Police Abuse

A Florida Deputy Threatens To Show 'What Fucking Freedom of Speech Is' During an Arrest

The Palm Beach County sheriff said he does not "condone" the behavior in the video.

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A Florida deputy is on administrative leave, thanks to a video of him telling a teenager as he arrests him that he'll show him "what fucking freedom of speech is."

The exchange occurred between Charles Rhoads of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and 19-year-old Kevin Wygant.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump tweeted a short clip of an exchange between Wygant and Rhoads.

The video begins in the middle of the encounter between Wygant and Rhoads, with Wygant saying, "Yes, I do have the freedom of speech," while his hands and cuffed behind his back. (It's unclear what this is in response to.)

Rhoads grabs the back of Wygant's shirt, pushes him up against a wall, and says "I'll show you what fucking freedom of speech is" against Wygant's ear.

When the people recording the interview voice their opposition to Rhoads' behavior, Rhoads turns and uses an expletive in an attempt to have them removed from the area.

According to the sheriff's office, the incident began with a Wellington restaurant manager contacting the authorities to remove two individuals who refused to leave the establishment. Without providing any additional information, the statement states that Wygant was arrested for trespassing, disorderly intoxication, resisting without violence, and obstruction, while the second individual was arrested for trespassing. WPTV reports that deputies asked Wygant to leave the restaurant several times and that he was arrested after ignoring their warnings and returning.

Wygant, however, says there's more to the story. In an interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, he claimed that he was attempting to defuse a fight when the deputies arrived. According to Wygant, he was initially told that he was allowed to leave but the deputies changed their mind, and that's when he was arrested for trespassing.

Rhoads has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. 

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said of the incident, "I DO NOT condone this behavior and take this matter very seriously." Though Bradshaw similarly did not name Rhoads in the statement, he reiterated that the deputy was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

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  1. Need more facts.

    Nevertheless, deputy Rhoads’ mouth should be washed with some Ivory.

    1. If you’re suggesting that he should be gored in the face by an elephant, then I like the way you think.

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  2. the incident began with a Wellington restaurant manager contacting the authorities to remove two individuals who refused to leave the establishment. Without providing any additional information

    I wonder if a type of person exists who could investigate this and then issue a report.

    1. hilarious.

    2. Robby Souave?

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    3. Maybe there were other people were present who could affirm one version of events or the other?

  3. Like to see more of it especially in democrat run cities.

  4. “Cop mean when arresting unruly drunk”

    Great work, Reason.
    Real top notch stuff

    1. True, could have been a brickbat. That being said, cop was “mean”. I’d like to see a little more professionalism by our public servants. Let’s start by getting a thicker skin.

    2. “Commenter makes up factoids when not in story”

      Great work, copsucker.
      Real top notch defense of liberty there.
      When in doubt, believe the cop.

      1. So you’re on your period?

      2. You DO know it was the OWNER who filed the report, RIGHT?

        Proportionality is proven an issue on camera. But you seem to be questioning it was trespass in addition

        That is fine and all but it has nothing to do what the cop says.

        The *OWNER* made the call. The OWNER made the accusation

        So that would be sucking the owner, no?

      3. If the cop didn’t relay what the owner said, let the owner speak for himself

        If believing the owner without ever even attempting to justify the brutality is to believe the cop — distrusting the cop can only be equated distrusting capitalism

        Of course, i am capable of debating like an adult. You jump to believing yourself a mindreader what commenters say or don’t say

        You get how 911 calls work, right? Without cameras, cops take a witness’s description of the event

        I don’t see how that is the cop’s narrative when the private owner or his civillian waitresses filed the accusation

        1. If distrusting cops is distrusting capitalism, you really shouldn’t be surprised at the number of people who “distrust capitalism”.

          1. Wow, you really did not at all comprehend what the comment you replied to said.

            Damn, that’s embarrassing

      4. Nor do I think criticizing the jump to conclusion, not only the cop overreacted but specifically most significantly, that the owner lied or was racist is the same as believing the cop

        That is, even if cops called the cops which is sort of absurd because if cops were there in the first place filing the report, they would not need to call the cops

        There is no default unless it assumes the owner, not the cop but the owner a truthteller

        By the same logic, it is to be in favor prosecution to believe a defendant innocent till proven guilty simply because you don’t automatically assume the accusation is definitively proven-fabricated.

