Former Black mayoral candidate arrested for armed robbery of a dollar store

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Tallahassee, Florida – A former Black mayoral candidate for the city of Tallahassee was arrested on Monday after police say he robbed a Dollar General store at gunpoint. According to reports, the suspect was apprehended after authorities followed a trail of cash in the parking lot.

The suspect, identified as Black 44-year-old Whitfield Leland III, was arrested and charged with robbery with a firearm, grand theft of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and resisting an officer without violence. He has been placed in custody at the Leon County Detention Facility.

Eyewitnesses said police arrived on scene Monday morning at a Dollar General store on W. Brevard Street, blocking roads and surrounding the location with armed officers. Court records state that a customer had called 911 after witnessing Leland aim a firearm at a manager, racking one round in the chamber.

44-year-old Whitfield Leland III was arrested for making off with pockets full of cash after robbing a Dollar General store in his hometown of Tallahassee, Florida. Leland, a Black community advocate, once ran for mayor, coming in 3rd place. Collage: Justice Report.

Leland then demanded all the cash in the register and ordered the manager to lie on the ground. When Leland demanded the manager open the safe, they informed him of an electronic delay, and that doing so would be impossible.

Records state that the former Black politician responded by saying, “I should have remembered from the last time.”

When police arrived, the records allege that Leland removed the manager’s Dollar General uniform shirt and put it on before taking off through a backdoor with his pockets stuffed with cash. The disguise was said to have fooled police for a moment, but then began to chase Leland, and used a trail of dropped cash to suss out where he was hiding.

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Leland, a convicted criminal who once ran for mayor of Tallahassee in 2022, billed himself as a “competent leader” with “executive director experience” in a social media advert. According to the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office, Leland came in third in an August primary, earning 5% of the vote.

Social media profiles linked to Leland list him as a “Marketing and Promotions Manager” at an affordable housing business, a former director at a non-profit food distribution service, and an assistant general manager at a Jersey Mike’s sandwich chain. He considers himself a “leader, activist, an advocate” for Tallahasse’s Black community.

“As a leader in our community this concerns me,” said Leland in a Facebook post that addressed rising Black gun crime in his area. “I am calling on the community. What can we do more of? This has got to stop! Our streets has turned into a war zone and that’s not cool.”

Convicted felon Whitfield Leland III can be seen at a Mayoral debate in 2022. Pictured is the mugshot for his latest armed robbery arrest. Collage: Justice Report.

Leland himself is no stranger to run-ins with law enforcement. In October of 2022, just months after his failed mayoral run, he was sentenced to two months in jail, ten months probation, 100 hours of community service, as well as anger management classes for “belligerently” resisting arrest at a house party in 2019.

The minority-majority city of Tallahassee, Florida, has long existed as a bubbling cauldron of Black crime. On the 12th, a mass shooting at a local strip mall killed two and injured others, serving as the fourth mass shooting in Tallahassee since 2022. According to gun violence data, 13 people have been killed and 23 others injured in 30 different shooting incidents in 2024.

In 2023, the city officially announced that crime was up across the board, including marked upticks in shootings, homicides, domestic violence, manslaughter, and accidental homicide cases. A report by the Tallahassee Democrat asserted that the TPD’s murder clearance rate was only 69% in 2023, a year noted as one of the bloodiest years on record for the State capitol.

44-year-old Whitfield Leland III was once arrested for resisting arrest in 2019, and was later convicted in 2022 after his failed run as mayor of Tallahassee. Collage: Justice Report.

The armed robbery arrest of one of Tallahassee’s more prominent Black activists tracks alongside dozens of cases linking Black Americans to abhorrent street crimes in every state of the nation. In 2024’s annual “Black Spring Break” event in Biloxi, Mississippi, the Black community cried “racism” after police were forced to make 60 gun and drug arrests. By the end of the weekend, police asserted they responded to a whopping 740 calls for police service.

In Hervey City, Illinois, a well-respected White tow truck driver was shot and killed over what police say was a $50 towing fee. The suspect in the shooting—identified as Black 25-year-old Tiimon Xavier Perry—was revealed to be a career criminal with numerous gun and domestic battery arrests on record.

In Union City, Georgia, a Black cop for the Atlanta Police Department shot and killed his Lyft driver after he bizarrely claimed he was being kidnapped and recruited into a “gay fraternity.” The officer, who was already on leave after being caught with Xanax pills during a car crash, allegedly shot his victim in the head during a rideshare home.

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