By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
“Leave the premises!” the manager commanded. “You're bothering my business!”
“But I am trying to help your business,” I protested.
At this time three uniformed Miami-Dade County Police Department officers approached this officer. They inquired as to what I was doing.
“Thank God you're here, officers,” I said. “I was looking for someone to back me up on this.” I indicated the California Pizza Kitchen counter. “This business is not having anyone sign the Cuba Affidavit.”
The officers collectively expressed anger. One of them, tall and bald, asked if I had any authority to be there. As I had informed the Pizza Kitchen management, I explained my position with the Cuba Affidavit Citizens' Auxiliary. “I was just checking to see if these people are compliant.”
“No, no, no, wait!” barked the bald officer. “Do you have any authority to be here?”
“I'm from the CACA,” I said, pointing to my badge.
“You're a citizen? You're not a police officer?” he asked.
“Oh no, no, no,” I replied. “I never said I was a police officer.”
When an officer asked for my ID, I indicated my CACA card, which the bald officer removed from my shirt. Said officers examined the ID for some time, then asked for this officer's driver's license, probably to check for possible use of an alias. After a few moments with both IDs, the bald officer attempted to hand back my CACA identification. I pointed to a space on my uniform's shirt pocket.
“It goes right here, sir,” I said.
At that moment those officers placed this officer in custody. They refused to surrender my driver license. They escorted me out of the terminal, past the short-term parking where my CACA patrol vehicle was parked, to the airport's police substation. I was detained for approximately one hour. The officers were observed debating my fate.
Eventually I was released on my own recognizance. Ofcr. Susan Munn explained that I need permission in advance to “solicit” at the airport, and then I may only do so in one of the zoned “First Amendment areas.” She also suggested that it may be in CACA's best interests to disband the auxiliary.
If I may have permission to write freely here, I can imagine nothing more dispiriting than a sworn, uniformed police officer not only failing to uphold the law but also squelching a grassroots citizens' initiative such as our noble auxiliary. At this time I must restate my request for permission to carry a weapon. With proper firepower respect for CACA among the populace should only increase.
It cost $10 to retrieve the patrol vehicle. Receipt attached.