Feb 172017
 

Here is the police incident report: http://thebluepaper.com/wp-content/uploads/17000704-1.pdf

 

 

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Arnaud and Naja Girard

Arnaud and Naja Girard, owners and editors of the new, digital, Key West the Newspaper (The Blue Paper) previously reported for the former Key West The Newspaper, Key West’s longest running independent weekly, published by Dennis Reeves Cooper, Ph.D., from January 1994 until November 2012. The Girards are perhaps best known for their discovery of and extensive research surrounding the US Navy’s 1951 claim of ownership of Wisteria Island but are also responsible for top investigative stories including breaking news coverage of the highly controversial in-custody-death of Charles Eimers on Thanksgiving Day 2013, the catastrophic police tasing of Matthew Shawn Murphy, and the property tax scandal involving Balfour Beatty to name a few. Arnaud and Naja have lived in Key West since 1986.


  51 Responses to “Rough Arrest Part II”

  1. Those “mother fucker” cops should be off the police force. They are much too macho for Key West. Looked like Berlin in I940. Will appreciate your paper pursueing this incident.

  2. Interesting…but not unusual. You will note that this is the 13th arrest for Mr. Knight, for similar offenses, over the last 2-1/2 years.

    Cops are babysitters?

    Dickford

  3. Obvious excessive physical force in retaliation for.a drunken comment. Subject was leaving the property as instructed immediately after the trespass warning, so trespass was not a valid violation. Therefore, we have a falsified police report. Very clear violation of body cam use requirements. Disciplinary action against officers involved is clearly warranted, but is unlikely in the police state that is Key West, where homeless are targeted for abuse. May at least one of these cops one day find himself homeless through some misfortune that he does not now envision. It does not take much..

    Plead guilty or do jail time? Where is “innocent until proven guilty”? Where is the right to fair and speedy trial?

    Does it take angry mob riots to get really basic Constitutional rights respected? Shame again on the KWPD- giving cops the world over a bad reputation and placing them at risk from a public that feels threatened. That’s just plain stupid. Honorable cops need to come out against the dishonorable for their own protection if nothing else.

  4. Mr Knight is always Acting like a Fool when I see him in that parking lot or by circle k on Duval. Maybe he should have thought before he ran his mouth. When he was walking and cursing if people were affected in his proximity he was guilty of disturbing peace and public nuisance. Chris Rock has a great tutorial on this subject Maybe He should have watched it Its called HOW NOT TO GET YOUR ASS BEAT BY THE POLICE he broke at least 3 of the guidelines! Play stupid games win stupid prizes .If you gonna be dumb you better be tough!

  5. Looked like the kid asked for it!!! Was he high or intoxicated? I would not want that bum out front of my store nor would I want to see that bum in front of Publix when I go shopping there. Check out his past arrests. The cops probably knew him. I bet they turned of the cameras after the first time they put the kid in the car thinking it was done and over with. Then the cops had to pull him back out and forgot to turn the cameras back on. Definitely watch the “How to not get your ass kicked by the police” video on youtube. It is funny as heck, but so true. Maybe the cops twisted his wrist a little far?I don’t think so, I would have twisted it a lot farther. But where do you draw the line? Kudos to the cops for having plenty of restraint. The kid asked for what he got.

  6. The lack of body cam video should cause the officers to be disciplined.

    Further, their actions should be reviewed by the review board for possible further disciplinary action.

    I was willing to give them the benefit of doubt but the body cam footage I saw in no way justifies their actions. Deliberately stopping the video and lack of footage is tantamount to them showing intent to aggressive and possible illegal force.

    The Chief should be disciplined for the officers shutting off their video while he is responsible for them. This type of behavior is unacceptable.

    Rather than everyone complaining about this what positive action can be taken to prevent it from happening in the future?

    • Well, we did ask the Chief of Police to go on camera with us and tell us his thoughts about this incident and another involving 2 of the same officers and the same homeless person. We wanted to look at the videos with the Chief and be able to ask questions to gain a better understanding. Does the Chief believe these officers behaved professionally and according to policy? We also asked that he speak on camera specifically about the KWPD’s use of force policy and bodycam policy and about homeless issues and what the City is asking of its police when it comes to dealing with homeless issues. Unfortunately, the Chief did not accept our invitation to express his views on camera.

      From what we have seen on social media it looks like there are MANY outspoken residents that feel these officers were PROFESSIONAL in their response to this incident involving a homeless man sleeping in public who, while leaving the scene, exclaimed his distaste for the police in vulgar terms. These residents [and there are MANY] continue to express their opinion that the officers involved should be COMMENDED for a job well done.

      In other words, for many of our outspoken residents, including some of those who were at the scene, this incident and the video footage provided is an example of EXACTLY what they WANT our police to do when it comes to homeless persons, who are found sleeping in public and who leave the area when asked to do so, but insult the police on their way out. These residents are VERY happy to have their tax dollars used for this very purpose. They appear to have no apparent interest in what the U.S. Supreme Court has to say about the constitutional concept or theory of “freedom of speech” nor have those that commend the performance of the officers who responded to this call about a man sleeping in front of Publix been inspired to debate the subtle differences between “reasonable” vs. “excessive” force.

