A Florida man pulled over for “improper hand-gestures” may think twice before flicking off a cop again– but the question rises: Do police need an armored personnel carrier in the middle of Florida?
“I’m really getting pulled over by a tank right now,” a disbelieving 23-year-old Lucas Jewell told Alachua County deputies after they stopped his vehicle Saturday, the Gainesville Sun reported Monday.
Police made the stop after a University of Florida exhibition spring football game, while Jewell recorded the entire encounter on video.
His first words to officers was, “You know the Supreme Court actually ruled that you’re legally allowed to flick off police officers?”
Jewell was right, under a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that said a motorist can’t be pulled over just for giving the cop a finger. But it’s still not a good way to start.
A deputy, dressed in combat fatigues, told Jewell he was being pulled over for an “improper hand signal,” and because it appeared that a woman in the vehicle was performing a sex act on him.
Jewell said the woman was sleeping with her head on his lap. “Oh my God, that’s so ridiculous.”
Using direct and blunt language, Jewell told officers, “Do you see my pants? I don’t even have a boner. I’m literally flaccid right now.”
“I was surprised, because I thought this was a safe community, that we needed tanks to drive down our streets,” said Jewell, who also said he was a Navy veteran and a candidate for Gainesville City Commission last month.
When the deputy asked Jewell to spit out his sunflower seeds, Jewell responded, “I’m sorry sir. I mean no disrespect.”
Another deputy interjected, “How am I a ‘sir’ now? You were just flicking us off!”
“I don’t think a tank should be driving down my neighborhood streets,” Jewell said.
“You were in the Navy. You think that’s a tank?” the deputy shot back. “It’s called an armored personnel carrier.”
According to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, the APC was assigned to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for the Orange & Blue Debut football game as part of a longstanding security plan with the University of Florida.
Deputies filed a report for “informational purposes” while Jewell was given a warning.
Jewell told The Sun he plans to file a complaint.
“Is this really the ethics of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office? Is this how it conducts business?” Jewell said. “Have they really resorted to these bullying tactics?
“I thought they were above all this, but maybe I’m wrong.”
Maybe he’s not.