Feb 242017
 

Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D……..

Policing democracy is tough. Tasked to ‘protect and serve,’ police carry out their work within a political system that often makes them an instrument of competing political and economic interests. Far too commonly, police take the fall for the irregular, shifting, and highly political expectations of government officials.  Case in point  ‘management’ of  the homeless.  “Economic development,” which of course includes building and protecting tourism, has a very specific aesthetic:  There should be no visibly homeless people in Key West’s “One Human Family”— as one upper-middle class informant once told me, they scare us. The police work to eliminate homeless visibility in Key West’s up-scale tropical landscape through what their administrators call, “quality-of-life” policing. But the police must sometimes resort to aesthetically unpleasant strong-arm tactics just to manage the unmanageable.  They get ‘burned out’ by what they do and the  “homeless squad” is not a police career builder.  Government officials know, although never admitting it publicly, that they need police to do the ‘front-line’ dirty work that politicos dare not do themselves.

Yet like almost no other institution of modern society except the military, the police have the legal right to apply deadly force.  (Although ‘Stand-your-Ground” laws have expanded that to common citizens.) It is therefore absolutely essential that those policed—even the weakest and potentially annoying of our fellow citizens—be allowed to question police actions. Rather, some police and their supporters treat any questioning of policing practices as improper, most recently seen in some comments by readers of the Blue Paper about a citizen’s video posted by the paper showing Key West police hog-tying a homeless man.

So when is it necessary and procedurally acceptable for police to restrain someone? The “Response to Resistance Matrix” was developed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and adopted in 2009 by the Key West Police Department. Police use of force—ranging from interrogating an alleged perpetrator to applying deadly force–is laid out in black and white by the FDLE:

Police Response to Resistance Matrix*

   Perpetrator’s Threat level                                            Permissible Police Actions

Level 1Presence—A person is where they are not supposed  to be; suspicious actions.

 

Police Officer’s arrival at the scene
Level 2: Verbal resistance: Verbal refusal

to comply with police; threatens the officer

 

Investigative communication

 

Level 3: Passive Physical resistance: Physical refusal  to comply or  respond to officer ‘Take downs,’ pepper (OC) spray, restraints, pain compliance, transport person

 

 

Level 4: Active Physical Resistance: Physically evasive movements to defeat officer’s actions; pulling away Use of ‘intermediate’ weapons:  Taser in cartridge or stun drive mode; ‘take downs,’ pepper (OC) spray, restraints, pain compliance, transport person
Level  5:  Aggressive  physical

Resistance: Overt hostile acts against officer without serious injury to officer

All of above, plus ‘incapacitating control.’

 

Level 6: Aggravated Physical Resistance: Overt hostile movements with or without weapon. Deadly force
  • 2009 Florida Department of Law Enforcement; adopted by KWPD

Policing the Homeless:  Four Examples from the Field in Key West.

CASE A:  Last Spring (2016), I saw a man sleeping in a contorted position on the Grinnell Street sidewalk near Fleming.   He looked as if  he had died and gone into rigor mortis.  Calling 911, I learned that, “An officer is already on his way.” Threat Level 1: Officer at the scene. A man sleeping where he ought not be:  after several attempts to awaken the man, using a calm voice and reaching down to gently touch him on the chest, the officer finally succeeded in waking him:  No heavy pushing or yelling, no loud announcement: “You are trespassing.” The police officer operated quietly and demonstrated confident police professionalism.  As he got on his feet, he swayed back and forth. The officer requested the man’s identification and asked him to pull out everything else in his pockets.  The man complied but then kept putting his hands back in his pockets, as if looking for something.  The officer each time told him to take his hands out of his pockets; the man did this each time and then again forgot and put his hands back in his pockets.  To Escalate or Not?:  I wondered at the time if some KWPD police officers might have ‘read’ this man’s continually putting his hands in his pockets as defiance to a policeman’s order.  I was initially concerned that the man might have a weapon in his pocket, but the officer’s confidence and calm reassured me that the policeman knew what he was doing, which certainly had an impact on the homeless man’s actions as well—a calm voice is more passifying than an aggressive shout followed by threats.  The latter can ratchet up the police-civilian interaction.