      Those with a different point of view, like you, have come forth as well, but they are far and few between… What was it that Martin Luther King said again?

      ~ Naja Girard

      • Dear Editor,

        Yes, most sane citizens here DO firmly believe that this fellow Knight crossed the line with his anti-social behavior and deservedly drew the heightened attention of the police. While I’m sure he was stressed, he was not injured. This, apparently, is his pattern of behavior…common among the “homeless” among us.

        In your opinion, what would be/should be the acceptable way for the responding officers to treat this quite valid citizen/owner complaint?

        You speak of 1st Amendment rights: I have news for you…your Constitutional rights end at my nose. While you always retain your rights, they come with responsibilities. This shopping center is PRIVATE property…attendant with ALL applicable Constitutional rights due to the owner thereof. Mr. Knight “invaded” this property…and the police were “invited” to remove this unwanted guest. That Mr. Knight created a disturbance is unquestionable.

        Let me ask: If Mr. Knight had invaded your home or business, acting in this manner…what would you have done, or expected the police to do?
        Would you have merely laxed back and sipped your latte while Mr. Knight exercised his “Constitutional rights”?

        Dickford

        • Are you asking, Dickford, whether I would have approached this homeless man in the way Officer Chaustit did? With instant profanity in my speech? And whether I would then have, after the homeless man returned my insults on his way out of my “private property”, chased him down and blindly thrown him into a wall in an area without regard to the children who could have seen my actions or worse been trampled upon by one or another of our heavy bodies, then fiercely thrown him to the ground very near a pillar that, had his head made contact with it, could have caused him great harm or even death, then applied “pain compliance” by twisting his arms and wrists until he cried like a baby [or gotten my “strong man” to do it for me] while I required him to come to my car and be transported to my jail and then pull him back out of my car and apply some more “pain compliance”? No Dickford. I would not have done that. And I would have objected with all my force had police officers done so on my behalf. And – you know what Dickford? There are thousands upon thousands of police officers in this great country of ours who would not have done that either. And there are hundreds upon hundreds of Judges who have declared it illegal. Those officers that I speak of have time and time again shown the great patience and professionalism that is required of the job of policing, despite the fact that some residents, apparently you are included in this group, call for them to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the U.S Supreme Court rulings and to inflict punishment on the street for their “heinous” crimes consisting of “sleeping” and “cursing”. And do you know what else Dickford? I thank those police officers for their great work — with all my heart. Some of them live and work here in the Keys. Thank you to all of the police officers out there that could have and would have handled this without the violence. ~ Naja Girard

          • Great reply, Naja! I appreciate it. Your ardor on the subject is commendable.

            Yet…methinks you tend to exaggerate just a wee bit.

            Please…consider the circumstances here: This fellow was “sleeping” on private property…uninvited. He could easily have complied with the officer’s request to remove himself. In an inebriated state, he obviously decided to make a “nuisance” of himself, instead. So, yes…as a complainant, I would expect the police to do whatever they considered necessary to remove this person from the premises immediately: He is obviously breaching the peace I have every right to expect. That is not only the law but the requirement of a civil society. Mr. Knight, in effect, threatened the social order. He exacerbated the incident with his resistance: That resistance is patently obvious in the video(s) you published.

            Simply put: That behavior in public is simply not tolerated by society-at-large. Nor, should it be. Mr. Knight was NOT “deprived” of his rights. But, the equal rights of other citizens were also upheld.

            See how this works? And, seriously…you probably don’t want to know what I would have done with this sorry idiot.;-)

            Dickford

      • I don’t think this is about “freedom of speech”. It looks like the kid was trespassing, even while he was leaving, he was trespassing. It seems as though the cops were nice and didn’t arrest him, they let him leave. Then the kid was rude to the cops and everybody else with in shouting distance so the cops changed their mind and arrested the kid for trespassing anyway. Why should they be nice to him and not arrest him for trespassing when he has an attitude like that?

        • You nailed it, Aaron! Thanks.

          I think the cops acted appropriately in this incident…from what I viewed on the video(s) offered. Mr. Knight was indeed trespassing. But, he didn’t stop there. He subsequently engaged in creating a “public nuisance” of his presence.

          I have personally witnessed dozens of similar incidents here…all resulting in arrest of the participant(s) by whatever means. In virtually every case, the arrestees EARNED their plight.

          Dickford

          • Now. Now. The officers stated they were issuing a trespassing warning and that they would arrest him if he refused to leave. Let’s have a look at the trespassing statute. This would have been trespassing in other than a structure or conveyance:

            810.09 Trespass on property other than structure or conveyance.—
            (1)(a) A person who, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters upon or remains in any property other than a structure or conveyance:
            1. As to which notice against entering or remaining is given, either by actual communication to the offender or by posting, fencing, or cultivation as described in s. 810.011; or
            2. If the property is the unenclosed curtilage of a dwelling and the offender enters or remains with the intent to commit an offense thereon, other than the offense of trespass,
            commits the offense of trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance.
            (b) As used in this section, the term “unenclosed curtilage” means the unenclosed land or grounds, and any outbuildings, that are directly and intimately adjacent to and connected with the dwelling and necessary, convenient, and habitually used in connection with that dwelling.
            (2)(a) Except as provided in this subsection, trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
            (b) If the offender defies an order to leave, personally communicated to the offender by the owner of the premises or by an authorized person, or if the offender willfully opens any door, fence, or gate or does any act that exposes animals, crops, or other property to waste, destruction, or freedom; unlawfully dumps litter on property; or trespasses on property other than a structure or conveyance, the offender commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

  7. Oops! It seems that your message, Naja….was interrupted by the limitations of your site.

    Doesn’t matter, really. You’re trying to be a lawyer here. Please…don’t go there…

    Here’s the deal: The nanosecond that that trespass order was issued clearly means that the “offender” is immediately required to leave the premises without subsequent action(s)..Obviously…he did not. End of story.

