by Larry Geller
Orange County Sheriffs enjoy their work altogether too much
On the day of the raid, the team first sealed off the parking lot; next, two undercover cops entered to size up the danger; and then – BAM! – the SWAT team hit the unsuspecting suspects. Wearing riot gear and brandishing guns, the team seized half-a-dozen of the enterprise's kingpins and cuffed them, while officers searched the premises for more than an hour.
You might assume that this was a narcotics operation, but no. In fact, Strictly Skillz is barbershop. What possible criminal activity led to such a militaristic show of brute force? "Barbering without a license."
[Jim Hightower, Florida police swat at barbers, 11/7/2014]
Oh, the barbers had a perfectly good license. And the cops (the Orange County Sheriffs Office) didn’t have a search warrant.
“It was a scene right out of a Hollywood movie,” the Court’s ruling began. “Teams from the OCSO [Orange County Sheriff’s Office] descended... with some team members dressed in ballistic vests and masks, and with guns drawn, the deputies rushed into their target destinations, handcuffed the stunned occupants—and demanded to see their barbers’ licenses. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office was providing muscle for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s [DBPR] administrative inspection of barbershops to discover licensing violations.”
The Cout’s 44-page ruling, which will allow four barbers to proceed with a lawsuit that the cops violated their Fourth Amendment protection from unconstitutional searches, vividly describes how a team of local and state police ran amok—and then claimed immunity from prosecution, which the Court rejected, when the raid’s victims sued.
[AlterNet, Federal Appeals Court Ridicules Florida Cops For Using SWAT Team To Check On Barbershop Licenses, 9/18/2014]
Jim Hightower wrote about this yesterday. It relates to the previous article on the militarization of the police (and Hawaii not collecting any federal goodies).
It’s so funny it’s not funny at all. Give some cops high-tech weapons and outfits and they can’t seem to resist getting all dressed up, wiping their feet on the Constitution on the way out the door, and playing soldier with their fancy toys at citizen expense.
Speaking of citizen expense, when the target citizens sue, as they do (if they are lucky to live through it), then other citizens, the taxpayers, are made to cough up money for the settlement.
And the cops? Their toys are not taken away. They usually don’t do jail time or even lose their jobs. That’s just pathetically poor city administration which won’t change until taxpayers get really mad. That’s not yet happening.
In the case of the story on the right, a judge ordered these cops three times now to quit staging these SWAT raids, but they won’t listen.
Lucky we live Hawaii.