s meeting, but each have a different view of how things played out afterward.
Hopes said Thursday he reviewed surveillance camera footage that confirms Miner drove at him with his car. But Miner said he was trying to leave the parking lot as Hopes was walking around to get to his own vehicle, but turned back trying to still argue with him. Hopes says it was Miner who called him back over.
The Bradenton Police Department received no report of the incident.
The school district will not release footage from the surveillance camera outside the administration building capturing the incident. School district staff attorney Mitchell Teitelbaum said the footage is exempt from being under Florida’s public records law because it reveals the capabilities and vulnerabilities of the school district’s security system.
“I had always intended for this to be an internal incident,” Hopes said. “This is not how board members should behave either inside or out of the chambers.”
Hopes said it was when he approached a police sergeant in the parking lot after the incident to question whether he had seen anything that a reporter from another media outlet overhead him.
“My conversation with a police sergeant should not have been a headline,” Hopes said.
Miner said the whole incident has been blown out of proportion.
“As far as me trying to hurt him, that didn’t happened,” he said.
Ultimately Hopes said his primary objective is to ensure the school board can continue the work of the people.
Miner said his only concern is regarding a comment Hopes made during the incident indicating he had a gun in his truck. Hopes said he hasn’t carried his firearm since moving to Manatee County from Miami.
“I did use some language that I apologize for and regret,” Miner said.
Hopes said he has not spoken with Miner since the incident nor has Miner made any attempt to reach him.
“The ideal situation would be for Mr. Miner to recognize that that kind of behavior is not appropriate before, during or after the board meeting,” Hopes concluded.