By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
Filed under: Flotsam
Last week they outlawed tailgating at Dolphin Stadium. The reason might be all of this past year's fun and frolicking in the parking lot.
In 2006 the Dolphin Stadium precinct of the Miami-Dade Police Department received hundreds of calls for lost property, vandalism, theft, narcotics, and the like. The number of assaults (nine), "intimidations" (three), and "suspicious incidents" (two) were fairly low for an area that swells to tens of thousands of people during football season. But as the season winds to a close, it may be worth recounting a handful.
This past April, a "verbal altercation" in the Gate 5 parking lot between two men one 83 years old, the other 24 escalated into a physical one. The elder gent hit his young foe in the back of the head with a two-by-four. The kid produced a pocket knife and slashed his adversary on the arm. Both claimed to have acted in self-defense, the police report stated. Neither pressed charges.
In September, two men driving past Gate 2 in a green Ford F-250 pickup hurled leftover food at patrons leaving the game. According to the police report, a 300-pound, six-foot four-inch man then jumped out of the truck, rushed a 21-year-old man, and rammed his head into a parked Jeep Cherokee, "causing a large dent in the driver's door." A second, smaller, shirtless man leapt from the truck bed, made a knot in his belt, and whipped the same victim in the back, "leaving a visual welt and a belt buckle mark." Both assailants were arrested and charged with aggravated battery.
While doing some pregame tailgate partying in October, a man accidentally tossed a football into another celebrant's car. An argument ensued, and a 24-year-old student from the Broward Fire Academy "sucker-punched the victim in the head, knocking him unconscious." He was charged with battery.
In a stadium parking lot this past December, a male driver taunted two men passing in a truck after the Buffalo Bills lost to the Fins. According to the police report, one of the men being teased pointed a blue steel semiautomatic at his tormentor. Then he said, "What're you gonna do now?" He was apprehended but not charged.
Not every incident has involved violence or the threat of violence; sometimes total annihilation is in the offing.
Last June, bomb squad officers from four units were called to the stadium mailroom to examine a suspicious package. Inside a 24-inch square box was a second, fourteen-inch square box wrapped in a "red hazmat plastic bag," according to a police report. It was taken to an open field, "x-rayed, and visually inspected using remote techniques." A Department of Homeland Security detective and FBI agent were called to the scene.
Once the package was determined not to be explosive, a hazmat unit was summoned to examine it for biological and chemical agents. It tested negative.
The "mass" was then transferred to the health department's bioterrorism section for testing. At 8:30 the next morning, the department contacted the bomb squad with the news.
It was pot. Frank Houston
Metal Heads Welcome
Filed under: News
The big gray barriers outside Miami-Dade County Police headquarters are pretty imposing. Too bad they won't stop anyone from carrying an AK-47 into the main lobby ... because the metal detector at the front door won't, either.
Installed along with the barriers and heightened security precautions after September 11, 2001, the metal detector is little more than a cobwebbed prop these days. Although the doors leading from the lobby into the station require a card swipe, the lobby metal detector is unguarded, and the officers at the front desk appear unconcerned by what passes through it.
Just to be sure, I recently carried my heavy-duty bicycle chain lock (in the wrong hands, a handy-dandy bludgeoning instrument) through the detector. No flashing lights, no alarms, not a peep.
Good Howard Hunting
Filed under: News
At Miami Shores Presbyterian Church last week, a bald, exuberant priest extolled a dead man's gentle nature, amiable aura, and love for "The Old Rugged Cross." The word patriot bounced frequently off the cavernous white stone walls.
But this wasn't just any funeral. The ashes in the urn belonged to Everett Howard Hunt, the same guy who engineered a Guatemalan coup in 1954 (shipping fighters in and out of Opa-locka Airport), organized the Watergate burglars, and according to author and attorney Mark Lane even had a hand in the JFK assassination.
The testimonials began when Félix Rodríguez, head of the Bay of Pigs invasion force, limped toward the family and warmly presented them with a Brigada 2506 flag. "We only give it to members," he said. "Howard was a man we considered one of ours."
History's version of Hunt, dark and sinister, came through in only brief moments. Like when his oldest son, St. John, recalled how his father had dispatched a neighbor's pesky rooster one night in Mexico slingshotting ice cubes packed with rat poison and chicken feed onto his roof.