Fed Up: Florida Crowd Forms Human Shield to Protect Man Police Try to Arrest for Smoking Marijuana


By Zaid Jilani
Alternet

 In addition to the mass protests nationwide against police brutality, incidents where ordinary citizens speak up, start recording and attempt to intervene when they see excessive and abusive cop behavior are being reported more frequently.

Earlier this month in New York City, a woman angrily denounced police who were beating an already restrained teenage boy as others made sure to film the incident to hold the plainclothes officer accountable. It is possible that the assembled and outraged crowd prevented further abuse, and with the help of the cellphone video, the cop faced at least some discipline from the department.

This past weekend in Delray Beach, Florida, dozens of people quickly organized to stop what they believed to be a petty and unnecessary arrest.

That night, Delray Police entered a neighborhood after seeing a man walking down the street smoking. The officers thought the smoke smelled like marijuana, so they decided to pursue the man. When the man entered a home nearby, the police followed and tried to apprehend him. They were surprised when about 20 people came out of the home and surrounded the man to prevent the arrest from taking place.

“They formed this shield and started to get aggressive,” one of the officers said.

“The next thing they know, there’s 70 to 75 people out there,” another officer who was on the scene reportedly said. “The officers had to use pepper spray to get the people back.”

The crowd grew rowdy, and at some point an object was hurled at the windshield of a police cruiser. By the end of the night police had detained four people, on charges including inciting a riot.

The incident could foretell greater citizen intervention against what they perceive to be abusive and unnecessary policing and shows the urgency of reining in the over-criminalization of American life.

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After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.

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