Media

Running With Scissors: Florida Man Story From 2018 Goes Viral Again

Jonathan Crenshaw is an often-seen street artist in South Beach.
Jonathan Crenshaw is an often-seen street artist in South Beach. Photos by Camille Lamb Guzman (left) and Miami-Dade Corrections
Social media has been all atwitter this week, swirling with news that an armless Florida man was arrested in South Beach for stabbing a tourist with a pair of scissors.

"A homeless Florida man with no arms has been arrested for stabbing a tourist with scissors using his feet, police say," reads the news item, published Tuesday, August 16. "Jonathan Dale Crenshaw, a homeless artist from South Beach, Fla., was arrested Tuesday and charged with aggravated battery after he allegedly stabbed Cesar Coronado, a visiting tourist from Chicago, according to NBC 6 Miami."

Just another day in the Sunshine State, you say.

Indeed. But that day was July 10, 2018 — and Crenshaw was later exonerated at trial. 

Tuesday's news story originated from the National Desk (TND), a Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned outfit, and was picked up by Sinclair affiliates.

Though the TND story links to an NBC 6 South Florida article about the arrest, the author probably didn't read it, because it clearly dates to 2018.

The internet might contain the universe, but it has a short memory. Perhaps not surprisingly, the story has gone viral for a second time.

That's likely due to a boost from Dave Portnoy, the controversial founder and president of the megapopular, megamanly website Barstool Sports, who posted a video about it on TikTok that has garnered more than 12 million views and 2 million likes, and pushed it out on Twitter, where he noted, "I knew I'd seen that face before."
You see, Portnoy and Crenshaw have a history.

Back in early 2020, not long before the pandemic-whose-name-shall-not-be mentioned, Portnoy shared his thoughts about Blocks Pizza Deli in South Beach as part of his YouTube series, "One Bite Pizza Reviews."

As Portnoy holds forth about the merits of his slice, a man with no arms appears in the shot and addresses him: "And don't forget to give it to a crack addict."

Portnoy is visibly shocked.

"Today is a day where we just appreciate everything," he says. "I rarely get left speechless. I was left speechless by that guy. My instinct was to shove it in his mouth because he didn't have arms. Yet, he was pulling a suitcase."

The video stands as a viral moment from the series, notching more than 750,000 views.

Meanwhile, back here in 2022, Tuesday's TND story also links to a 2018 New Times story, which notes that the stabbing incident took place around midnight when the Chicago tourist and his friend approached Crenshaw at Collins Avenue and 16th Street to ask for directions.

Police said Crenshaw told them "he was lying down and a guy came up and punched him in the head."

The 51-year-old eventually went to trial in November 2021. A jury found him not guilty.

New Times profiled Crenshaw back in 2011, highlighting his work as an artist who painted colorful canvases with his feet. Back then he told writer Camille Lamb Guzman that tourists on Lincoln Road paid him up to $60 for his works.

That profile, however, also revealed Crenshaw's inner struggles: "Crenshaw talks a lot about sex and the many women he's impregnated, including Gloria Estefan, who he says birthed about 200 of his children," Guzman wrote.

Crenshaw has arrests in Miami dating back to 2008, according to public records. Since his acquittal, he has been arrested for multiple alleged offenses, including marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, and battery. His most recent arrest, in February, was alcohol-related.
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Naomi Feinstein is a fellow at Miami New Times. She spent the last year in New York City getting her master’s degree at the Columbia School of Journalism. She is also a proud alum of the University of Miami.
Contact: Naomi Feinstein