A 23-year-old Florida man who ran for city commissioner last month was pulled over by camouflaged deputies in an armored car after he had flipped them off with his middle finger Saturday.
Lucas Jewell said he was angry that Alachua County sheriff’s deputies were turning his town into a Baghdad-like military zone.
After all, Gainesville is a college town mostly filled with University of Florida students.
But deputies felt the need to dress up like soldiers because it was Orange and Blue Weekend, a three-day celebration of festivities highlighted by a scrimmage football game between Florida Gator teammates that was free and open to all ages.
Jewell, who lost his bid for city commission, knew he had a First Amendment right to flip off police considering several court cases have long determined this.
But contempt of cop rarely goes unpunished, especially when police are empowered with federally funded military gear to help keep college kids in line.
Rather than respecting his First Amendment right to express himself, they pulled him over in the armored car on the basis that he made an “improper hand signal” when he flipped them off, which is not the first time cops in Florida have resorted to that tactic when being flipped off.
They also accused him of receiving fellatio from his girlfriend, who had been sleeping with her head in his lap.
After their “investigation” in which they threatened to handcuff, keeping him detained for almost 30 minutes, they released him with a warning for the improper hand signal. The statute he allegedly violated is posted below.
Although it is legal to flip cops off, police, of course, rarely fail to make arrests, which results in the citizen receiving thousands of dollars in settlements. Here is a federal appeals decision from 2013 regarding this matter.
Jewell recorded the entire detainment, but was told by one bullet-proof vest wearing, camouflaged-cladcop not to point the phone in his direction because it made him fear for his life.
“I don’t mind you recording that but you are not going to point it at me I don’t want you to point it at me because there are firearms that are made like that,” he said.
Sure, there are.
Call the Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell at (866) 273-5910 or leave a comment on the department’s Facebook page.