An army of Florida police officers was nearly impaled and used to decorate the lawn of a Delray Beach residence last weekend, when a mob of angry neighbors stepped up and formed a human shield to prevent cops from arresting an individual accused of smoking marijuana.
The rowdy scene took place last Saturday night when officers in an unmarked patrol car pulled up to a house and began harassing nearly 30 people attending a birthday party. According to a report from The Sun Sentinel, officers got out of the car and began to shake down people standing outside because they claimed someone they had witnessed smoking a joint minutes earlier had run inside the house.
Residents told police that no one at the party was smoking pot, and would not give officers permission to come inside the home. Yet the cops refused to vacate the premises and radioed for backup. “There was a lot of shouting back and forth,” Cory Provost, who posted a video of the incident on YouTube, told the Sentinel. “The residents were asking the cops to leave the yard and they didn’t do so.”
At one point, nearly 20 residents banded together to form a human shield in order to keep police from gaining control and arresting their friend – an alleged “drug user” that officers claim to have encountered in the past. In the video, a resident can be heard telling police to, “Please, leave the yard,” a command that is given with a few more expletives as the incident becomes more intense.
Delray Beach Police Sergeant Nicole Guerriero told the press earlier this week that the video is not an accurate record of the incident because it only reveals a small part of the events that transpired. “Someone hit [an] officer and pushed him away, they were throwing bottles, they were cursing and screaming at them,” she said. “The next thing they know, there’s 70 to 75 people out there. The officers had to use pepper spray to get people back.”
In the end several people were arrested and charged with obstruction and assault on a police officer, but no one went down for possession of marijuana. Recent controversy surrounding the murders of Eric Garner in New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO are rumored to be at the root of the residents’ frustration and hostility towards Delray Beach police. Yet the fact that none of these people were found in possession of marijuana indicates their animosity towards police may have simply been driven by innocence and the desire to stop being bullied by the boys in blue.
Arguably, while the individuals taken into custody may be guilty of “obstructing” police officers from doing their jobs, let’s not forget the entire situation took place because the cops may or may not have witnessed someone smoking weed–a plant that nearly 60 percent of Florida voters were in favor of legalizing during the November 2014 general election.