    Dickford

    • Wow. I am amazed at how differently people see the same video footage. Thank you for your comments Dickford!

      • My pleasure, Naja.

        Facts are that I have been stopped…frisked and even arrested by the local gendarmerie. I knew the drill…and readily complied with LEO requests. Every contact I’ve ever had in the Keys with law enforcement personnel has been courteous, respectful and professional. I can’t say enough good words about the intelligence and perception these folks employed in regard to safeguarding my personal rights. They were exceptional.

        What was witnessed on your tape(s) is a livid example of the common reality these cops encounter every day…sadly. How would you like to spend the better part of your day…figuring out what some idiot could/should do with his/her life? I have spent MANY hours/days in this endeavor and have yet to see any serious, positive results.

        It has long been my contention (based on personal experience) that there are certain people who are literally committed to this lifestyle that we loosely term as “homeless”. In effect, they are quite content with their lot. I know many of them. Do you? If you do, just go to the Sheriff’s website to see how many times these characters have been arrested. There is no excuse for these incidents. The cops are only doing what we ask of them.

        Further…it is unfair to compare this incident to the “Eimers affair”. There is no comparison.

        Dickford

        • Did someone compare this to the Eimers affair? I must have missed that comment.

          • Ulp! No…there was no outright comparison to the “Eimers affair”. My error.

            The “Eimers incident” particularly sticks in my craw: Due, in no small part, to your diligence and tenacity in digging out the truth. Your efforts went way beyond being just commendable. It was a crime. No other way to say it. The Eimers case is/was our “Freddie Gray moment”…and a monumental disgrace to the many, many fine efforts exhibited every day by Key West’s “finest”…large and small.

            Mr. Knight’s “adventure” falls into the latter category. Despite clearly being confrontational and combative, he was treated (and charged) with due compassion and respect: His charges are all misdemeanors. Kid stuff. HE brought the “rough treatment” on himself.

            Ask yourself: How…precisely…would you have proceeded differently. Please…I open the floor to your comments.

            Dickford

  8. Had they used body cams and kept a copy then we would all see what actually happened. This seems to be about insulting the cops as he was attempting to leave. Had they just tolerated a few insults the man would have left and saved tax dollars. Without the cams all we have is the cops word and they are biased.
    And yes it was Eimers style of handling it. Surprised ? KWPD = Key West PIG Department.

    • Whoa, Jim! You’re right with regard to “KWPD=Key West PIG Department” to a certain degree: We have placed KWPD in the responsible position of ridding our social environment of the “pigs” around us…and of their threats to our “peace”. It’s a thankless task. Live a few hours on their side of the badge and you’ll come to realize what it takes to be a “babysitter”. We all have our limits. And…many of these moments are NEVER captured on video.

      Simply put: I would never tolerate a fool like Mr. Knight within my view. Neither would you.

      Dickford

  9. The question remains: Is the Key West police chief a man or a mouse? I have been a resident of Key West for over six decades. I was arrested by Key West’s finest -at my own childhood home -for trespassing. To make matters worse, my public defender acted more like a prosecutor, than a public defender. I am so happy the Monroe County State Attorney and the former assistant public defender, were not elected. Cheers! The new state attorney should now reopen the Public Corruption Unit. I remember when former Sheriff Billy Freeman made his deputies take drug lie detector tests and submit financial statements, 60% of the officers had to quit. And I don’t think it’s a good idea for vision-impaired police officers to work off-duty for the liquor interests. I believe the Key West police department is being run as a criminal enterprise and that the Key West Police Community Review Board is nothing but a protection racket for police misconduct.

  10. Along with too many of my Brothers, I returned home disabled from combat wounds. Shortly thereafter, I went Homeless in NYC for 4 years. During cold winter nights, a heated subway car was sought for warmth. Sweltering summer heat in the concrete jungle, brought me to the roof tops of buildings in the South Bronx.

    Throughout my travails, never once was I accosted, harassed or abused by any type of law-enforcement officer. I never had any conflict with the police. In fact, I instinctively felt that in their own way, they were keeping an eye on me. This distinct premonition was in fact a reality. During those 4 years, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was often steered towards safer locales and randomly checked upon by patrol officers and other members of the police department.

    Upon my admission to New York University, myself and a large number of New York’s Finest gathered and celebrated this success. Rehabilitation & Assimilation had finally taken hold and I was on my way towards Self-Actualization and Self-Realization.

    Throughout my years of living on the streets, I avoided being a nuisance and didn’t create any public disturbances. I did not call police officers or anybody else for that matter; “mother fuckers”.

