This one is from the “great moments in law enforcement” file …
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Orange County police have been cracking down on major crime.
SWAT teams – in full riot gear – have been raiding local barbershops.
What’s the criminal activity that the police are trying to tamp down?
You got it … “unlicensed barbering”.
According to the Sentinel, deputies would descend on barbershops, tell barbers to stop cutting and put their hands behind their backs.
As barbers sat on the ground in handcuffs, deputies would remove the customers — including children — and began searching workstations and checking for current licenses.
In the crack down, 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.”
Pretty scary, right?
But, the barbers may have gotten the last laugh …
They filed a lawsuit claiming that their 4th amendment rights had been violated.
This week, a US appeals court ruled that a SWAT raid on a Florida barbershop was out of line.
The justices said the deputies went too far in using a SWAT-like approach just to check whether barbers were licensed, especially since inspectors from Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) had inspected the shop only two days prior to the raid and found everything in order.
Describing the raid as a “scene right out of a Hollywood movie,” the panel of judges wrote: “The search was executed with a tremendous and disproportionate show of force, and no evidence exists that such force was justified.”
The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reported that “no illegal or unlicensed activity was found”.
My question: What happened to the customers who got ejected from the barbershop in the middle of their haircuts?
That had to be a very disappointing experience.