“A Florida man was ticketed $113 for the crime of stepping into a quiet, residential street from a sidewalk to avoid walking through a pile of debris.
It was an apparent case of profiling considering Joshua McKnight is a local police accountability activist who records police in public, shows up to city review panels and files complaints against officers for not wearing their name tags.
One of the two Fort Myers police officers who stopped him has arrested him before on a questionable charge that was later dismissed.
That cop, officer Vasquez, was training the other cop, officer Zarillo.
McKnight recorded the entire detainment, refusing to provide identification until a supervisor showed up. When the superior showed up, he sided with his officers and McKnight was cited anyway.
It all started on April 28 when McKnight was walking down the sidewalk when a Fort Myers patrol car with two officers pulled up behind him.
“What’s the problem?” McKnight asked.
“Uh, you were walking back there in the middle of the road where there’s a sidewalk,” said officer Zarillo.
“I didn’t walk in the middle of the road,” McKnight responded. “If you look on the sidewalk, there’s an obstacle with debris on the sidewalk.”
Officer Zarillo then asked McKnight for his identification.
“Because I’m asking you for your license.”
“I don’t have a reason to show you my ID.”
“This is a lawful stop,” said Zarillo.
“A lawful stop for what?”
“For walking in the road where there’s a sidewalk provided.”
“There’s debris on the sidewalk, and I walked around the debris. C’mon, I’ll show you,” said McKnight as he began to walk towards the debris.
“No, no. That’s great. I can see it from here,” said Zarillo.
“So what are you stopping me for then?” asked McKnight
“For walking on the street where there’s a sidewalk.”
Officer Zarillo continued to pester McKnight about this ID and McKnight continued to explain the reason he stepped into the street is because the sidewalk was obstructed by palm tree debris that he had to walk around.”
And this is not his first run in with the law or the officer involved
He has been arrested multiple times under questionable circumstances
” It’s doubtful any of the officers really did not know who McKnight was, since he’s been know to do things like call them out for not wearing name tags while on duty.
He’s also been arrested by Vasquez, the officer training Zarillo, on a previous occasion when he pulled up to his mom’s house and knocked on the door.
While he was knocking on the door of his mother’s home, officers drew guns on him and ordered him to get back in the car.
Then they arrested him for driving on a suspended license.
The state attorney refused to file charges after reading the evidence in a case where McKnight wasn’t even driving when they pulled up to him with their guns. He was only knocking on his mother’s door.
On another occasion, they came to his grand mother’s house and arrested him on charges of selling to an undercover officer and possession of drugs after they alleged he was selling drugs on February 2.
But they didn’t arrest him until June 19.
“But here’s the thing,” said McKnight. “I didn’t live in the city at the time, and I didn’t sell drugs. I was in Tampa at college, and I was working two jobs. They said they had video and photo evidence. But when it went to trial, they said it was a transcribed copy and paste verbiage that they forgot to remove. And that they never had video evidence; it was simply a mistake.”
“No drugs, no documents to show, no video evidence. Yet how did I serve 67 days in jail before I was exonerated because there was no evidence? They said they had video evidence, then they lost it, then they never had it in the first place.”
McKnight later filed a pro se civil rights complaint on that case, but the state argued his claim past the statute of limitations requirements.”
Please call and let the Ft. Meyers police know what you think about this
Interim Chief Dennis Eads (239) 321-7771.
Oh, and by the way, he is the interim chief because the police chief was fired in 2015 for lying about an NFL player whom he said exposed himself to a child.
Pass this around and see how many calls we can generate to Ft. Meyers finest
Here is the original and video : https://photographyisnotacrime.com/2016/05/florida-man-ticketed-for-walking-around-debris-on-sidewalk/