    If I wanted to created a problem, make a scene or verbally assault anyone; I could have. However, I chose not to. I wanted to be left alone and provided with some time to heal. Not only did I get my wish, as I alluded to before, law-enforcement protected and aided me during this regenerative process.

    Lessons come and lessons can be learned, by any willing student. As we all know, life can be a little bumpy at times. Individuals in positions of responsibility, departing from the letter of the law, have caused my world to come crashing down upon me, on far too many occasions.

    What they did wasn’t fair or just; and perhaps illegal. However, it was the correction I needed at the time. It brought about awakenings within me, to a reality that I refused to face. It brought the best out in me and prepared me for better things to come. These individuals, allegedly committing these injustices, were in fact “Instruments of God”; surgically repairing and improving my lot; body, mind and spirit.

    That being said. I’m intuitively cognizant and aware when somebody or something isn’t “right”. I don’t remember being wrong with this type of assessment. I’m imperfect and make many mistakes, however, this intrinsic gift has never betrayed me. I’m not afraid to stand on the firing line of life and fight unto death, for the just and humane treatment of all people. I’m kept busy with innocent individuals who’ve been scheduled to be executed.

    Naja & Arnaud I love you. I love “The Blue Paper”, along with each and every story that you’ve investigated, researched and written brilliantly about. Your cutting edge newspaper, keeps my blood flowing and brain firing. I’ve witnessed your integrity, ethics and fairness; concerning these sensitive stories, never waiver. You’re always willing to provide law-enforcement with the opportunity to present the facts, as they know them to be. Perhaps, parameters for a general discussion addressing the increased fears and stressors facing law-enforcement, could lead into a more detailed conversation describing the routine calls, that are sometimes not so routine.

    With Love, Blessings & Respect…Always…

  11. The fact remains that this young man was complying and leaving the premises. He chose to hurl some insults back at the police which is not an arrestable offence. The cops did more things wrong here and “not by the book” than the arrested guy did.

    • I beg to differ. This “young man” (arrested 12 times previously over 2-1/2 years for similar offenses) was NOT “complying”. Look at the video(s). That is what is nominally called “disturbing the peace”…an infraction subject to arrest on its face:
      Simple verbal abuse can be termed as an “assault”. Deal with it, eh?

      Dickford

  12. To Dickford who wrote: “Ask yourself: How…precisely…would you have proceeded differently. Please…I open the floor to your comments.”

    Thank you for discussing this in such a civil manner.

    What would I have done?:

    I hope I would have had what the Supreme Court called “the training and professionalism” required to react exactly as the other two officers at the scene did. Officer Gomez is heard talking civilly to Mr. Knight, saying, “Do as he says, please” and he got immediate compliance.

    I am sorry to say I do not approve of the immediate swearing – “Sit down. Don’t make me FUCKING tell you again! Sit back down!” and the confrontational attitude of Officer Chaustit, which not surprisingly provoked a rebellious reaction.

    When Knight leaves and makes the rude comments only Chaustit loses his “professional ability to absorb a certain amount of abuse” for the sake of free speech. (Supreme Court) He is heard saying, “Nope! O.K…” Gomez asks Chaustit: “You want to take him.” and Chaustit says, “Yep.” Chaustit is also the only one inflicting continuous “pain compliance” techniques throughout the arrest.

    I totally understand the frustrations that hard working people feel when it comes to some homeless people, especially when they display their drunkenness in public. However, police officers are not above the law. Two officers acted with proper restraint while the other let his blood boil up. I hope I would be able to behave like Officer Gomez and so many of the other officers out there.

    • Dear Naja,

      An excellent, detailed reply! Thank you. Yes, I agree…one officer acted in a possibly uncivil manner. He should be counseled…and likely will be.

      That said, this miscreant wasn’t exactly acting like a gentleman, either: He created a “situation” where none existed. This officer reacted in a manner consistent with that of any “untrained civilian” involved in a similar confrontation. Excusable, if not tolerable: No harm – no foul.

      I’m sure that Mr. Knight had no overtly harmful intentions here: I’m also sure that these officers bore no ill will towards Mr. Knight. But, unlike “civilians”, these officers are trained to anticipate any possibly harmful activities and to minimize any such potential. Officers, offenders and civilians all have been injured, even killed in just such encounters. Hence…the forceful constraint(s). It’s not pretty…but, neither are the alternatives. They are quite effective in quelling whatever disturbance they discover when responding to a call. That’s a vital factor in resolving the issue(s). We, as a society, wouldn’t have it any other way.

      Thank you for your compliment with regard to civility. You have responded likewise. I appreciate that very much.

      Dickford

  13. I differ with dickford cohn on this guy walking away. I watched the video a couple of times and he was slowly walking away when he yelled the insults. I think cops are far too thin-skinned and too easily provoked. If their temperament is so volatile they should not be cops and should seek other employment. There are far too many cops who are on a power trip and expect everyone to kiss their a**. The reason Charles Eimers was murdered was because he dared to drive away after pulled over. The cops were intent on teaching him a lesson because the bystander video showed no resistance by him despite KWPD’s fabricated story of him collapsing while trying to run away.

    • Dear Desertcogo…

      I might actually agree with your assessment that the cops were “thin-skinned” in this imbroglio. The problem here is that this miscreant started this mess. He got what he deserved in response. You can’t ignore that.

