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"I would never" - Leon Co. Commissioner responds to trespassing accusation

Posted at 6:35 PM, Feb 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-08 18:35:25-05
  • Leon County Commissioner David O'Keefe is responding to accusations that he trespassed on city property at the site of the Northwood Mall.
  • City commissioner Diane Williams-Cox and Mayor John Dailey named him during a meeting Wednesday. They asked staff to bring back a report on the incident.
  • Watch the video to hear from a city commissioner who was there with O'Keefe.


Tallahassee Police are investigating after a Leon County leader was accused of trespassing at the site of the old Northwood Mall.

Now, that accused leader is sharing his side of the story.

Commissioner David O'Keefe wrote ABC 27 in a text message that he "...would never and did not jump over a construction site fence with a no trespassing sign on it."

This after Tallahassee City Commissioner Diane Williams-Cox and Mayor John Dailey accused O'Keefe of trespassing at the site of the future Tallahassee Police Department headquarters.

"If a regular citizen would have done that, they would've been arrested," Williams-Cox said. I am just trying to understand why or how that occurs."

This began two weeks ago.

We brought you neighbors concerns about the removal of live oak trees at this construction site.

The work brought O'Keefe and City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow out to the site to record the removal.

Matlow posted a video of the experience and posted it to Facebook. It never shows anyone jumping a fence.

TPD Public information officer Heather Merritt told ABC 27 via phone call Thursday that there is an open investigation into the trespassing.

However, she did not say who specifically was under investigation.

Leaders voted three to two to look into what actually happened.

I spoke with Mayor John Dailey after the commission meeting Wednesday about that vote.

"We're trying to figure out alright how do we make the development safer so people can't jump the fence, why did it happen and how did it happen and how do we move forward from here," Dailey said. "There were a lot of us that were concerned and disappointed with the actions."

One of the two votes against the report: Commissioner Jeremy Matlow.

He was there with O'Keefe and said he did not go beyond any no trespassing signs.

"Nobody crossed it," Matlow said. "Commissioner O'Keefe didn't cross it, everybody stayed behind the construction zone but interestingly they came up and put signage all over the area."

He said the vote to look into an active police investigation concerns him.

"It really felt like to me that they were trying to apply pressure against someone who is frankly a political opponent," Matlow said.

Commissioner Diane Williams-Cox said that is not what the motion is about.

"I asked for an agenda item to come back to let us know what happened what transpired and what action is going to be taken," Williams-Cox said. "I have not asked law enforcement to do anything."

O'Keefe said he is not talking about the topic further "...out of respect for the investigative and legal process."

A detailed report of what happened on the 25th will be given to city leaders at a commission meeting.