TAMPA óTony Daniel is undeterred.
Three days after his arrest on an assault charge, the 60-year-old race-baiting provocateur was back on the same street corner Monday, shouting into a megaphone and holding a large sign with the same racial epithet that sparked the fracas.
Standing under a blazing sun on Kennedy Boulevard across from the University of Tampa, Daniel denied that he assaulted two women who stopped to confront him Friday about the sign he was holding. He said he plans to fight the charge "vigorously."
"We donít think itís going anywhere," he said.
A motorist captured the encounter on video, which was reviewed by the Tampa Bay Times. It initially shows Daniel, accompanied by a woman in a red dress, holding a sign, nearly as tall as he, that says, "Homeless (N------) go back to Africa." On the back side was another racist slur.
Standing nearby are the two women, later identified as Nayvia Tukes, 20, and Rowshana Tukes, 41, both of Brandon.
When Daniel points the megaphone in their direction, the younger woman marches toward him. Thatís when Nayvia Tukes slapped the sign, according to a police report.
The video shows Daniel yanking the sign back and pushing the megaphone into her face. Police said he hit her with it. Then the older woman punched Daniel in his right eye, the police report said. He lashed out at the two with the megaphone, striking Rowshana Tukes in the head, the report said.
According to the report, Daniel struck the woman on the head several more times as she retreated toward her vehicle.
Daniel said Monday the women threatened and "violently attacked" him. He said Rowshana Dukes hit him about five times in the face and snatched his glasses.
"Basically, the whole time Iím defending myself, trying to get my glasses," he said.
Neither Tukes was charged. Police spokesman Steve Hegarty said additional evidence has been provided to the Hillsborough State Attorneyís Office to determine whether further charges should apply.
Danielís wife, who declined to give her first name, is the woman in the red dress and also recorded the incident, on her cell phone. In her video, the Tukes pull up in a blue Mustang and ask Daniel to explain the sign.
"How nasty could you be?" Rowshana Tukes asks. "Youíre an African American man standing here with that word? Thatís just inappropriate."
The video shows Nayvia Tukes becoming increasingly agitated, prompting Rowshana Tukes to get between her and Daniel and pull her toward the car. Daniel tells his wife to get the tag number and when she points her camera phone at the Mustangís license plate, one of the Tukes tells her to keep the phone away from her car. Seconds later, as the fracas begins, Danielís wifeís phone gets jostled and points toward the ground. She can be heard yelling "Stop" several times as her husband, the two women and an unidentified male bystander tussle.
Police arrived and arrested Daniel about 11:30 a.m. and later booked him into the Hillsborough County jail on one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon ó the megaphone. The second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. He was released from jail early Sunday after posting $2,500 bail.
Daniel said he had tunnel vision after the incident and went to the hospital after his release from jail to get his eye checked.
A black man, Daniel is known for his race-baiting, often targeting African-Americans. His pickup truck displays Confederate and Nazi flags and racial slurs. His repertoire extends beyond signs. Earlier this year, in large part because of Daniel, the Tampa City Council changed its rules to ban vulgar, threatening speech at its meetings.
Despite his provocative actions, Daniel said Fridayís incident marked a first for him.
"Iíve never seen an instance where a person is so aggressive and wants to physically confront you," he said.
On Monday, Danielís sign demanded the firing of a former city building inspection manager who now works with the county. For several years, Daniel has been in a dispute with City Hall over an east Tampa house that has been hugely expanded, largely without permits, officials say.
Daniel says he never utters the racial slur that he uses on his signs. He says he raised his children not to use it. Asked what the difference is between saying the word and putting it on a sign, he called it "a good question" but didnít offer a clear answer.
Contact Tony Marrero at email@example.com or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.