      I also agree with your basic contention that Charles Eimers was “murdered”…except perhaps as to degree. He did die at the hands of the KWPD. Nobody can dispute/refute that…and nobody has to this day.

      But, contrary to your beliefs, the KWPD was not focusing on “teaching Mr. Knight a lesson”. They were merely securing the peace. In other words, they did exactly what we would expect…

      Dickford

      • If a cop can not handle being called names then the reality is they should not be a cop. Fact is the man was leaving. Yes likely called the cop some undeserved choice words but this is where it went south. Had he been a big boy about this he would just swallow the insults. What he chose to do was actually stop the man from doing what he was ordered to do and that was to leave. I see a potential law suit in the making here and it could involve not only wrong use of power from the cop but also Puplix being named in law suit. Even if case is lost it will be costly to defend. This all got out of control simply because of a cop that can’t deal with being insulted. And yes that is part of the job.

        As to the chief, he is a runt that reminds me of Barney Fife on Mayberry TV show. He is to scared to reprimand any of his officers. He knows they will write false reports and commit perjury in court.

        NO the Eimers case will never go away and should be a reminder for the next 100 years. This case could have ended the same way.

        The lack of body cam for the entire case should been available and likely was but erased for reasons we all know/

        As to the remark about the number of cases on this man , they mean nothing. Each and ever case must be handled as his first. Each and every trespass must start with a warning first.

        • Jim, I’ve always enjoyed reading your comments here. Good stuff — keep it coming.

          That said, I think you’re a bit overboard on this case: Yes, Mr. Knight was in the process of leaving the premises as ordered by the cops. Yet, that does not allow for him to commit additional infractions along the way…namely assault. Look it up for yourself…this is an infraction committed in front of law enforcement officers. It is up to their discretion as to how to proceed beyond that point…as sworn officers of the court.

          Please note that Publix is NOT “public property”: That store and its curtilage is PRIVATE property. They reserve the absolute right to govern access to that property. The KWPD was responding to a legitimate request from the property owner/agent.

          As can be seen on the video(s), Mr. Knight was duly apprised of his “trespass”. His only option was to vacate the premises post haste. He chose another course…

          Your claim that Mr. Knight’s previous history with law enforcement “means nothing” is totally without merit. Try getting a job with his “history”. It’s widely-available PUBLIC information…as is yours or mine.

          Remember that “rights” come with commensurate responsibilities. If a person refuses to wrap their heads around that singular truth, they will suffer due consequences.

          My hope here is that Mr. Knight comes to realize his foolishness and amends his views on life around him. He’ll be glad he did. He is a young man…with a full life ahead of him. I truly envy his position…given that I am near the “other end” of the life-cycle.

          Dickford

          • No when running it as a business it is not exactly private property. Do believe a sign would be required here saying KWPD is managing it.

            Now let’s deal with this one charge at a time
            First charge was trespassing and only trespassing. And fine with how that part went down. And he complied.

            He did create a second offence of disturbing the piece as he was walking away. But was not ordered to stop .

          • Have a look at this http://media.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/files/19954996.MAN.pdf This is a dissenting opinion by an Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge. That is the federal appeals court for our area. The Court was deciding on whether or not the officer had something called “qualified immunity” and could block being sued because he was a police officer doing his job and was not to be expected to know that his actions violated a clearly established right. That technical aspect aside, his paper gives some very good information on the subject matter of our piece – the arrest of Kristopher Knight after he cursed at the police. It refers to both U.S. Supreme Court and Florida Supreme Court case law in similar situations.

  14. Ahem, Naja! Unless these old eyes are faiiing me, this is the dissenting opinion of a judge on the 11th Circuit. IOW, he was overruled…

    What am I missing?

    Dickford

    • Hi Dickford, you are correct. I removed that link. I linked to the wrong case… I will find the one I meant to link to. Thank you so much for pointing that out!!

      Naja

      • Actually, I put it back up. While you are correct that it is a dissenting opinion by one Judge – the dissent is about whether or not the officer should be found to have qualified immunity from suit. He thought no – the majority thought yes. The rest of his paper, however, is very instructive on the jurisprudence – both US Supreme Court and Florida Supreme Court – that applies to situations similar to that of the arrest of Knight. I thought it was very interesting and a better read for non-lawyers than the other individual cases.

        http://media.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/files/19954996.MAN.pdf

        • Yes, Naja. I’m with you in that regard: Many dissents ARE more instructive than the court’s final ruling(s). This dissent is particularly interesting in it’s own right. Thank you for that link.

          Still…it failed. There is good reason for that. As I always say, there is a time and place for everything. Please note that there is no bar that prevents Mr. Knight from asserting his 1st Amendment rights in his defense. That said, also note that he was not arrested for asserting those rights. See how this legal stuff works? 😉

          Let’s be frank: Mr. Knight made a pluperfect ass of himself in public. He knows that…and we know that. It’s up to him to set things right. I am confident that he can and will do just that.

          This, most certainly, is NOT a 1st Amendment case…

          Dickford

          • Of course this is a first amendment case.