At no time did the homeless man verbally refuse to comply with the young officer’s directions. “Threat Level 2”: verbal non-compliance.  Nevertheless, a  policeman could have defined the man’s reaching in his pockets as a “Level 3 Threat.”  This, I assume, would have justified the lone officer’s using  pepper (OC) spray to force the man’s compliance.  Or the officer could have placed restraints on the man’s wrists.  And a  “Level 3 Threat” also allows the officer to apply such “pain compliance” methods as squeezing fingers until it hurts, although one wonders how creating pain stops a person from pulling away—with the latter defined by some police as resisting arrest.

However, in spite of the man’s continuing to do what the police officer told him not to do—putting his hands in his pockets–this exchange never  rose in that policeman’s assessment to a “Threat Level” 2 or 3.  No pain compliance, no pepper spray, no ‘hog-tying,’ even though the man–groggy and drunk–was not fully cooperative.  The officer allowed the man to walk away.  I congratulated the officer for an impressively professional and respectful investigation. The officer thanked me in turn.

CASE B: Sometime in December, 2016, around midnight in my quiet Meadows neighborhood I was awakened to the sound of people talking quietly outside.  Looking down from my second-floor porch, I saw “Threat Level 1” in process.  A police officer was attempting to wake up a man sleeping on the sidewalk:  “Wake up,” he repeated over and over.  When the man sat up, the officer asked him to stand and he did, while at the same time verbally chewing out the officer. “Threat Level 2”: The man persistently spoke disrespectfully to the officer, who remained calm and firm. The officer gave the verbally combative man a choice of going to “the Stock Island Jail or behaving” himself.  The man’s response:  ‘You can take me to the fu—-g  jail of you want; I don’t care.’ Then the officer employed a verbal de-escalation strategy:  He repeated calmly and quietly what the man had just said back to him:  “So if you don’t care about going to jail,  I will take you.”

That curbside investigation never progressed beyond “Threat Level 2,” clearly because the officer did not let himself get pulled into his opponent’s snarky rudeness. The police officer was in charge without having to prove it. Once the policeman had placed the man in the police vehicle—with the man continuing to be verbally abrasive toward the officer — I called down to the policeman and thanked him for his calm and effective professionalism.

CASE  C:  On December 24, 2016, two Key West police officers were called to the Circle K Convenience Mart on North Roosevelt Blvd.  I did not observe this event first-hand,  but looked at  KWPD video footage obtained by the Blue Paper.  The first footage–recorded by the body cam of Officer Michael Chaustit–recorded Officer Michael “Mikie” Malgrat’s behavior during “Threat Level 1.” Officer Malgrat pointed his taser at the sleeping man as Officer Chaustit ordered him–about four times—to wake up and get up:   “Key West police get up!”; “Key West police wake up!” “Key West police wake up!”, “Get up!”

Officer Malgrat’s ready-to-deploy taser, according to the FDLE, is not justifiably used until Threat Level 4, according to ‘best police practices, as defined by the “Response to Resistance Matrix.  A  “Level 4 threat” exists when an alleged perpetrator gives the attending police officer reason to believe that the person is a threat to the officer and/or others. The presence of such a threat justifies a police officer’s employing such “intermediate weapons” as a taser–in either cartridge or stun drive mode–and/or ‘taking down’ the perpetrator, or  pepper spraying him, and using body restraints or pain compliance to further demobilize the threat.  But when Officer Malgrat arrived at the Circle K shed, the homeless man was sleeping—a condition that clearly represented only a “Level 1 Threat,” albeit treated by Officer Malgrat as if it were level 4.

