Florida Democratic candidate thinks Blue Alert is ‘overreach of our government’

Published: June 25, 2021 6:45 PM EDT

A congressional candidate posted controversial words on social media related to a recent emergency alert.

Democratic politician Cindy Banyai tweeted a Florida Blue Alert that was sent Thursday wasn’t a good reason to access her phone.

The alert was sent across the state for Floridians to watch out for a suspect at large, who is accused of shooting a Daytona Beach police officer in the head.

But Banyai said the alert isn’t an emergency for her because she’s hundreds of miles away from the crime. She says people in Southwest Florida never should’ve received the alert.

“Here we are; we’re hundreds and hundreds of miles away, and it seems as though that they were contacting us for what is somewhat of an ordinary type of crime that happens in cities across our country,” Banyai said.

When Banyai posted her opinion of the matter, she received many comments within minutes of it going public. Some called for her to withdraw from her candidacy, as she campaigns to run in the 2022 race for Florida U.S. House District 19.

“People missed the point because, of course, my thoughts and prayers are with the officer and hoping that he has a speedy recovery, and of course, the destructiveness of that kind of event in the community,” Banyai said. “We don’t want crime. We don’t want violence in our communities, and that wasn’t my intent at all. Mine was a commentary on how I really thought that it was an overreach of our government using our phones.”

According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement, in order to activate a Blue Alert, a law enforcement official must have been seriously injured, killed or become missing in the line of duty under circumstances causing concern for the law enforcement officer’s safety.

We asked Banyai if she wishes she could take her tweet back.

“I stand by my words,” Banyai said. “This was not an emergency for me or anybody else in Southwest Florida, and that we really need to be conscious of how these types of systems can be manipulated. This is not a hurricane situation. Lives are not an imminent danger here, and is it legitimate for the government to be sending these type of text messages, particularly understanding the political narrative that is driving it?”

WINK News reached out to Congressman Byron Donalds (Fla-R), who won the election for District 19 in 2020, defeating Banyai. He chose not to comment on her recent tweet about Florida Blue Alerts.

An anonymous donor upped the initial reward to find the suspect in Daytona Beach. It’s now $200,000.