Your Tax Dollars at Work: Arresting Unlicensed Barbers in Florida


As many as 14 armed Orange County deputies, including narcotics agents, stormed Strictly Skillz barbershop during business hours on a Saturday in August, handcuffing barbers in front of customers during a busy back-to-school weekend.

It was just one of a series of unprecedented raid-style inspections the Orange County Sheriff's Office recently conducted with a state regulating agency, targeting several predominantly black- and Hispanic-owned barbershops in the Pine Hills area.

In "sweeps" on Aug. 21 and Sept. 17 targeting at least nine shops, deputies arrested 37 people — the majority charged with "barbering without a license," a misdemeanor that state records show only three other people have been jailed in Florida in the past 10 years.

Way to go, Florida! Gee, given that nobody ever gets arrested for this, how did they know what shops to bust?

In terms of demographics, the shops had clear similarities: Their clientele, owners and staff were predominantly black or Hispanic, and all were located in or near high-crime areas.

More here.

Hat Tip: Joel Miller

D'oh: Radley Balko blogged the story an hour or so ago, meditating on the reason why cops without warrants might have been accompanying a regulatory agency.

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  1. This is exactly what high-crime areas need to get them back on the right track: squelching whatever commerce they might have under the bootheel of the regulatory state.

  2. The State clearly established these licensing guidelines to protect the public from choosing bad barbers. It is clear that “society” makes these rules as “society” wants good barbers (which are to be construed as licensed, as everybody knows UNlicensed anything means “bad”). Only anarchists would want unlicensed barbers to cut people’s hair! We need government!

    Or some other stupid shit like that, the kind Tony and Chad like to peddle.

    1. “The government is us!”

      1. Yeah, shit like that! You know them, then?

    2. “I’m not a barber. I’m you.”

    1. yet another balko nut-punch

  3. It was just one of a series of unprecedented raid-style inspections the Orange County Sheriff’s Office recently conducted with a state regulating agency, targeting several predominantly black- and Hispanic-owned barbershops in the Pine Hills area.

    Chalk one more for the good guys in the War Against Rogue Scissors.

  4. The operations were conducted without warrants, under the authority of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspectors, who can enter salons at will. Deputies said they found evidence of illegal activity, including guns, drugs and gambling. However, records show that during the two sweeps, and a smaller one in October, just three people were charged with anything other than a licensing violation.

    Unless the USA is now the USSA, anything that was found in those raids that do not pertain to licensing laws cannot be admitted in a court of law, even if the prosecutors alude to “inevitable find.”

  5. C’mon Nick. I know Balko has fun with the nutpunch stuff, but we can only take so much. How about you take the Wednesday nutpunches, and leave Mondays and Fridays for Radley. Thanks.

  6. Gee, Nick, if “protecting customers from unflattering haircuts” isn’t a legitimate function of weapon-wielding government, I don’t know what is.

  7. I think in this case, it’s really the cops saying, we know you are involved with drugs. Just to show you how much we can fuck with you, we’ll charge you will not having a barber’s licenses. Clean you’re shit up or we’ll be back, scum.

  8. I’d be pissed if my hair was only half done because a cop FOR ANY REASON other than Sweeney Todd-ism arrested my barber prior to him finishing the job.

  9. Just this morning, I was explaining to my son how the government was all about expanding and abusing power. I told him about ludicrous laws used to benefit certain groups, and barber licensing was one of the examples I gave.

    I did not consider this particular aspect, however.

  10. I recall a case in criminal law class in law school in which the defendant was charged with “attempted barbering without a license.” The case was used to illustrate what it takes to be charged with an “attempted” crime – i.e., you have to take affirmative steps towards committing the prohibited act and come close to actually committing it. The government agent came in posing as a customer, sat in the chair, and the guy defendant got out his comb and scissors and started to approach the agent’s head, when the agent basically jumped out of the chair and said, “Aha! Barbering without a license!”

    The defendant argued he never acutally barbered, so they charged him with “attempted” barbering without a license.

    Can you imagine the conversation in the holding pen?

    “What are you in for?”

    “Bank robbery and attempted murder.”

    “How about you?”

    “Rape, arson, assault with a deadly weapon and malicious wounding.”

    “How about you?”

    “Attempted barbering without a license.”

  11. You know, I live just one county over from this.

    They actually sent the SWAT team after these guys. It’s kind of sad, really.

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