Florida Police Warn Woman Not To Wear Halloween Costumes In Protest
HOLLYWOOD – A woman in South Florida said a local police officer warned her not to wear a Halloween costume designed as a condo building project that she and others oppose because it would considered as an event for which it needs a permit.
Cat Uden told the South Florida Sunshine Sentinel that the officer told her that if she wore the costume to the Hollywood City Hollyweird Halloween block party on Saturday night, it would be considered a planned protest march.
Uden said she still plans to wear the costume but will not be bringing her 12-year-old son.
“I don’t want him to see me being harassed by the police,” Uden said.
Uden has been one of the main critics of a developer’s plan to build a 30-story condo on oceanfront land owned by taxpayers. The land currently houses a park with a community center. A vote on the issue by city commissioners is expected later this year.
On Facebook, Uden urged other development opponents to wear a costume like his, designed like a condominium, or bring signs that say “No Condo” to the Halloween block party. Days after posting the message, Uden said he received the call from the local police lieutenant.
“I told her it was a costume party,” she said. “I don’t see this as a demonstration and that’s why I didn’t apply for a permit.
Police spokeswoman Deanna Bettineschi said Uden needed a permit to organize a “planned protest march”. If she attends the event and leads an organized protest, Uden will receive a warning and ask her to leave. After a warning, the sanction could include an arrest with a fine of up to $ 500 or 60 days in jail, Bettineschi said.
Bob Jarvis, professor of constitutional law at Nova Southeastern University, told the Sentinel of the Sun that Uden had the right to wear the costume since it was protected by the First Amendment.
“The police are on very volatile ground,” Jarvis said. “There is no reason to believe that she is inciting anyone or that she will start a riot.”