        That isn’t a default when the owner is as much innocent till proven guilty, the accused trespasser here

        You do not believe in neutrality. You believe in guilt till proven innocent, simply flipped the other way around

        While the cop is guilty, the question of this man’s guilt revolves around the owner’s honesty

        Your issue is confusing the business owner with the cop. But the argument he was there breaking up a fight is not the brutality matter. It is what occurred prior

        What occurred prior is owner-sucking. Since adult debate is impossible, WTG there defending liberty:

        When in doubt, distrust capitalism

        That is the equivalent childishness. If you find that ridiculous, now you know how you sound

      5. There are 2 things going on at once:

        The cop’s actions (not story)

        And…

        The business owner’s story (not actions)

        Then the defendant’s footage that incriminates the cop…

        Where do you stand on the owner? The defendant isn’t contradicting the cop’s story. He is contradicting the owner’s story

        There are 2 things going on at the same time. Which is your issue? Defending the cop’s action is a belief of proportionality

        But there was no doubt in the video

        You might be misunderstanding disagreement over whether the cop overreacted with lack of facts

        The only lack of facts, resides with the owner. Commenters are taking issue with the utilitarian, very unlibertarian assumption that the business owner is something to do the infringement

        Maybe or not, but then let us be clear who’s sucking what. Thing is, both the defendant AND the owner are private citizens

        You are letting your anger get in the way of noticing proportionality is the only state issue. The rest is a dispute between 2 private citizens

        That is whom you doubt

      6. It is easy to get sucked into opposite dichotomies here

        “If you believe the cop who agrees with the owner, it must be because you believe the cop”

        Yours is not better. Somebody might retort that you hate private business ownership since siding with it would place you in agreement the cop

        A libertarian is steadfast on property. Whether he trespassed is the question here

        This would appear to be a debate between bluelivesmatter socialists and blacklivesmatter socialist

        You are ideologizing it. Truth is our demand

        A bad source doesnt imply a bad report

        But this is not a cop accusation. It is a cop overreaction

        But he was overreacting to a private citizen’s report

        If you believe he didnt trespass, you are accusing an owner of lying, not a cop

        You do know how report filing works dont you?

      7. You might be mistaking being pure with being partisan

        “Good job, trusting the republicans”
        “Good job, trusting the democrats”

        The agreement both cop and defendant here have is they do not respect free markets

      8. If you filed a report right now about a dead cat in the mail, and you know 100% who did it and the defendant says you imagined the box or that you have been instead harrassing THEM,

        Are you a copsucker? The cop filed a report against him

        Did the cop report the dead cat? I do believe YOU did

        But apparently you are a cop. So I will be defending the guy who did it to you

        Just following your advice, mr. cop

      9. Belief, lack of facts?

        Both you and the person to whom you replied agree the cop shoved him

        They are believing the owner about trespass

        That is your beef. Come out and say it. Believing the capitalist is wrong if a cop is called.

        Your skepticism is the trespass

        Tell me, you do know restauranteur is NOT a synonym for cop right?

    3. Yeah but at the very least I don’t think it’s too much to ask for law enforcement to act in a professional manner. If you cannot separate yourself from the situation, if you take personal any pushback on your authority, then police work might not be what you’re suited for.

      1. Far too many think the badge, uniform, and government title gives them the right to treat civilians as their inferiors who are undeserving of even the most basic respect. Maybe if people would stop being scared of these jerkwads and start catching them around a blind corner and teaching them some manners old-school style, they might wise up after it happens enough times.

