Late this morning, I was tooling along Killian Drive in our farm truck, enjoying the pretty scenery and gorgeous weather, accompanied by BHF intern Liberty. We were headed to Fairchild Tropical Garden to pick up the leftovers from our wildly successful Edible Garden Day weekend.
Along came Pinecrest Police officer Blineau, who took one look at the truck and pulled us over. Officer B proceeded to inform me that I was committing an arrestable misdemeanor offense, by
‘not displaying the required commercial markings in violation of Miami Dade County Ordinance which requires that all commercial vehicles have identification signs on both sides of the vehicle with the name, address, telephone number and occupational license of the owner in letters and numbers larger than 3″ in height’.
Very confused, since we are not a business (like a handyman or plumber) with an occupational license, I explained that we are a farm, and told him where we were headed and what we were doing. He said we were on the road, transporting product, and therefore in violation.
He then took my ID and registration, requested I show him the back of the truck (empty except for a pallet jack), and asked me things like my social security number, how much I weighed, and whether my teeth were ‘normal’ (I kid you not!). Thinking he was writing me a ticket, I asked him what that had to do with anything. He informed me that he was filling out the arrest form, and I would be arrested on the spot, written up, and released, provided I promised to appear in court.
Liberty and I waited in the truck for over an hour, while he filled out the paperwork and, I guess, looked up my (non-existent) extensive criminal and traffic records. Then he waited for the sergeant to arrive to sign the paperwork. Finally, he asked me to get out of the truck, fingerprinted me (after reminding me yet again that this was an arrestable offense) and asked me to sign (wait, no! actually, he told me I had no choice but to sign, or he would cart me off to jail). Then he gave me my copy of the “Complaint/Arrest Affidavit”, and advised me to get the signs put on the truck before I received the summons for the court date, since that “might help me out”. I told Officer B he would have been of more help had he simply informed me and issued me a warning, whereupon he repeated (for about the fifth time), that he could bring me in to jail, but instead he was just arresting me right there and releasing me on the spot. I thanked him for destroying my day. He thought nothing of it – after all, arresting citizens is a routine part of his job.
Congratulations, Pinecrest PD! Officer B should be rewarded for keeping the Village safe from dangerous criminals like myself! Gee, I might be running an illegal nanny delivery service to those upscale Pinecrest homes – or maybe I’m carrying contraband construction materials to the very same homes. No, wait! maybe…those organic heirloom tomato starts are really drug plants in disguise…