            Now one could argue that the “fuck y’all motherfuckers” vulgar insult (and yes that was stupid and disrespectful to everyone in the Plaza within earshot) constituted “fighting words” and thus was not protected speech. But I, personally, don’t see any evidence that the words and actions of Knight were threatening to anyone. Of course that would be up to a jury. There have been several cases, apparently, where simply hurling profanity at police officers has been upheld as protected speech.

            They may have charged him with trespass and obstruction but in truth they arrested him because of his speech.

            About the trespass: Knight got his warning (the signs near Publix say KWPD has their permission to ask persons to leave and to arrest them if they refuse to leave). The manager of Publix was standing there – clearly the plan was to ask Knight to leave and issue a formal trespass warning for the Plaza for the future. Knight did not refuse to leave. He was in fact leaving when the officer decided to chase after him – because of his speech. Certainly you are not claiming the officer did not run after Knight and commence his violent arrest because of Knight’s speech?

  15. Jim, now we’re getting closer to the nub of the matter. No matter what you believe, Publix IS a private property in every respect: Their agent enlisted the KWPD to aid in removing a nuisance. Perfectly legal.

    And yes, Mr. Knight did create a disturbance that required attention. That is why he was ultimately arrested. Sure! He did have rights to voice his opinion. But, what we always seem to forget…is that other people have the equal right NOT to be subjected to his abuse.

    Try these same antics in virtually any venue you dare…and see what happens. You just might be thankful that the cops arrive to bail you out of a sticky situation, 😉

    There is a time and place for everything. I really don’t think that Mr. Knight was even cognizant of his “First Amendment rights” here. Nor, did he care. Let’s quit making a mountain out of a molehill.

    Dickford

  16. Here is the way I view this. The cops started off on the right foot and gave Knight the easy way out by letting him leave with the warning that if he refused to leave they would and should arrested him. Up till then they acted perfect and had my full respect. As to being private property we now face several issues. For one they did not hire the KWPD to be an agent and could not unless paid. First part handled perfect, manager called KWPD and asked them to deal with it. Now lets follow the law. First it requires the manager to ask him to leave. Unless this was done we have the first issue of the required first notice of trespassing. Had the manager done this then things change as the KWPD were now ordering him to leave for the second time and that would been enough to arrest him right then and now. Lacking the first warning placed the KWPD to issue the first required warning. So far everything is still within the law and they acted properly.

    Now we hit the next stage , after warned to leave FIRST TIME and he complied this is where it falls apart. They told Knight to leave or be arrested for TRESPASSING. Perfect so far and followed the law. He then started to comply by walking away and so far all is within the the law. Now pay close attention, he was warned about trespassing not disturbing the piece. While leaving and about 30 feet away was overheard calling the cop a mother fucker. Now the problem begins. First off we have no idea if this is fact or accusation and may or may not be disturbing the piece.What we lack here is who was he disturbing? Under law the cop could not be pressing that charge so could not arrest him on that charge. What he did do was ASSAULT Knight without first telling him of the new charge. Now yes likely was disturbing a few near by people but what followed was likely a lot more disturbing than had he just adjusted his pull ups and let it pass. What was more disturbing ? The abuse we all seen or some likely drunk or drugged man venting opinion or what followed ? Yes can understand a cop being tired of verbal abuse but if unable to deal with this then picked the wrong job. As pointed out they must deal with verbal abuse as part of the job.

    The lack of body cams makes a lawyers case easy here. Will it go that far , NO not likely.So lets add this all up. What should been a 5 minute job for one cop interrupted on his doughnut break turned into a much more and tax money spent on hospital and if I understand it right 30 days in jail. Be thankful if a smart lawyer does does not go after KW for another million and if I was on jury would award the million.You tax payers are picking up the bill because your too stupid to vote assholes out of office.

    Things like this are what causes cops to be killed. No don’t take this wrong because I never want to see a cop killed. They have a tough job and often forced into making fast actions without legal knowledge or time to think it out.

    Now take a few seconds and think how easy this could have been handled. Be a big man and let the insults go unnoticed and get back to your coffee and doughnuts or turn it into an ass beating with potential costly outcome.

    Rethink what PRIVATE PROPERTY means when your running a store inviting customers. Yes likely this homeless guy is not what you want as a customer and likely would be a shoplifter. Also look at the image that a tourist seen here if they read this article.

    We all know the real truth here and this PIG was on a power trip.

  17. Well, suffice it to say that I think we’ve milked this issue to the last drop.

    If y’all feel so strongly that there is a 1st Amendment issue here, pursue it: Most of the rest of us have bigger fish to fry…or wish we did. 😉

    FWIW, incidents like this are played out thousands of times per day, across this country: Most everybody knows the score…and can recite it from rote: Be “naughty” and you’re gonna get a “spanking”.

    I can’t remember the last time that a silly incident like this was elevated to a Constitutional debate: Rather, it’s a “plain-Jane” example of an inebriated individual acting out in public. Nothing more.

    This young man’s behavior wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere. And, shouldn’t be. Period.

    Dickford

    • Had it been me attacked you can dam sure bet I would hire a lawyer. Being he was not charged for disturbing the piece then this man was ASSAULTED by a cop. A good lawyer will gladly take this to court. Actually he could get the original charge reversed at the same time because he was told to leave then attacked. This man just might not be homeless when it is over. And the cop could end up with a felony. Easy to just give your rights up but some fight for them.
      Take note this is why you never plead guilty just no contest.