Finally awakened, the man–whose name is Kristopher Knight–responded, “Fuck man!” Officer Chaustit repeats, “Get up!”  “What the fuck — come on man.” At that point, Officer Chaustit said to Knight, “All right, I’ll tell ya – either you’re gonna get up or you’re gonna go to fucking jail — how about that?”  Within a heartbeat Chaustit grabbed Knight who cried out: “I didn’t do nothing,” leading Chaustit to yell loudly:  “Stop resisting! Put your hands behind your back! Stop resisting! You’ll be tased!” According to my own watch, about 42 seconds passed between the time that Officers Malgrat and Chaustit, encountered the man sleeping, repeatedly told him to “wake up,” threatened him with jail, and warned the man that he would be tased if he did not “stop resisting.” Knight, there upon, by my count, got three electrical ‘stuns’ from a taser in “drive stun” mode—meaning that no projectiles entered Knight’s body. Screaming and writhing in pain, Knight yelled out, “I didn’t do nothing man.”  “What am I going to jail for?” “Tell me what the fuck I did, man?”

The two officers then pulled Knight off the ground as he screamed in pain, yelling, “What did I do?” Please tell me what the fuck I did?” “Ow!!!” Ow!!” Telling him to, “Stop resisting or you’ll get hurt,” the officers led him to the police vehicle.  Placing Knight’s upper torso on the vehicle’s front hood, the two officers carried out their work documenting the event. One officer photographed Knight, since he had gotten scratches from rolling around on the ground as he reacted in pain from the stun gun’s electricity. A supervisor was called to record the officers’ stun gun actions; EMS technicians came because Mr. Knight had sustained facial cuts.  In the end, it had taken at least five public security professionals — two police, two EMS technicians, and one police supervisor — to arrest Kristopher Knight, who would require still more people managing him at the Stock Island jail.

CASE D:  Blue Paper readers have been well informed about the Kristopher Knight ‘take down’ on February 4, 2017 by Officers Michael Chaustit and Julio Gomez.  This began at the Publix Market in  Key Plaza, without incident. The “Level 1 Threat” intervention, as seen in Officer Chaustit’s body cam footage, begins with Officer Gomez leaning down and shaking Knight’s T-shirt gently, with the words, “Morning, Key West police” (it was actually after 3:00 pm). Getting no response from Knight, Officer Gomez said more firmly, “Key West police,” Knight apparently then opened his eyes; Officer Gomez said,  “Hi, how ya doing’?  Feeling, better?  I thought you went to Miami?”  Knight mumbles, “Yes, I did.” Officer Gomez then says, “You came back–Why?” Knight mumbles, “well….” but fails to complete the sentence. Officer Gomez then asks, “What are you wasted on?” Knight’s reply, “I don’t know.” Officer Gomez: “Let me see you stand up, then.” Knight does so, with difficulty. Officer Gomez: “let me see some ID.” An EMS vehicle arrives during Officer Gomez’s exchange with Knight, but Officer Gomez sends it away: “He’s going the other way. Thank you,  though.”

At no point during Officer Gomez’s information gathering during “Threat Level 1” did Kristopher Knight behave in a manner that would have elevated the threat level above 1—no verbal resistance to Officer Gomez (Level 2), no demonstrable passive physical resistance (Level 3), and no Active physical Resistance (level 4) to police commands.  However, the situation changes when Officer Chaustit joins the conversation with Knight. Officer Chaustit told Knight, still on his feet at Officer Gomez’ prior request, to “Sit back down!” When Knight failed to do so immediately, Officer Chaustit warned:  “Don’t make me fucking tell you again! Sit back down! Sit back down!” Officer Gomez added, “Just listen to what he [Officer Chaustit] said, please.”

A fifteen-year veteran of  KWPD,  Officer Chaustit seems to have been the unofficial head of the two-officer “quality-of- life” team in the conversation with Kristopher Knight on February 4, 2017.   Listed in a 2007 police recognition statement as a KWPD “Detective,” Officer Chaustit sometime later was listed as a policeman attached to a KWPD “special operations” group. He now seems also to be a go-to officer for “quality-of-life” homeless policing.  Officer Julio Gomez liberally mixed courtesy phrases — “please,” “thank you” — with his own commands to Knight.  Officer Chaustit, on the other hand, usually gave forceful commands to Knight, at least once peppering a command with the ultimate swear word, as just quoted.

