Criminal barbering? Huh? WTF?

With all crime solved and apparently nothing else to do, the Orange County (FL) Sheriffs Office and agents from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation conducted a series of raids which resulted in 37 arrests for, um, “unlicensed barbering.” Without warrants, the armed deputies barged into barber shops, handcuffed these dangerous criminals and searched the premises for illegal drugs. The raids, conducted in August and September, targeted mostly black and Hispanic-owned shops in the Pine Hills area. (story here)

As many as 14 armed Orange County deputies, including narcotics agents, stormed Strictly Skillz barbershop during business hours on a Saturday in August, handcuffing barbers in front of customers during a busy back-to-school weekend.

It was just one of a series of unprecedented raid-style inspections the Orange County Sheriff’s Office recently conducted with a state regulating agency, targeting several predominantly black- and Hispanic-owned barbershops in the Pine Hills area.

In “sweeps” on Aug. 21 and Sept. 17 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.

The operations were conducted without warrants, under the authority of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspectors, who can enter salons at will. Deputies said they found evidence of illegal activity, including guns, drugs and gambling. However, records show that during the two sweeps, and a smaller one in October, just three people were charged with anything other than a licensing violation.

Jeez, I’m glad these guys are on the job protecting us from unlicensed barbers. I mean they have scissors, clippers. maybe some razors and stuff – all dangerous weapons. Ugh…

If you didn’t know cutting hair without a license was a crime, you’re not alone. An arrest for barbering without a license is not just unusual — in the state of Florida, it’s nearly unheard of.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement records turned up only 38 jail bookings on the misdemeanor charge across the entire state in the past 10 years — and all but three of those arrests occurred during Orange County operations during the past few months.

Most of the barbers charged with licensing violations as a result of the sheriff’s operation pleaded no contest and were ordered to pay fines of about $500 — which is about equal to the ones inspectors issue when a barber or stylist has an expired license.

A licensing inspector determined that Strictly Skillz was in compliance and everyone working had a valid license displayed in plain view — but not before barbers said they spent an hour sitting in handcuffs.

Abrams, who works at Barber Kings in Pine Hills, said he knew his license wasn’t current when inspectors entered, and he expected a slap on the wrist and a fine.

When he and the eight others arrested at Barber Kings that day got to jail, “everybody laughed at us,” Abrams said. “Even the judge was like, ‘Are you serious?’ ”

Abrams said inspectors could have just fined him, rather than parading him in handcuffs in front of his community. “It was just uncalled for,” Abrams said.

I generally support law enforcement but this crap is over the top. The “geniuses” who sanctioned this should be reprimanded or fired. This type of policing only generates distrust and animosity in the community. Dopes!

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One Response to “Criminal barbering? Huh? WTF?”

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