    4. “Cop mean when arresting unruly drunk”

      Great work, Reason.
      Real top notch stuff

      Let’s see:
      People shot while crawling on their hands and knees begging not to be shot? Nope.
      Kids killed for carrying toy guns? Nyet.
      Adult wound up dead at the hands of police for carrying legal knife in his pocket? Nein.
      Man shouting “I can’t breath!” as he’s choked to death by officers? Nah.
      Man answering his door at 2 a.m. with a video game controller shot to death? Non.
      Man answering his door at 2 a.m. with a gun shot to death? Nah.
      Man roused from his bed during a no-knock raid shot to death? Negative.
      Officer stumbling in to wrong apartment after shift shoots legal tenant? No.
      Mentally handicapped man beaten to death by officers? Nuh-uh.
      Mentally handicapped person’s caregivers shot to death by officers? Nope.
      Bullet fired at dog kills woman on Xmas eve? No.
      Bullet fired at dog kills dog during child’s birthday party? Naw.
      Bullet fired at passive dog kills dog? No.
      Officers stopping and frisking minorities off the street? Still no.
      Officers snatching up suspects and taking them to black sites? Yeah, No.
      Officer turned off his bodycam? No.
      Officer fabricated evidence? Nope.
      Officer filed a false report? I don’t think so.

      I’m running out of guesses as to what actually is wrong here… uh… Innocent woman shot by federal agents while holding her baby? No. Uh… cult compound seiged and effectively burned to the ground? No. Random people ventilated by teams of panicky cops on the hunt for one of their own? Still no. Oh! Paid officer cowers outside while mass murder stalks and kills people inside the building he’s charged with protecting? Nope. Not his jurisdiction? No. Accidentally lost track of car-loads of illegal weapons sold to Mexican cartels? Nope.

      OK, I give up. It’s really starting to look like a “He attacked Iran by killing one of their military leaders on occupied Iraqi soil.” sort of situation.

      1. But he was so mean to a “teenager”.

  5. On the one hand, we’re against cancel culture. On the other hand, we’re obsessed with catching people saying something untoward on camera–and ruining their careers with it?

    Do I see a difference between going after public officials this way and going after private citizens?

    Of course!

    Does the author of this article know the difference? I don’t see that distinction made anywhere. Why not mention it in a case like this?

    Do the social justice warriors who are out to purge social media, the public square, and American society of people who say and think rude and controversial things recognize or care about the difference between using this ‘gotcha saying something stupid on camera’ crap on public officials and using it on private individuals in an effort to intimidate, suppress, and eliminate controversial speech?

    The correct answer is “no”, and the fact that they don’t is a big problem.

    Why not point out the problem?

    This article could have been posted to a social justice warrior website, and if you’re writing articles condemning people for what they say that might as well have appeared on an anti-fa website, then you forgot to add something important.

    P.S. Remember when that egotistical ass, Preet Bahara, came after commenters here for saying things that could have been taken in the worst way possible–but weren’t in any way crimes at all? Whose side of that argument is this article on? Can’t tell? I can’t either.

    1. Not all Reason writers are against cancel culture. Are you sure Zuri is?

      1. Judging from this article, she doesn’t even seem to know how to fake it.

        You’re right. Maybe she thinks that policing speech is a legitimately libertarian enterprise.

        Making sure people are too scared to say anything controversial–or pay with their careers when they do–that’s what being libertarian is all about!

        1. “Making sure people are too scared to say anything controversial–or pay with their careers when they do…”

          “Rhoads grabs the back of Wygant’s shirt, pushes him up against a wall, and says “I’ll show you what fucking freedom of speech is” against Wygant’s ear.”

          Looks to be like a few NAP violations here but maybe I’m knit-picking with violence, intimidation and threats of future violence.

        2. Making sure people are too scared to say anything controversial–or pay with their careers when they do–that’s what being libertarian is all about!

          Yes, but without the sarcasm.

          Or are you forgetting how libertarians are against any and all worker rights and protections ever? How libertarians, up until “cancel culture” started targetting conservatives, were 100% on-board with bosses firing people for their non-work related activities and speech.

          Libertarians have always prioritized the right of the boss to fire the employee… except when the employee is fired for something libertarians sympathize with.

          This blatant hypocrisy and double standard is why I can’t take any of this manufactured panic over “cancel culture” seriously.

      2. Do you think they’ll bother to ask us for money again during the holidays this year?

        1. Yes. And they’ll probably get a good chunk of White Knight’s disability check.

          1. He won’t ever stop buying his cookies.

            1. Not sure if that means he’ll put his money where his mouth is, or that he won’t?

              1. He is fat. He wouldn’t ever give up his food supply.

                1. Accidentally flagged this for review. So easy to do on a smart phone. Sorry

              2. BTW, agree with your inference he is on some type of government payout with how he defends paternalism. Just saying he is selfish, unlike to ever give someone something.