Escalate the Threat or Not?  The conversation at Publix continued:  Officer Chaustit to Knight:  “Get your stuff and go…walk the shortest route off the [Key Plaza] property. If you refuse to [leave the property] you will go to jail for trespassing.”  Knight asked, “Who called the cops on me, I’d like to know.”  Officer Chaustit declared, “It doesn’t matter who called the police…just stop talking and walk.  Leave now.  If you refuse you will go to jail for trespassing.”  Knight, following Officer Chaustit’s order, walks toward North Roosevelt Blvd. But when he gets to about 30 feet from the police—with his back to them—Knight yells into the air in front of him:  “Fuck you’all, motherfuckers!”  Officer Chaustit responds, “Yep. O.K.”;  Officer Gomez asks Chaustit, “you gonna take him?  Officer Chaustit’s answer is to move rapidly toward Knight, yelling, “Stop!” “Stop!” while speaking into his shoulder Mic.  Uttering something like, “Mikey.” Officer Chaustit was presumably referring to his frequent police partner and his current business partner in “Man Crafts Key West”[i]— Officer Michael “Mikey” Malgrat.  They were the two officers who had, on Christmas Eve, rousted Kristopher Knight out of the Circle K’s shed area and taken him to jail.

What Was the Threat Level from Kristopher Knight at that point? From the standpoint of the FDLE “Police Response to Resistance Matrix,” the relevant question is what was the degree of threat from Knight to the officers or to the public in his yelling an obscenity as he walked away from the police? Officer Chaustit’s post-facto explanation for the subsequent violent ‘take-down’ of Kristopher Knight was to protect women and children shoppers from Knight’s bad language. As appalling as Knight’s language might have been for shoppers, even more inappropriate was for a sworn police officer, Michael Chaustit, to use gutter language in informing a person of a probable police action.  (Remember that Officer Chaustit had said earlier to Knight: “Don’t make me fucking tell you again! Sit back down! Sit back down!”)

The “threat level” that Officer Chaustit apparently assumed when he took off after Kristopher Knight, was “Threat Levels 4 and 5.” There is no evidence that Knight had manifested the behaviors associated with these threat levels, Active Physical Resistance (Level 4) or Aggressive Physical Resistance (Level 5),  yet the police actions used against him are consistent with assuming such threats.  There was a ‘take down,’ the alleged perpetrator was slammed against a wall, picked up and thrown onto the ground, his hands tied behind his back, and ultimately Knight was ‘hog-tied,’ before placing him in the police vehicle— using “pain  compliance” along the way against a man who had represented no real physical threat to themselves or others.  The real travesty of February 4, 2017, was that people out for a day of shopping had to see a man being tortured and police who were acting like common thugs.

Policy Implications.  First, Michael Chaustit, who has received commendations for saving a person’s life and for other contributions to police work in Key West, needs a break from homeless duty.  And he is not the only one.  If Chief Donie Lee or one of his senior officers does not cycle officers into and out of “quality-of-life” policing, they must begin doing so immediately. Second, police body cam videos need to be analyzed by a non-police and a police professional weekly for violations of police procedure.  Procedural violations must be discussed with police on an ongoing basis toward avoiding similar errors in the future.  Third, the homeless population is not best served by police and police are not well served by policing the homeless.  The City of Key West needs to set up teams of people, to include those from religious organizations, social workers, nurses, and one person from law enforcement to work with the homeless, perhaps, through SHAL.  The homeless must not be seen as a police problem when in fact they are a political consequence of how cities have been built and ‘developed’–to exclude those who are seen as unable or unwilling to ‘fit-in.’

~~~~~~~~~

Breaking News:  Dear readers of my article on policing the homeless in Key West (and the threat matrix).  Please read Police Chief Donie Lee’s memorandum [click here] regarding the actions taken by the KWPD in the case of the February 4, 2017 arrest of Kristopher Knight at Publix. I thank Chief Lee for the feedback and while I do not agree with all of the outcomes, I am content that something was done.  I invite Chief Lee to read all of your comments in response to my article.  These can be found below the post for my article on the Blue Paper’s Face book page as well as below.  You have all weighed-in with excellent ideas and suggestions.  I hope  to hear your comments about Chief Lee’s actions in this case of homeless policing. Thank you, Martha Huggins
 
Martha K. Huggins

 

