Police

Law Student Calls Out Cops Trying to Ticket Him for Playing 'Fuck Tha Police'—So They Find Other Reasons to Ticket Him, Obviously

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Yesterday I blogged about Amy Barnes, a Georgia woman awarded $100,000 in a settlement with cops who arrested her for shouting "fuck the police" at them. Today, another tale of cops who can't take that particular criticism—even when it merely happens to be coming from the radio of a nearby car. But the ending in this case (so far) isn't nearly so happy.

Forever21

Cesar Baldelomar, 26, was driving to his parents' home in Hialeah, Florida, on Thanksgiving morning when he pulled up at a stoplight near where Hialeah Police Officer Harold Garzon was standing. Garzon was filling out paperwork from a traffic accident, according to Miami alt-weekly the Miami New Times. Baldelomar had his radio turned up loudly, and while at the stoplight the N.W.A. classic "Fuck Tha Police" came on the air. 

"Really?" Garzon said to Baldelomar through his open car window. "You're really playing that song? Pull over."

Garzon is a buzzcutted cop with sleeve tattoos and sunglasses. He's also a 17-year veteran with 16 internal affairs cases against him, according to records. (It's unclear how many were sustained; Hialeah PD didn't respond to New Times' requests for comment.)

But Baldelomar is no Hialeah bro. He's a double Harvard graduate now studying law at Florida International University. So when Garzon told him it was illegal to play loud music within 25 feet of another person, Baldelomar called bullshit. "In 2012 the state supreme court struck down any law banning loud music," he says. "I knew that because it was a case I had actually studied in law school."

Garzon grew angry, though, when Baldelomar told him that fact. He called over two other cops and then demanded proof of insurance. Baldelomar pulled up his info on his phone, but Garzon waved it off, saying, "It's got to be paper." (It doesn't. Florida changed the law a year ago.)

This didn't stop Garzon from writing Baldelomar three tickets: one for the insurance (non)violation, one for not wearing a seat belt, and one for having an out-of-state license plate while a resident of Florida. Baldelomar maintains that he was wearing his seat belt, and he doesn't have a Florida license plate because he is still legally a resident of Massachusetts. 

Baldelomar told the New Times he plans to fight the violations in court; hopefully a judge will throw them out as quickly as the judge did in Barnes' case. Baldelomar also said he plans to file a complaint against Garzon. 

"I'm educated. I know my rights. And I speak English, so I can fight this," he points out. "But what about when this happens to someone who's not so lucky? Policing has to change in this country."

In other words…

* The headline of this article originally described Baldelomar as a Harvard law grad; he got his undergraduate degree from Harvard and is now studying law at Florida International University.

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  1. I have it on good authority (Dunphy) that it’s just one bad cop in a pool of billions.

    1. What’s bad about him?

      He wrote up four tickets in a matter of minutes. He is blowing those quotas away, and will probably be revenue-agent of the month.

      1. Yeah, but he attracts the attention of Internal Affairs; while they’re bound by law to do nothing, it’s still unwanted attention.

    2. I find it amusing that most of my facebook friends who like to say that “not all cops…” blah, blah, blah all the time have responded lately to all the negative sentiment about police by posting stories of one cop, somewhere, who did a nice thing, for somebody. And because of that story apparently, I’m an idiot for speaking out against a morally corrupt system.

      1. = “Not all slave owners are bad! This one time a plantation owner bought a whole family so they didn’t get split up! He didn’t even rape the mom, only the daughter! So Why You Be Hatin’ Teh Slavery!!!”

  2. ” Baldelomar told the New Times he plans to fight the violations in court; hopefully a judge will throw them out as quickly as the judge did in Barnes’ case.”

    I take it you’ve never been to traffic court.

    1. More likely the ADA will drop the case before the first continuance.

    2. Last time I challenged a ticket, the judge started off by saying something to the effect of “State law says that the radar is right, even if you can prove it was wrong. Also, I don’t accept any defense arguments. You’re all guilty. Now let’s proceed with wasting my time.”

  3. First thing we do is stop calling them “law enforcement officers” because they don’t know the law.

    “Personal whim enforcement criminals” is a more accurate term.

  4. So there’s at least two bona fide “mistakes of law” in one hoked-up traffic stop.

    Good news for the cop: SCOTUS says he doesn’t have to know the law, so this should all stand up in court. He was close-ish, which for our New Professional Working Class Heroes, is plenty good enough for government work.

    Incredibly, under yesterday’s decision, if they had killed this guy for resisting arrest (as Garner was killed), it would all be perfectly legal.

    1. New Professional Working Class Heroes,

      This is how cops actually see themselves.

  5. So there’s at least two bona fide “mistakes of law” in one hoked-up traffic stop.

    Good news for the cop: SCOTUS says he doesn’t have to know the law, so this should all stand up in court. He was close-ish, which for our New Professional Working Class Heroes, is plenty good enough for government work.

    Incredibly, under yesterday’s decision, if they had killed this guy for resisting arrest (as Garner was killed), it would all be perfectly legal.

  6. Pictured: Harold Garzon

    Like Hollywood, God casts by type.

  7. ENB, could you please add the word “double” to the headline? I’m sure Baldelomar didn’t spend four years at Double Harvard University to be confused with those single Harvard pikers.

    1. It was Double Secret Harvard.

  8. Not that it should matter, but just an FYI- he’s a Harvard grad, not a Harvard law grad. he’s currently in law school at Florida International University School of Law, as per the article. Give FIU some props!

    1. No!
      /UF grad

  9. Garzon waved it off, saying, “It’s got to be paper.” (It doesn’t. Florida changed the law a year ago.)

    You can’t expect that cop to keep up with every piddly little change. He was enforcing the law as he understands it. And that is, as a cudgel with which to keep an hermano down.

    1. As long as he reasonably believed he was enforcing a nonexistent law, then it’s all good. Especially if it ends with the suspect dead.

  10. I looked at the paycheck which had said $7434 , I didn’t believe that my mom in-law realy bringing in money in their spare time at their computer. . there brothers friend has been doing this for only 16 months and just paid for the morgage on there place and bought a top of the range Aston Martin DB5 .
    You can join just easy ——- http://www.jobsfish.com

  11. Today’s civilian peace keeping system in the US is completely out of control. It really needs a firm, heavy boot placed on its neck to calm it down and give it proper perspective.

    You will trust today’s cop at your peril: These people are not your friends.

    (And yes, I came to this conclusion long before those two current pop-culture cases that are for the brain dead: Ferguson and NYC.)

  12. Break the cop unions and eliminate them. Then these turd-sack cops, Like Garzon, will not have union rules to protect them from disciplinary actions by the city administration.

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