Offensive song prompts police reaction

January 2015

All areas


A Harvard graduate is fighting back against a Florida police officer who allegedly gave him three tickets for playing the N.W.A song “Fuck the Police” in his earshot. Cesar Baldelomar, 26, a Crimson alum and law student at Florida International University is not only disputing the ticket, he’s also consulted a lawyer and is asking the police department in Hialeah, Florida, near Miami, to investigate Harold Garzon, the officer in question. The incident occurred over Thanksgiving weekend, when Baldelomar was driving to his mother’s home in Hialeah. He says was stopped at a red light, listening to music, not far from where Garzon was filling out paperwork related to a separate traffic accident, when suddenly, the N.W.A song came on the radio. When Garzon,, heard the chorus —”F*ck the police!”— he allegedly wasn’t pleased and told Baldelomar to pull over. The Miami New Times reported that Garzon has 16 other internal affairs claims against him, though it’s not clear how many were legitimate.In this case it seems the officer claimed it was illegal to play music loudly within 25 feet of another citizen, but Baldelomar disputed this. Local press confirmed that  in 2012, the state Supreme Court in Florida ruled loud music laws were unconstitutional because they unreasonably restrict freedom of expression and Baldelomar told Garzon he was wrong prompting the officer to call for backup and when two other officers arrived Garzon then demanded proof of insurance which Baldelomar offered via his smartphone but this was rejected by the police who allegedly said the law requires a paper record. In 2013 Florida passed a law accepting electronic proof of insurance coverage, one of 25 states to do so. In the end Baldelomar says he received three tickets: one for lacking proof of insurance, another for driving with out-of-state plates (he is a resident of Massachusetts) and yet another for not wearing a seatbelt (he says he was in fact wearing it). “It’s not about the seriousness of the charge,” Baldelomar says. “It’s the principle.”

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