~~~~~~~

[i] On Twitter see: http://www.pictaram.com/user/mancraftskeywest/3588602498; Florida Corporate Registry, Man Crafts Key West, llc. # L16000149206 http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=MANCRAFTSKEYWEST%20L160001492060&aggregateId=flal-l16000149206-89924f88-eb54-4c27-a4bc-73f19dec899c&searchTerm=Man%20Crafts%20Key%20West&listNameOrder=MANCRAFTSKEYWEST%20L160001492060

 

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Martha K. Huggins
Tulane Professor Emerita and scholar of Brazil, Huggins has researched police violations of human rights in Brazil for 40 years. Huggins is now transforming that work to the US, where she is studying municipal government and the insurance industries' direct complicity in promoting, covering up, and hence rewarding police violence.
 February 24, 2017  Posted by at 1:10 am * Featured Story *, ~ Column ~, Issue #207, Martha Huggins  Add comments

  37 Responses to “Policing the Homeless: Following and Ignoring “Threat Matrix” Guidelines”

  1. Gee! Guess what? Mr. Knight has been released from custody today (2/27)…after bein incarcerated for 21 days. Exactly as I predicted.

    Dickford

    • And just how long will he be out before he is back in ? He could pull a cute trick now that he is out and file a police report for assault. With that they would be forced to respond to it. Could get real nasty fast. But if what we been told is he is a regular then likely he will just return to his old ways.

      Bottom line is unless he files the charges nothing can or will become of it.

      • Jim,

        RE: “And just how long before he is back in?”

        Dunno. I think that is up to him. He knows the system…and knows that the Sheriff’s Dept. did benefit by his 21 days rent.;-)

        As I stated previously, he could have filed his complaint at any time during his confinement…and still can. The likelihood that it would succeed is remote. Particularly due to the existence of those “tapes”. Hindsight is always 20/20…

        Dickford

  2. Martha Huggins came to me in a dream last night and welcomed me back, said she really liked me talking about “bold police”.

    Hold that thought.

    How many bold blue paper readers, critics, fans, commentators, editors, publishers did I see at last night’s Key West Citizens (Police) Review Board (CRB) meeting?

    Take a wild guess.

    In the audience was City Commissioner Margaret Romero.

    And a candidate to replace outgoing CRB member Tom Milone, who had told the CRB he was resigning. I know from Tom why he is resigning. That would make a great bold story for the blue paper or Martha Huggins to seek their teeth into. Definitely not a pretty story. If Tom wants to tell it.

    And me, although, shamefully, I arrived about 15 minutes into the meeting, and Tom had already presented his case for the CRB boldly reopening the Eimers investigation based on what the plaintiff lawyers had unearthed: the second bystanders’ video had conclusively proved several police officers had perjured themselves in their depositions, civilian witnesses had not been interviewed, and there had been a kWPD cover up.

    Now, you’d have thunk the bold CRB would have been all over that. But since you were not there, and I was, for I got there in time to hear the rest of the CRB’s response to Tom Milone’s bold indefensible charges, you would have learned that you had thunk wrong.

    After a KWDD officer liaison with the CRB said the officer who had caused the most trouble had been dismissed some months prior, that would be Gary Lee Lovette, responses from the other CRB members ranged from silence to let’s just adopt the Department of Justice/FBI finding of insufficient evidence to prosecute for CRIMINAL violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Laws.

    The CRB’s attorney, Robert Cintron, cautioned the CRB against going down that road. Cintron said, the burden of proof for CRIMINAL violation (beyond a reasonable doubt) of the U.S. Civil Rights Laws is very steep. Cintron said, there very well could be lesser infractions, which require a lower burden of proof, which would be civil violations of the U.S. Civil Rights Laws. Cintron said, that was the same thing the Department of Justice/FBI had faced in the Ferguson, Missouri case, which the Department of Justice/FBI had declined, for the same reason, to prosecute.

    I was sitting out there in the peanut gallery, having arrived, shamefully, too late to make citizen comments, thinking, what a bunch of panty-waisted horseshit. The plaintiff lawyers had boldly nailed it in the depositions. But for Tom Milone, the CRB, including Cintron, had boldly sold out; had boldly become KWPD’s first offenders, as I wrote in an earlier comment under Martha Huggins article.

