Held at gunpoint, handcuffed, unlawfully detained, unlawfully searched, and harassed. OUTRAGE, SHOCK, AND UTTER DISGUST!
Florida – -(Ammoland.com)- The Board of Directors of Florida Carry are appalled at the recent treatment of six of our members at the hands of officers of the Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD) on July 24th at approximately 10:00 am.
Our members were peacefully fishing at South Pointe Park Pier while openly carrying firearms in accordance with 790.25(3)(h) Florida Statutes, as members of our organization have done at various locations throughout the state since 2010. The organization uses these gatherings to hand out literature regarding firearms laws in Florida and to demonstrate that a visible gun is not necessarily a threat when held by a law-abiding citizen.
Apparently, the law enforcement officers themselves are the threat. Cell phone video of the incident.
Shortly after the arrival of the six members, a yet unidentified Miami Beach Park Ranger arrived and told our members that they were prohibited from carrying openly at the park. Our members politely informed the ranger that he was incorrect, even offering him a printed copy of the 790.25(3). The ranger refused to acknowledge the statute, and instead called who we believe to be a supervisor, who responded they did not know the law. The ranger decided to instead call Miami Beach Police, report our members, and leave the scene.
Minutes later, a unit of Miami Beach Police officers approached our members and were greeted. Instead of a greeting and engaging in a consensual inquiry, the officers completely ignored any semblance of reasonable suspicion and at least three officers drew their service pistols and aimed them at our members, who were committing no crime, were not acting in a rude, dangerous, or threatening manner, and who were simply fishing.
At gunpoint, officers threw our members to the ground, and in the process injured two of them. They then illegally confiscated the lawfully holstered firearms and were unlawfully detained without reasonable suspicion for over 90 minutes, before being released from cuffs.
Before the lawfully owned and carried firearms were returned, and after MBPD was aware that the members had committed no crime, all firearm serial numbers were illegally recorded, and our members were told to open their vehicle trunks to the view of MBPD officers. Officers had removed cartridges from magazines, and themselves placed the firearms, magazines, and ammunition into the owner's vehicle. Owners were not permitted to open the vehicle compartment in lieu of the trunk, nor were they permitted to rearm until officers had concluded their interaction.
Finally, the pier which by then had been empty for two hours, remained closed at the order of the City of Miami Beach, confounding our members who wished to continue fishing.
In a Miami Herald article on the incident, Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates said, “Given the current climate, if six people show up to to (sic) a pier in South Beach carrying guns, our citizens expect us to respond promptly and address any potential danger. We did so, and I am confident our officers acted appropriately.”
The actions of the Miami Beach Police Department and the subsequent comment by Chief Oates are unconscionable, unacceptable, and unconstitutional. Florida Carry will see that the City of Miami Beach learns it cannot abuse the fundamental civil rights of Florida citizens.
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About Florida Carry
Florida Carry, Inc, is a nonprofit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental civil right of all Floridians to keep and bear arms for self defense. Their website is www.FloridaCarry.org.