Cop Arrested for Refusing to Take Off Mask During Protest, Produce Identification, Claims to Be Part of Anonymous

A cop in Florida has some hobbies that trouble his supervisors



This would be just another free speech zone story were it not for the protester's occupation. The Sun-Sentinel reports:

Ericson Harrell, a police officer with North Miami Beach, said he was protesting Obamacare while standing on the sidewalk along South University Drive in Plantation on Nov. 22, 2013.

He was wearing a black cape and a Guy Fawkes mask seen in the movie "V for Vendetta" and holding a flagpole with an inverted U.S. flag in a one-man protest. The mask is symbolic of the group Anonymous.

Plantation police asked him repeatedly to remove his mask and produce some form of identification; Harrell refused. He identified himself only after officers found his gun. He was charged with obstruction of traffic and with wearing a hood or mask on a street, which defense attorneys said was created in 1951 to combat the Ku Klux Klan.

Although the incident happened more than a year ago, the internal affairs investigation only concluded this week. Investigators seized Harrell's laptop after his 2013 arrest, and said they found that Harrell had spent too much of his working hours surfing the Internet, and particularly on conspiracy theory-related websites. Investigators also said they found porn on his computer.

Internal affairs recommends Harrell be suspended without pay but is still finalizing disciplinary action. His self-identified association with the group Anonymous is also on police radar. Via the Sun Sentinel:

North Miami police found he violated three policies: conduct unbecoming an officer for using the agency computer for non-work matters and because he "ridiculed" the police chief on his Facebook page; for committing an act that could be considered a misdemeanor, regardless of whether he's charged; and for being part of an organization that could interfere with the agency.

Harrell is a member of the activist group Anonymous, whose decal is on his personal vehicle. Anonymous "wreaks havoc around the world to further its anti-government mission," according to the police report, which includes exploiting "government computer systems."

Because Harrell has security access to government computer databases, he was warned that associating with Anonymous could jeopardize his computer access and that he could lose his police certification, according to the report.

Harrell returned to work after his 2013 arrest and is still on the force. The department had been monitoring him at other protests before that arrest.

NEXT: Police Use Radar Device To See Inside Your House

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  1. A cops murders citizens while on the clock, and he gets a bit of vacation and an acquittal in 30 seconds.

    A cop protests the power structure while off the clock, and THAT gets him in hot water.

    Color me shocked.



      (And, of course, you’re absolutely right. It’s incredible that you’re right, and if I hadn’t been hanging out here for so long I’d think you were crazy, but it’s 100% right)

    2. WINNING


    3. The police are upset with his blatant lack of immorality.

  2. OT

    Latest from Balko. Turns out less than 10% of asset forfeitures will actually be affected by Holder’s new plan. It’s nice for those people, but otherwise it’s complete crap.

    1. Jeebus on a pogo stick.

      That was my working assumption, and now its panned out. I hate it when sociopaths live down to my expectations.

      And as the local po-po gets that last 10% under the fed umbrella, the asset forfeiture machine will just get bigger. I’m still predicting this will result in more, not less, asset forfeiture.

  3. A black cop facing off with Plantation authorities over a law designed to fight off the Klan? It doesn’t get much better than this.

    1. That is pretty fucking amazing.

    2. When ever someone says “there ought to be a law”, I think, ‘this will fuck over black men.’

      Doesn’t matter if it’s anti-white privledge or hair dresser regulations – it will eventually wind up putting a black man in jail.

      It can almost make you a anarchist.

      1. The system works!

    3. This could only get better if the “authorities” were called “overseers.”

  4. they found that Harrell had spent too much of his working hours surfing the Internet, and particularly on conspiracy theory-related websites.


    1. How long until he gets the Dorner treatment?

      1. You mean, how long until the Plantation cops (seriously, that would never make it past a fiction editor) start shooting random citizens?

  5. “Ericson Harrell… said he was protesting Obamacare”

    Guantanamo, stat

  6. He probably just goes to Alex Jones and infowar to check out Lee Ann McAdoo.

    Like I do.

  7. You know who else tried to hide his identity on November 22nd?

    1. Hey, I was in New York – I have witnesses!

    2. Alexander Litvinenko?

  8. You know, he doesn’t look much like a Klan member.

    1. They’re sneaky!

  9. The investigation into his “on the clock” activities and recommended punishment are clearly retaliatory actions by the police.

    I’m willing to bet nearly all of the work-issued computers are used for social activities and a substantial portion for “porn”. (That doesn’t excuse his actions, of course.)

    The “committing an act that could be considered a misdemeanor, regardless of whether he’s charged” is BS because that hood law is likely unconstitutional. And “obstruction of traffic” is a non-criminal infraction under FL law (according to my quick research).

    And “being part of an organization that could interfere with the agency”… what does that even mean? If he was a Democrat while that party was pushing for police budget cuts, would that be considered “interfering” with the agency? Also, public employees may have the First Amendment freedom of association so, as long as it doesn’t interfere with or compromise his police duties, he should be allowed to be a member of any organization.

    The only thing that possibly holds any water is his ridiculing the police chief. If he was doing that while “on the clock”, that should definitely result in some discipline. But public employees do have First Amendment freedom of speech rights so they can’t legally be dinged for doing so on their own time.

    OT: Florida also apparently criminalizes merely advocating the forceful overthrow of the US government or of disobeying the law (happens to be the same chapter as the anti-mask law). Wow.

    1. I’m willing to bet nearly all of the work-issued computers are used for social activities and a substantial portion for “porn”.

      I’m seeing some really embarrassing discovery requests if this goes that far.

      1. Pro tip :Discovery requests are VERY useful when suing police

  10. So, everyone accounted for?


    I thought Reason had redirected me to The Onion …

  12. Y’all laugh, but Plantation *is* a city primarily inhabited by rich white people…

    1. Doesn’t Reason’s transportation expert live in Plantation, FL? Fighting hi-speed rail is satisfying, but fighting this nonsense should be pretty exciting too.

  13. lol ‘suspended without pay’ iow SUSPENDED

    Suspensions are always w/o pay or they are not SUSPENSIONS they are paid leave

    Suspension is punishment

    Paid leave is not

    Unpaid leave is also generally not punishment. It’s usually voluntary and requested by the cop as in a coworker who took a year off to be a police trainer in some Slavic hellhole

    Cops are routinely placed on paid leave for all sorts of reasons but never as PUNISHMENT

    I’ve never been suspended

    I’ve taken paid leave many times – sick, admin etc


    ‘Suspension without pay’ as in dept of redundancy dept derp

    1. Suspensions are always w/o pay or they are not SUSPENSIONS

      Give it up, TAKD. Its written into statutes that deal with police misconduct, and is terminology used by lots of PDs.

      Don’t make me spank you again.

      1. To anyone really late to this thread. Dunphy was thoroughly spanked with citations on this issue.


  14. Fwiw, my agency explicitly allows NONwork related Internet surfing

    The dept must show it interfered with work performance for it to be against policy

    Certain computer use is prohibited like helping with political campaigns on duty etc

    I’ve had fellow officers work as mayor, city council, etc which is kosher as long as it doesn’t intersect with their patrol district

  15. Actually, police do not have carte Blanche free speech to ridicule their chief and/or supervisors even if done off duty and with personal computers

    There is a lot of case law on this and reasonoids as usual are ignorant on the law

  16. Christ it smells like shit in here.

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