  18. My main point here is that while what he have her is likely a worthless criminal homeless young punk kid he still has rights. Yes the kWPD is under orders to do it’s best to run them out of town they still must follow the law while doing this. A greedy lawyer can get rich out of finding cases like this or a man seeing how stupid this town is and set KW up for an easy fast million. You are a time bomb just waiting to be had. They read this and head to KW and will set you up.

  19. Aw, Fuck. I really didn’t want to get involved in this cluster fuck, but last night I dreamt of heading to the blue paper today, and I did, under the Pritam/Oceanside article. Then, with time on my hands to kill, I decided to watch this week’s beat up the homeless man video.

    When I saw John Donnelly, who has lived on the street, seeming to dodge the police brutality side of this, I wondered why? After learning what his Vietnam U.S. Marine Corps tour of duty did to him, I wonder why he did not, as part of his spiritual awakening, conclude that war was not worth one American or Vietnamese wounded or killed in action, or turned into a NY City homeless person who even today presents awful post traumatic shock in his public writings?

    As far as I know, this battle shocked by life former practicing attorney is the only other person in this conversation who has lived on the street, and I did it right here in Key West, and am doing it right now, right here in Key West. I have done it elsewhere, too. But this article is about KWPD and KW homeless people.

    I saw the video of this last in last week’s and thought the cops were too rough. After watching the 2nd video, I think the homeless man behaved like an idiot. Maybe he was too drunk and/or hung on spice, or whatever, to be anything but an idiot. Just my peculiar opinion, he would be better off dead than continue to live in that way.

    For publishing stuff like that at my websites about homeless people like this man, I was banned for life from KOTS. No doubt, the people running KOTS , the city’s homeless shelter, will read that and say, again, that I again threatened to kill homeless people. Those people are as fucked up in the head as this homeless man was that day at the shopping center.

    It may well be the cops turned off their body cameras thinking it was over when the idiot was put into the cruiser the first time, and it never occurred to them to turn their body cameras back on.

    Good luck the blue paper ever getting an interview with Police Chief Donnie Lee.

    As for the cop with the short fuse, that’s indigenous to KWPD, I run into it plenty, and I do what John Donnelly did. I try not to get myself beaten up and jailed by cops with short fuses. I have plenty of cordial conversations with local officers, even when I think they are going at something the wrong way.

    What I do not see in any of this conversation is written authority from the shopping center manager/owner authorizing KWPD to issue trespass warnings. Without that, KWPD cannot do that.

    The homeless woman Kari Dangler was charged with trespass at Winn-Dixie shopping center, and between the Dunkin’ Donuts and Wells Fargo Bank further up N. Roosevelt, 2 different cases, and the State Attorney nolle prossed both cases because the cops had not been authorized, in writing, by the land owners/tenants to give trespass warnings or make trespass arrests.

    The Public Defender represented Kari in one of those cases, City Commissioner Sam Kaufman, pro bono, represented Kari in the other case. Two beautiful cases of justice actually prevailing for a homeless person would have gone silently into the night if I had not been reporting it at my website.

    If KWPD has the necessary written authority to issue trespass warnings at that Publix shopping center, then the Kari Dangler cases do not apply. I’m surprised the cops did not arrest the man for sleeping in public, which is illegal in Key West, unless, like me, you are banned from KOTS.

    This kind of homeless man, and there are many homeless people like him around here, and some are women, cause the rest of homeless people a lot of trouble; they cause society a lot of trouble. They incite the police, and the citizens, to dislike homeless people even more. There is no reaching such homeless people.

    Look at how hard the cops tried to reach this man, who was so chemical-zombied out, or so stupid, or so wrapped up in his own attitude and rights, maybe from reading ACLU reports or the blue paper?, that he hardy even responded to the cops at the beginning. And he was real slow thereafter.

    And, he was real stupid, or arrogant, because he well knew he was not supposed to be sleeping there, especially in broad daylight during shopping center hours. He was in society’s face. And he knew it. And he did not give a shit. He was proud of it.
    And, the cop was too rough with him. He’s probably lucky the cop didn’t taze him. Or shoot him. Maybe the rough cop’s wife asked for a divorce that morning. Maybe the rough cop just got news that his brother was killed in Afghanistan. Maybe the rough cop was told by his doctor that he has cancer.

    I suppose this homeless man has a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit, but, geeeze, what jury would sympathize with him after watching those two videos? What lawyer would file that lawsuit?

    This ain’t nothing like the Eimers case. Eimers were murdered. It was either intentional or reckless disregard of life. That was a great lawsuit, with Officer What’s His Name spouting off on his taser recorder what he they had done to Eimers, not just spouting off, bragging about it then, and later. Gary Lee Lovette, was that officer’s name. KWPD finally figured out a way to lose Lovette from the police force, with help from Lovette.

    Those Eimers case cops should be in prison now. Also, everyone in KWPD who let those cops skate. Same for Cathy Smith and her back the cops no matter what associates in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. For aiding and abetting the cover up. LOL. Lots of luck, laugh out l loud.

