Ericson Harrell, the South Florida cop arrested for protesting Obamacare beside a busy highway while wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and waving an upside down American flag, posted the video of his arrest for the first time since the November incident, showing the cops accusing him of disrupting traffic when they were the ones blocking an entire lane of traffic, forcing cars to bottleneck into an even slower traffic jam.
What’s not in the video is the part where Plantation Sergeant Alfred Stanco walks up to him and rips the camera out of his hands, claiming it could be a weapon – never mind the 8-foot flag pole he was hoisting.
This, of course, was before they discovered he was a North Miami Beach police officer who was fully armed. The story made national news,
Harrell said his camera batteries died on him moments before Stanco walked up to him (which is why the video gets stuck for the last four minutes). He told them he was a cop as they were patting him down and they asked him why didn’t he inform him from the get-go.
He was charged for refusing to remove his mask, a rarely invoked law written decades ago to target KKK members. The statute, posted below, is poorly written because it makes a very broad statement about not being allowed to wear a mask in public, before clarifying the law is only applicable if the wearer of the mask is about to engage in criminal activity.
And we know most cops will never bother reading beyond the first line.
The charge was dropped and now he is suing.
But he is still being investigated by internal affairs, even though the incident took place seven months ago, did not take place while he was on duty and did not result in a conviction.
“They’re investigating me for conduct unbecoming,” he said in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime Monday night.
But it’s obvious they’re investigating him for refusing to march to the beat of the blue lie, daring to invoke his First Amendment rights while off the clock rather than strip citizens of their First Amendment rights while on the clock.
The latter, as we know, is usually given a free pass by internal affairs departments throughout the country.
Harrell, who’s been a cop for almost 16 years, said he experienced a political awakening after voting for Obama in 2008, drifting to the doomsday side of the spectrum, believing 9/11 was an inside job and later believing the Sandy Hook shooting was staged by the government to strip citizens of their guns.
He is a self-admitted conspiracy theorist, which one can imagine, creates friction with fellow officers.
“Just because you call yourself a conspiracy theorist doesn’t mean it’s not true,” he said. “When we arrest somebody, we’re presenting evidence and basing it on a conspiracy theory.”
He believes the government took an evil turn the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, which he also believes was an inside job and why he chose to protest on November 22 when he was arrested last year, the 50-year anniversary of the assassination that did change the course of history no matter where you stand on the political spectrum.
“JFK was talking about ending the military industrial complex, talking about ending the federal reserve, ending the secret societies,” he said.
“I talk to people and they think the New World Order is fiction,” he said. “JFK was trying to expose it.”
His fellow cops call him anti-government. He tells them he is anti-corruption.
“It offends my conscious that the federal government is committing crime and getting away unscathed and I’m expected to arrest people just trying to survive,” he said.
As a result, he keeps his arrests to a bare minimum, saying there is no quota in his department.
He is also looking for a career change, but understands it’s not going to be easy.
“I understand I’ll be giving up my pension, but I don’t believe my pension will be around anyway,” he said.
“The more I hear the economists speaking, the more I think another bubble is going to burst.”
So he and his family are preparing for the inevitable by stocking up on water and learning to grow their own food, actions have been known to raise suspicion with Homeland Security (along with taking pictures and reading alternative media).
“If the economy collapses, they are going to have me on the front lines beating people back because people are going to be starving,” he said. “I would rather be home.”
And like many of us, he expects them to come busting down his door at any given moment over his online rants and postings, which he does regularly on Facebook.
“There’s always that possibility,” he said.
876.12 Wearing mask, hood, or other device on public way.—No person or persons over 16 years of age shall, while wearing any mask, hood, or device whereby any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer, enter upon, or be or appear upon any lane, walk, alley, street, road, highway, or other public way in this state.
History.—s. 2, ch. 26542, 1951.
876.13 Wearing mask, hood, or other device on public property.—No person or persons shall in this state, while wearing any mask, hood, or device whereby any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer, enter upon, or be, or appear upon or within the public property of any municipality or county of the state.
History.—s. 3, ch. 26542, 1951.
876.14 Wearing mask, hood, or other device on property of another.—No person or persons over 16 years of age shall, while wearing a mask, hood, or device whereby any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer, demand entrance or admission or enter or come upon or into the premises, enclosure, or house of any other person in any municipality or county of this state.
History.—s. 4, ch. 26542, 1951.
876.15 Wearing mask, hood, or other device at demonstration or meeting.—No person or persons over 16 years of age, shall, while wearing a mask, hood, or device whereby any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer, hold any manner of meeting, make any demonstration upon the private property of another unless such person or persons shall have first obtained from the owner or occupier of the property his or her written permission to so do.
History.—s. 5, ch. 26542, 1951.
876.155 Applicability; ss. 876.12-876.15.—The provisions of ss. 876.12-876.15 apply only if the person was wearing the mask, hood, or other device:
(1) With the intent to deprive any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws or for the purpose of preventing the constituted authorities of this state or any subdivision thereof from, or hindering them in, giving or securing to all persons within this state the equal protection of the laws;
(2) With the intent, by force or threat of force, to injure, intimidate, or interfere with any person because of the person’s exercise of any right secured by federal, state, or local law or to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from exercising any right secured by federal, state, or local law;
(3) With the intent to intimidate, threaten, abuse, or harass any other person; or
(4) While she or he was engaged in conduct that could reasonably lead to the institution of a civil or criminal proceeding against her or him, with the intent of avoiding identification in such a proceeding.
History.—s. 1, ch. 81-249; s. 1416, ch. 97-102.
876.16 Sections 876.11-876.15; exemptions.—The following persons are exempted from the provisions of ss. 876.11-876.15:
(1) Any person or persons wearing traditional holiday costumes;
(2) Any person or persons engaged in trades and employment where a mask is worn for the purpose of ensuring the physical safety of the wearer, or because of the nature of the occupation, trade, or profession;
(3) Any person or persons using masks in theatrical productions, including use in Gasparilla celebrations and masquerade balls;
(4) Persons wearing gas masks prescribed in emergency management drills and exercises.
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