          2. He is the Reason intern. No money.

      3. Just look to ENB for a reason writer who’s pro cancel cultur/doxxing

      4. I’d argue that no Reason writer, or Reason commentator, is against “cancel culture”.

        What Reason writers and commentators are against is when it’s aimed at people they approve of.

    2. IMHO, Zuri is perhaps the most flagrant abuser of context. Whenever I see

      In the several articles I have seen from her, there were always mitigating factors that were known at the time of the writing that she deliberately leaves out. c.f. the Garrett Foster article she wrote.

      For me, this is the biggest problem I have with Reason these days. If you have to resort to telling half the story in order to make your point, then you are unqualified to be a libertarian advocate. Because there isn’t a person in the world who won’t fact check every argument you make. And sadly, that is exactly what I must do whenever Zuri writes an article.

  6. This pig should have just lied on a FISA warrant, would have kept him under Reason’s radar.

    1. +1,000,000.

      I think I speak for everyone when I tell you that you’re the winner of today.

  7. No, you don’t have freedom of speech on private property. If they ask you to leave for any reason, then you gotta go. Otherwise it could be trespassing. (Or so I’ve been told.)

    1. Oh no. If I put up a sign that reads, “I hate LGBT” on your front lawn, you have to leave it there–no matter what.

      That’s what the First Amendment is all about–using the government to force you to suffer our free speech on your property.

      . . . well, that and to make sure your religious convictions don’t get in the way of the law.

      1. But if I put up a sign in Dajjal’s yard that says “ken Schultz will molest your children” and you put up a sign next to it saying “ken Schultz doesn’t molest children and is not a threat to them”, Dajjal bears no responsibility if he takes your sign down and leaves the one alleging you’re going to rape neighborhood children up… right?

        1. It’s not like Dajjal made the sign or put it up, he just provides a yard. He doesn’t even read signs before people put them up, he just takes down ones he doesn’t like later

          1. He doesn’t even read signs before people put them up, he just takes down ones he doesn’t like, even if the ones he likes are slanderous and the ones he doesn’t like are provably true later

            Because between Dajjal’s platform and Ken Shultz who are you to believe Congress’ protection of Dajjal against the notorious child molester Ken Schultz?

            1. believe

              FFS. Doubt!

            2. Defamation is a separate issue.

              The question here was whether the First Amendment prohibits Whole Foods from taking down antisemitic propaganda from their community bulletin board–after some Nazi sicko puts it up in the store next to announcements for yoga classes and puppy adoptions.

              The question isn’t whether “I hate LGBT” is a true statement in regards to the person who lives there. The question is whether it’s on the property of the person who lives there, and if it is, then the First Amendment doesn’t compel the person who owns the property to just leave that sign there against his or her will.

              “Congress shall make no law”. It’s amazing how many people don’t seem to understand what that means. The government can’t compel you to put up a sign like that. The government can’t prohibit your from putting up a sign like that. The obligation to respect other people’s choices in regards to how their own property is used is the definition of property rights, and the only legitimate purpose of government is to protect our rights.

              1. “Congress shall make no law”

                So section 230 of the CDA isn’t a law?

                And are you saying that Dajjal bears no responsibility for allowing a sign calling you a child rapist to be posted on his property while disallowing a sign denying such, or it’s different because reasons?

              2. Defamation is a separate issue.

                Holy Shit is that brazenly stupid. Did you get your law degree after you combed the entirety of US case law and found zero cases of defamation and free speech butting heads or before? Did you pick it up from your laserjet or have it printed off at Office Depot?

                1. The fact that you can take any statement down off your own property–regardless of whether it’s defamatory–is stupid?!

                  You’re a fucking idiot.

                  1. Your whole position is that 230 is needed for the internet to have free speech, but then you say defamation is a different issue?
                    If it were twitter in the above scenario, instead of Dajjal’s yard, 230 would block any lawsuit seeking damages from Dajjal.
                    So you have 3 possible choices here:
                    1) both Dajjal and Twitter are liable for the speech they host
                    2) neither Twitter nor Dajjal are liable for the speech they host
                    3) one is liable for hosting speech but the other isn’t

                    Which do you choose?

