Florida’s Weird, Unfortunately the Police Misconduct’s Not

florida's finest beating up a homeless guySCATSlate has been running a regular feature this month called “Oh #Florida,” with Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman explaining (in 17 parts so far) what makes Florida so weird. Today Pittman focused on Florida’s crooks and cops, who don’t quite match the image of Florida police popularized in Miami Vice. Pittman writes:

We've had cops who got in trouble for hanging out in a strip club while on duty and driving around with mattresses on top of a marked police cruiser. We've even had cops get in trouble for trying to keep one another out of trouble by faking a crime scene—or as one put it, “do a little Walt Disney.” (Uncle Walt would've warned you to keep an eye out for when the camera is running.)

Even the upper echelons of Florida police departments can fall prey to sex scandals—some of them rather spectacular in their unraveling.

It’s easy to say that these examples are just a few bad apples, but the problems can be broader than that. For instance, a newspaper investigation found that a lot of our worst speeders are cops. The Justice Department just released a report blasting the Miami police for a pattern of using excessive force and repeatedly dropping the ball on investigating officer-involved shootings. Meanwhile, most of the Lakeland Police Department is tied up in a bizarre sex scandal that prompted the New York Daily News to dub them “Florida’s Horniest.” Still, it’s better than back in the 1980s, when so many drug dealers dropped off Burger King bags full of cash at Key West’s city hall that the FBI labeled the entire police department a “continuing criminal enterprise.”

Pittman also highlights the case of Officer German Bosque, who was fired five times and arrested three times over a twenty year period. Read the whole thing here.

Police who “veer to the wrong side” of the law, as Pittman put it, are, of course not limited to Florida, even if that state is often cited as the country’s weirdest.

More Reason on Florida here.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You don't know what it's like to be on the front lines of the war against shenanigans. Sometimes you have to engage in shenanigans yourself.

  • Ed||

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Shenanigans.

  • PapayaSF||

  • ||

    Somehow, it just makes sense that ProL, Brett, and BP are from there.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We're weird magnets.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    You're from Jersey, right? You may as well be from Florida since half their population is from there.

  • ||

    I was born in Jersey and went back all the time to visit family, but I'm really from Connecticut, because that's where I grew up.

    And the other half of Florida's population is from Canada.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    True story - I had never heard of bagels before I visited Florida.

  • Floridian||

    What? We did not invent the bagel as far as I know.

  • Brett L||

    No, the New Yorkers made it ubiquitous here, though.

  • ||

    Where the hell are you from that you hadn't heard of a bagel? China?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Grew up in the fantabulous town of Seaford, Virginia. Spent most of my time applying DEET and setting crabpots.

  • Floridian||

    Mmmmm...crab.

  • Brett L||

    Take your rainy weather back. I'm tried of Seattlehassee. I want my Sunshine State mandated 74 days of sun between May 15 and August 15.

  • ||

    No chance pal. It's beautiful and sunny out right now.

  • Floridian||

    I'm glad the rain is here. My lawn looks great.

  • Brett L||

    I need a fucking airboat to mow the back yard, but other than that, yeah.

  • Floridian||

    I have a guy that mows my lawn. I'm sure he hates the rain because he has to cut the lawn twice a week right now.

  • Floridian||

    Damn, I just realized I'm getting old. I'm talking about my lawn online with strangers. I guess I'll go sit on the porch, eat some worther's originals and whittle a stick for a spell.

  • Brett L||

    Could be worse, my coworker is building a house. I believe he was going to leave a cooler full of beer out there tomorrow morning so the roofers would be more inclined to work in the mornings before it rains.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I'm sitting in the Charlotte airport, waiting for my flight to Phoenix. The only good thing about it is a gorgeous Russian standing about 30 feet away.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I had a Charlotte airport plane transfer (55 minutes, we'll get lunch, right?) with the wife and 4 children in August of 2003. My youngest was getting ready to turn 6, and all excited about her first trip to Disney World. Because of serial "minor delay" plane problems we were there for 5 hours.
    I only remember the date so exactly because I remember commenting on the slow, several-seconds-long brownout (turned out to from a big Northeastern blackout) while going to eat at Boatwright's during our Disney trip.

  • Floridian||

    Oh noes! Florida has a law 21 other states do it is so weird. Plus they have insects. No other state has insects. Pittman, return to wherever you are from. We don't have a closed border with the rest of the country.

  • Aresen||

    I would suggest to Craig Pittman that Florida cops are not much different from cops elsewhere.

    He just hasn't looked over the border.

  • Aresen||

    "the FBI labeled the entire police department a “continuing criminal enterprise.”

    I am torn between "It takes one to know one" and "How does that distinguish them from a thousand other Police Depts/"

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Still, it’s better than back in the 1980s, when so many drug dealers dropped off Burger King bags full of cash at Key West’s city hall that the FBI labeled the entire police department a “continuing criminal enterprise.”


    Meanwhile, the Feds were working hand-in-glove with Whitey Bulger.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Fucking weirdmagnets- how do they work?

  • Live Free or Diet||

    For instance, a newspaper investigation found that a lot of our worst speeders are cops.

    Isn't that everywhere?

  • donalds||

    Make policy that polygraphs for all new hires expire every 2-5yrs. http://shar.es/epfm2

    California laws strengthened wall of silence among officers. http://shar.es/lITUZ

    The honest, brave officers with integrity deserve better.

    And so does the public.

    Wherever you are in the World, in your own jurisdictions, in your own capacity, you can do something, anything, just one thing. And make a difference.


    Break the code. Break the culture.

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