    Forget the Key West Citizen’s Police Citizen’s Review Board. It has become the KWPD first defender. If you don’t know that, then you have been sound asleep. The last real CRB member, Tom Milone, told the CRB he would not seek reappointment, he will leave the CRB when his appointment expires this year.

    The only thing KWPD has to worry about now is the blue paper. And decent lawyers who are not afraid to sue KWPD. However, this homeless man in the video is not such a case. Eimers was such case.

    Naja, you speak of cops needing to control their tempers. Yes. Yet, I could never recall all the times you spontaneously went off on me over nothing, as if I was devil himself.

    When I see really big cops, all muscled up, I wonder what’s cooking, as in roasting, boiling, inside of them waiting to blow up? I wonder if they are on performance enhancing drugs? Or steroids? I wonder what would happen if KWPD gave random drug screens to every cop on the force, like Florida Keys Outreach Coalition does to every one of its in-residence clients, and one dirty pee test, and adios, regardless of time of day or night, or weather.

    I’d like to see every city employee given random pee tests. Including the mayor and city commissioners. And every school teacher. And every school official. LOL. Laugh out loud, lots of luck.

  20. Well, Jim…I’m happy to see that you concede a few points here. While I’m not so quick to condemn Mr. Knight as being a “worthless criminal homeless young punk kid”, his actions in this incident were worthy of the remedy: Not a few KWPD arrests are made exactly the same way when “fine, upstanding citizens” are the prevaricators. It’s part of the territory these “doughnut-luvin’ cops” police every day.

    Mr. Knight was officially charged with simple trespass – and resisting arrest w/o violence. Typically, the “resisting charge” is dropped…leaving only the trespass. Typically, he’ll spend 21 days total — maybe less, owing to the jail occupancy levels, unless he incurs further charges inside. Mr. Knight is a veteran of the system…he knows the score.

    Please note that Mr. Knight is not barred from bringing formal charges of his own…even while he is incarcerated. His likelihood of success, however…owing to the existence of the tapes, is slim and none.

    I smile at your contention that some “greedy lawyer” could make a fortune suing the City over such cases: If it could have been done, it would have been done…a long time ago. Nothing is as simple as it might first appear. And “greedy lawyers” are not stupid…

    Dickford

    • Actually he was wrongly charged with trespass. He was warned to leave or would be charged with trespassing. Being Knight was in the process of leaving then all he had was a warning. The cop ordered him to STOP so this changes everything. At this point he was stopped from complying. Now what he could questionably been charged with is disturbing the peace for using cuss words but the law clearly says that was over reacting. In fact it was the cop that used tile cuss words that disturbed me. He is the one needing charged with the crime. So if anything the charge would be disturbing the peace and he was not given so much as a warning.

      As often in a Bubba town people agree to plead guilty to crimes they did [not] commit.

      Yes I know why many lawyers would reject the case. It costs money to sue and a homeless man has little of that. Now what he could have done was plead not guilty and then likely either win the case or it would have been dropped. With that he would then be able to take this to court and go after assault and false arrest. Yes I understand that what they would do is add a new charge and he would sit in jail a lot longer.

      Now just remember that you are setting up a perfect case for someone that has the money for bail and a lawyer working on percentage of the win.

      Has Lee so much as even talk to this cop about his illegal actions ?

      • Chief Donie Lee confirmed yesterday that he has asked his Professional Standards division to look at it.

        • Well that is a good start but but being he is the chief why does he not handle this himself ? And yes I do understand the cop being tired of verbal abuse. Problem is he forgot where the law starts and stops. At best Lee will suspend him a few days. That will not hurt him one dam bit because it will be days he had off anyways so no financial loss. Now if it was something like 30 days with no pay that would get his attention. My hopes is this guy finds someone to back his case and take it to court and press criminal charges of assault. That would get the attention of the rest of his force and teach them a lesson. Go after them for 1 million. No he won’t get that but might get 10 grand plus lawyer fees.

  21. This is a phony charge that will not hold just as they messed up with the dog lady.

    On another note, I am glad that all of us were able to vote Catherine Vogel out as prosecutor in the last election. I would like to believe she was booted because of the fine reporting here on The Blue Paper.

    I remember a commenter on here advocating boycotting her current law practice once we throw her out.

    Does anyone here know where she hangs her hat now ??

  22. I am amazed at how anyone can see anything but a intentional police assault on a 5’5″ 150 lbs homeless man. Of course no one wants a homeless man outside of his store. It looks bad for business, but that does not justify assault. How anyone can say that was trepassing is amazing. He was leaving the area. His past arrests or past history with the police have no bearing on this case. In the video you witness a police officer initially doing his job but quickly going overboard. The man is ordered to leave the area and complies with the request. Knight curses the officers and then is violently assaulted and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. So how is it possible to trespass when you comply with the officer’s instructions? And what was disorderly? Sleeping on the sidewalk or was it his foul language? Knight was initially released from custody so it must have been the language, but as you see in the video, the officer cursed the man first, and we all know that cursing an officer is not an illegal act. Furthermore the officers knew that they wanted to beat him up and did not want any video evidence, so they intentionally turned off their body cameras. That shows premeditation and intent.

  23. Knight played the game as best he could. Please guity to fake charge and be out in 21 days. Other choice was not guilty and he would win but wait in jail3 month. Yes corrupt