A veteran South Florida police officer and former Marine arrested late last month for refusing to remove his Guy Fawkes mask near an anti-Obamacare demonstration has now come forward to say what motivated him.
Ericson Harrell, 39, a 15-year veteran of the North Miami Beach Police Department who spent four years in the Marines, was driving through Plantation when he came upon the rally, according to the Sun Sentinel. He parked his vehicle, donned his cape and mask and grabbed his banner — an inverted U.S. flag, signifying distress. .
When police later stopped him and told him to remove the mask, Harrell said he politely refused, asserting his First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful assembly.
The arresting officer and her supervisor assumed Harrell was part of demonstration, but “in actual reality,” he told Red Pill Philosophy. “I was alone at the time. I was a soldier of one.”
Harrell said he only identified himself as a police officer “after the fact, because I didn’t want to get any preferential treatment.”
The simple response would have been to remove the mask. Had Harrell done so, the officer would have moved on and that would have been the end of it.
But Harrell isn’t a simple man.
His Facebook page describes him as a “Front Line Oath Keeper 1992 to present.” Oath Keepers are current and former U.S. military and law enforcement personnel who advocate disobeying orders that violate the U.S. Constitution.
Florida Statutes 876.155, under which Harrell was arrested. had been revised since it was originally drafted, he said. It was signed into law “sometime in the 1950s because of the Ku Klux Klan trying to intimidate a certain group of people — a certain race of people,” Harrell said.
Here is the statute.
In short, he’s not a criminal and is not looking to overthrow the government of the United States. Quite the opposite, he’s just living up to the oath he took as a Marine and as a police officer, to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
His oath isn’t just a collection of empty words — his service appears to be exemplary. The Sentinel reported:
According to the North Miami Beach city website, Harrell was named Officer of the Month in August 2007 for stopping a burglary to a business, which began after he noticed a turned over trash can on the corner of a strip store. He investigated further and found a broken front window of a nearby business and found his suspect hiding in a trash bin.
He was praised at the time for his “keen sense of observation and immediate actions.”
Harrell told Red Pill he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“There’s a greater issue,” he said. “I have a daughter — I have children. I don’t have the luxury of not being involved.”
Of his oath, he said, “We are the front-line defenders to the Constitution. Our job is greater than just arresting people for petty crimes.”
“There is a war coming, and we’re in the midst of it,” Harrell added. “I no longer can be afraid.”
Until the charges against him are resolved, Harrell has been placed on administrative leave, the Sentinel reported.