Former mayoral candidate sentenced for resisting arrest

Whitfield Leland now sentenced to 60 days in jail
Whitfield Leland was convicted Thursday of resisting arrest
Whitfield Leland was convicted Thursday of resisting arrest(LCSO)
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 7:38 PM EDT
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UPDATE: Former Tallahassee mayoral candidate Whitfield Leland was sentenced Wednesday to two months in jail for resisting arrest at a party back in June 2019. The judge also sentenced Leland to another ten months on probation, ordered him to do 100 hours of community service, take anger management classes and refrain from drinking alcohol.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Former Tallahassee mayoral candidate Whitfield Leland was convicted Thursday of resisting arrest and taken to jail to await sentencing.

Prosecutors charged Leland with a felony count of resisting arrest with violence, but the jury deliberated for three hours before returning a guilty verdict on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence instead.

Leland was arrested back in June 2019 at a party at the Leon County fairgrounds after officers say he refused their orders to leave and then struggled with officers trying to get him into the back of a patrol car. The incident was recorded on the body cameras of several officers on the scene.

Prosecutors called two of the officers to the stand Thursday and played portions of the videos for the jury.

One officer described Leland as “belligerent” and “screaming at us” and testified Leland started trying to kick the window out of the patrol car once he was inside.

Another officer testified that Leland was very intoxicated, and the officer told him several times that if he did not leave, he would be arrested for trespassing. The officer testified Leland then resisted being handcuffed, and ultimately had to be taken to the ground.

“He swung on me, he swung on me,” Leland says repeatedly in the video as he contends another partygoer hit him in the eye. “I’m not leaving,” he says at one point, “I want to file a report.”

Leland repeatedly asks to speak to a sergeant and at one point asks officers to call the Leon County Sheriff.

One officer’s body camera video shown in court Thursday shows officers struggling to get Leland into the back of the patrol car and Leland kicking his feet. An officer then walks away, touching his mouth, saying “he caught me in the lip.”

The charges filed in that confrontation with police were pending during Leland’s 2022 run for Tallahassee mayor. Leland came in third in the August primary, garnering 2,010 votes which equate to just over 5% of the vote, according to the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office website.