    After CRB the meeting, I told Tom Milone that our new re-hired State Attorney Dennis Ward should boldly step in and take over where the bold plaintiff lawyers had left off. But then, I mused to Tom, Dennis had started out as a police officer, so would he boldly prosecute KWPD officers for perjury, not interviewing witnesses, covering up? When Dennis was State Attorney the first time, I had watched him boldly let a law enforcement officer skate, who had doctored a Wisteria Island trespass charge file, which news the blue paper had unearthed.

    I recalled the blue paper reporting my telling the mayor and city commissioners during citizen comments at a city commission meeting, that their police had believed Charles Eimers was homeless, living in his vehicle, and that’s why he had died. If their police had thought Eimers was a tourist, which he was, those police officers would not have murdered him.

    Commissioner Mark Rossi nearly leapt off the dais at me, he was so agitated and red in the face, that I thought he might explode. Commissioner Tony Yaniz was close behind. The rest of the city commissioners and Mayor Craig Cates looked at me like was out of my mind.

    Had truth been there, he would have loudly amended. truth, who boldly chimed in using a fake name in this reader discussion under Marth Huggins’ article. Little t. For little truth.

    So, what was the cosmic message in all of that, this redneck mystic former practicing attorney wondered?

    Hmmm.

    Voila!

    A fellow well known in spiritual circles, J. Krishnamurti, once said, “The solution to any problem is contained within the problem.”

    Right.

    It is time to disband the CRB. It no longer is needed, because it no longer exists. It mutated into something else. It went the way of KWPD’s Internal Affairs, the Police Benevolent Union, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Monroe County State Attorney, and the Key West City Commission, which is where the buck really stops, since the mayor and city commissioners decide who will be the city manager and police chief.

    Ah, but this awful thought keeps nagging, which has to do with a comment I submitted under Martha Huggins’ article, which Naja did not clear from moderation. My comment, in which I explained what Key West Police Chief Gordon “Buz” Dillon told me his own self had really gone down between him and Dennis Reeves Cooper, the prior publisher/editor of the blue paper, who had led the charge in the fall of 2002, to get the CRB on a referendum ballot.

    Now, I’m not going to say again here what I already submitted and it was rejected by Naja, I suppose, because it was not in Cooper’s and the blue paper’s favor, when it was run by Cooper. I leave that for Cooper and/or the blue paper to boldly tell it true, where journalism is a contact sport, unless, hmmm, you happen to be the past editor and publisher of the blue paper, and it is your ass being whacked.

    No, I’m headed in an entirely different direction today.

    That different direction is, the CRB referendum was based on a bold half-truth foisted onto the public by Dennis Reeves Cooper, who did not tell the public the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what actually went down between him and Buz Dillon, which caused Buz to have Cooper arrested, which led to Cooper suing the city and getting hisself and his lawyers, several hundred thousand dollars, which Cooper then boldly crowed about for quite a while.

    Cooper’s boldly told half-told truth was what fueled the bold petition drive for the CRB to be passed by the voters, against tremendous opposition from the Key West City Commission, boldly led by then Mayor Jimmy Weekley. Also fiercely opposed was KWPD, including Buz Dillon, and the Police Benevolent Union.

    It was a hell of war, in which I was a loud proponent for the CRB to come into being, I was in on that at the ground level, as yet unaware of what had really passed between Dillon and Cooper, and between Cooper and District Court Judge Wayne Miller, who himself had signed and approved the illegal arrest warrant. But that part of the story Cooper never told, he let Miller skate.

    After we became good friends, I told Bus it was KWPD’s job to put the CRB out of business, by not giving the CRB anything to review. KWPD be the police force that boldly polices itself. Be the police force that boldly does not tolerate officers embarrassing the police force. Be the bold first responder to deal with police officers who messed up. Buz was boldly taking that to heart, he was boldly transforming KWPD into a homeless tolerant police force, when he was fired by City Manager Julio Avael over the Dennis Reeves Cooper lawsuit.