                    Both 1 and 2 are consistent applications of the law, but 3 isn’t.

        2. “That’s what the First Amendment is all about–using the government to force you to suffer our free speech on your property.

          . . . well, that and to make sure your religious convictions don’t get in the way of the law.”

          —-Ken Shultz

          This was all in sarcasm font.

          There isn’t anything in the First Amendment that compels us to provide our property for the use of other people’s speech against our will. The First Amendment protects us from government interference with speech on our own property, on other people’s property with their permission, or on public property. Inflicting yourself on other people’s property without their consent is a crime with a hundred names–with trespassing, littering, and vandalism among them.

          Anybody who wants to put up a sign that says something stupid like, “I hate LGBT” on their own property should be free to be freaking stupid. Anybody that puts “I hate LGBT” on your front yard without your permission is guilty of trespassing and littering at the very least, neither of which is protected by the First Amendment in any way. The First Amendment doesn’t protect our right to violate other people’s property rights any more than the Second Amendment protects our right to indiscriminately shoot people.

    2. If they ask you to leave because of your race that’s definitely not legal.

    3. “No, you don’t have freedom of speech on private property.”

      Sure you do but not freedom of presence on private property. One’s speech need not stop at a property line.

  8. I think the cop wanted to fuck him.

  9. Wait; I thought offering prisoners educational opportunities was a good thing. Clearly this individual needed more education on the first amendment.

    Continuing question: HOW can you resist without violence?

    1. “Continuing question: HOW can you resist without violence?”

      The classic way is to go completely limp, so you must be carried out by two or more police. I suppose that refusing to stand up and walk out would qualify as well.

  10. Cop was definitely unprofessional and creepy, but I’m not seeing what I’m supposed to be outraged about.
    Kid was (allegedly) being an asshole, first to the owner then the cop, and refused to leave. For some reason he brings up his “right to free speech” and the cop responds with a line like Homer Simpson would come up with “I’ll show you what freedom of speech is”.
    What does that even mean?
    All I see is two dumb assholes being dumb assholes.
    Well, three dumb assholes, since Ben Crump got involved. Maybe 4, if we want to include Zuri…
    What I am not seeing is anything worthy of publishing an article about, or some threat to constitutional freedoms in this instance.

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  11. For some reason he brings up his “right to free speech”

    Not for some reason, for specifically this reason. If he’d just shouted “What’d I do?” over and over again like any other poor schmuck on COPS or any other ride-along show that nobody watches anymore, nobody would’ve given two shits. But because he uttered the magical words ‘free speech’ he somehow became a mostly-peaceful protester to the BLM retards who defend them even when they’re standing on and destroying private property and an otherwise unnoteworthy arrest became a constitutional crisis.

    Officer got exactly what he deserved. Fucksticks like Zuri don’t realize they’ve just further normalized the “suspend them with pay until the media circus blows rolls on to the next town” policy.

    1. “I’m not doing anything! I mean, I’m loudly and angrily harassing people just trying to have a meal, but hey, it’s free speech right?”

      1. ““I’m not doing anything! I mean, I’m loudly and angrily harassing people just trying to have a meal, but hey, it’s free speech right?”

        And the inappropriate response of violence, intimidation and threats of violence are special rights granted by the badge?

        “To Protect and Serve” should be changed to “Going Above and Beyond”

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  13. The video was obviously edited to show only the officer in a bad light.

    If the preceding seconds included Wygant and his friends threatening the officer and calling those threats free speech the whole narrative changes.

    Why do we see only the edited clip?

    1. “Why do we see only the edited clip?”

      To provide an opportunity for copsuckers to pipe up and reveal themselves to be the copsuckers they are and reap their rightful public disdain. Mission accomplished.

      1. Just found Kirkland’s sock.

    2. Why don’t we have bodycam footage? Seems to me that a lot of these kinds of things can be easily settled with bodycam video.

      That said, it’s unacceptable for the police to stop people from filming a public incident like this one.

      1. I agree.

        Once all cops have body cameras continually running, under what logical authority would they have to stop the rest of us from recording everything?

        THAT will be a monumental step forward for civilization.

  14. “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.” ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

  15. Reason.com or CNN? Hard to tell the difference. The media is garbage. It’s toxic.

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