Miami Beach Marijuana Petition Gatherer Harassed By Los Puercos
Before cuffing him, the cops checked his eyes, eyed his hemp belt, and confiscated an assault weapon (his butterfly knife), but found no pot or drug paraphernalia.
Below read Flash's email to his petition bosses recounting his night in Miami Beach lock-up and county jail for exercising his right to convince others that toking weed should be legal.
I got arrested by 4 Miami Beach Police Officers yesterday at roughly 8:00 p.m. I was on Lincoln Road on the Northwest corner of Lincoln and Meridian - near the Ghirardelli Chocolates. I had just left the Miami Beach City Hall, so I was not out there very long.
First I encountered 2 Officers - they were wearing more casual clothes, but they had the badges. They came up to me and said that I could not be there - I told them that I was on public property. They told me that I could not block the flow of people - I told them that I wasn't, yet I did move more off to the side and I was already at least 4 feet back from the street, so I would not be blocking people as they crossed.
I asked if there were any complaints, they said no, so I asked, "What's the problem then?" They then walked away and I went about petitioning. Probably about 10-15 minutes later, the 2 original officers are joined by 2 other fully uniformed officers. Everything moved very fast at this point.
One of them starts to take pictures of me. They come up and ask me to leave - I ask why - they tell me that I am obstructing people from walking - I ask how if I am off to the side. I ask if there were any complaints. At this point there are many different people talking at me.
They demand that I remove my prescription sunglasses. A first I tip them up so they can see my eyes and I tell them that I am not stoned. As I put them back down, I am told to put them back up- mind you that things are more blurry without my glasses and my eyes are light sensitive, so it is uncomfortable.
The lead officer has me raise them completely and I place them on the top of my head. He then asked for ID - I ask is there a problem? He asks for ID again - I say okay. I place my clipboards between my knees and reach for my wallet in one hand and start to look down at my wallet and place my glasses back on, so I can see and so my glasses don't slip off of my head.
At that moment, the officers start to grab my hands and cuff me and start to walk me to the police car. I was certainly surprised - I had one hand in my pocket and clipboards between my knees. One officer took the clipboards from me and I walked over to the police car where they proceeded to go through all of the contents of my bag. I carry alot of different gear since I am on the road alot and do a wide variety of projects. I make it a point not to carry any pot or paraphernalia when I petition for such a reason.
The lead officer threatened to cite my hemp rope belt as marijuana - I told him they were different, but he just wanted to make things difficult for me -- at one point, said "If I wanted to be a dick, he would be a bigger dick." I told him that I was not trying to cause problems and I was just doing my job on public property.
I was already going to jail, so there was not much I could do about it. The officer did find my Swiss Army Knife and my butterfly knife - they confiscated the butterfly knife -- they called it an assault weapon -- I call it a utility knife - I used it for boxes and other cutting projects, not hurting people.
I think they left me with the Swiss Army Knife -- I don't know for certain, since I don't have my backpack yet -- my backpack, my wallet, my phone and many other items were not transferred with me to the Civic Center Main Police Detention Area and the Miami Beach Police Property Return Center closes at 3:00 p.m.
I got out at about 5:00 p.m. today (Thursday, October 28) - almost 24 hours in custody for one count of Disorderly Conduct.