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Arrested Development, Part II

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Back on April 2, I wrote about Gregory “Silk” Thomas, a colorful character living on Miami Beach who's had more than his fair share of run-ins with the city’s PO-lice. Thomas, a tall man with graying dreadlocks and gold teeth, reached out to me after he was fired from his custodial job at 1100 Lincoln Center. According to the 45-year-old ex-con, he was let go because Walter Vimny, vice-president of the New York realty company that owns the Lincoln Center, received a phone call from an unknown person claiming Thomas was a thief. I recounted Thomas’ life, from his days as a pimp and a drug dealer to what led him to give up crime and his frustration with the harassment he gets from Miami Beach police officers.

Two weeks ago, videographer Jacob Katel and I caught up with Thomas to see how he was doing. He is still jobless and is still getting jacked by the cops, including a bullshit arrest this past June 8 while he was passing out flyers for scooter rentals to people walking on the 1600 block of Collins Ave. According to the police report, two officers saw Thomas dropping the flyers on the ground: “As the flyers were created for commercial purposes/economic gain the unlawful dumping was felonious and the defendant was arrested.” When the cops searched Thomas, they found a can of pepper spray in his pants pocket. They charged Thomas with two felonies of breaking Florida’s litter law and possession of an unlawful device by a convicted felon. Both charges were dropped on July 8.

But Thomas isn’t letting the man keep him down anymore. No sir. This past May 28, Thomas sued Vimney for defamation in Miami-Dade Circuit Court and filed an internal affairs complaint against three of Miami Beach’s finest. “If I have to be in internal affairs every goddamn day of the week, that’s what I’ll do,” Thomas says. “Silk Thomas is not going nowhere and I’m damn sure not going to prison.”

-- Francisco Alvarado


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