    That, folks, is the cure. KWPD boldly resurrecting what Buz Dillon was doing. That will put the CRB out of business. That will put the blue paper out of business, too. For it is the sordid police misbehavior stories that draw to the blue paper much of its readership. Which is a crying shame, because there are so many important matters the blue paper covers. Yet it’s bad cop stories that make blue paper readers juices really run. So, KWPD, the absolutely meanest thing you can do to the blue paper and its readers is boldly starve them to death J.

    I do not see in today’s Key West Citizen any mention of last night’s CRB meeting.

  3. Public or private is a tricky . Yes Publix is private ownership but because of being a business open to the public while open it is public property. For that reason you can get a ticket for any violations the same as if on city owned property. So yes could get ticket for parking , speeding , expired tags.

    How ever as the owner a store can ban you from the property with a warning. After that has been done then you are trespassing. So seems Knight received the required warning to leave and he attempted to do just that. He was given the warning by KWPD.
    Now we move to the next charge and that was not trespassing. It was disturbing the piece and was not warned or arrested for such. That is where the cop screwed up. He can not just continue a case he already closed. He could have stopped him again by ordering him to stop by loudly saying KEY WEST POLICE STOP and the charged and arrested him for disturbing the piece and yes guilty of that charge. But the cop did not follow the law to the letter. Had he used the words POLICE, STOP or KWPD POLICE STOP then and only then could he use force.

    We all know this was not about disturbing the piece but simply got pissed off for being cussed at. Note that it seems fine for a cop to use file words but not others…

    As to your so called chief we all know he is a not allowed to do anything the mayor does not want him doing. And am sure he has been ordered to keep his mouth shut unless in court and ordered to talk by a judge

    • Jim, you have the sequence of events…and the subsequent charges, slightly wrong: Mr. Knight was charged with failure to leave the property upon order -and- resisting arrest without violence, NOT for “disturbing the piece”.

      The “resisting arrest” charge (obstruction) suggests that this incident was ongoing…Mr. Knight was NOT complying in an orderly fashion: Instead, he was seeking to (and did) commit further infractions…namely his publicly-witnessed verbal assault. IOW, the two charges resulted from the same infraction…a very common occurrence.

      Dickford

  4. Dickford and Jiminkeywest, can he file criminal or a civil suit once he has pled guilty in court?

    • He can file a criminal complaint (misdemeanor) and/or a civil complaint, if he so chooses. Remember…he pled guilty only to his infraction(s), not withstanding the actions of others.

      I would be highly skeptical of his chances for success in even being heard, however.

      Dickford

    • Yes, Martha, he can file a compliant. Officer misbehavior is a different issue from the arrestee’s misbehavior. But what lawyer would take this case and file a lawsuit for damages under either criminal or civil sections of civil rights acts? And what would be the damages awarded, given this arrestee’s behavior in the video? A lawyer certainly would look at al of that, unless he was just hankering to poke the police, and maybe end up getting himself poked back by the police, after painting a big bulls eye on his front and back. Dennis Reeves Cooper learned about that when he was trailed and watched and was gotten for D.U.I.

      What the city needs is its own drunk tank, paid for by the city, not by the Sheriff and the entire county taxpayer base, since it’s the city that’s putting drunk homeless people in the Sheriff’s jail.

      I don’t see how a trespass charge stood up in this case, unless the man had been previously trespassed and the came back after receiving the warning. And then, the officer giving the warning would have had to have the FLORIDA STATE STATUE-required written authorization from the owner of the shopping center, or from the owner’s property manager. That was the Kari Dangler cases, which the State Attorney dismissed because the written authorization had not been given by the land owner or the land owner’s property manager.

      A store manager in a shopping center cannot, I don’t think, issue a trespass warning for the entire shopping center, nor give police authority to issue trespass warnings for the entire shopping center. Perhaps for the sidewalk area immediately in front of a store can the store manager issue a trespass warning, or give police written authority to do that, and then arrest people who had been warned, who came back.

  5. FIXATING UPON IMPERMANENCE…CAUSES SUFFERING & DYSFUNCTION…

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