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
The white dude is Randall Lawrence, a personal trainer who that day was helping Thomas load exercise equipment into Thomas's raggedy, rusty Fleetwood Cadillac. "Initially it was peculiar that they stopped us," Lawrence says. "But it turned out to be routine."
However, Thomas seems to have good reason to be suspicious of the po-po. A homeless man who calls himself "Low-Key" claims he saw undercover police officers snooping inside the Caddy while Thomas was shopping at the CVS Pharmacy on Lincoln Road two weeks ago. "They asked me: 'Where Silk at?'" says Low-Key.
This past March 19, shortly after 5 p.m. and with New Times riding shotgun, Thomas again parked his Caddy in the CVS lot. Before he could step out, a uniformed Miami Beach Police officer approached the driver's side door. "Gentlemen, are you waiting on something?" the cop inquired. "Do you have your driver's license? Do you have any weapons in the car?"
An astonished Thomas cocked an eyebrow at the officer and handed him his license. "I'm just asking," the cop said. "You have a good day, sir."
Two days later, Thomas was standing with his homeless friend Richard Habersham at the entrance to an alley near the Meridian Market at Sixth Street and Meridian Avenue. Habersham relayed that a plainclothes detective recently had come looking for intel on Thomas. "He asked what Silk be doing," Habersham said. "Asked me if he was serving dope again."
After a few minutes, a Miami Beach cop pulled up and got out of his patrol car. "You need to be careful with him," he said, gesturing to the homeless man. "He's dangerous."
Thomas shook his head in disbelief. "Being in Miami Beach is like being in another country," he seethed. "The laws don't apply here. Probable cause? That shit's out the door."
Meanwhile, Thomas is without a job and growing more agitated every day. "Man, I'm broke," he says. "I don't know how I'm going to pay my rent." He believes the MBPB wants him committing crimes. "They want me out on the streets peddling dope. But I'm not going crawling down that hole again."