Barbers in Florida, be ready to have police point guns at you
In most states there are licensing requirements for barbers. Well, in Florida, the police take advantage of those licensing requirements to check for drugs in barber shops. Sometimes, with guns drawn. I wish I was kidding. Would police take advantage of licensing of doctors or lawyers, to look for drugs in their officces?
Of course not, but they figure they can get away with it with barbers. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Orange County Sheriff's Office has raided barber shops in the following manner in 2010:
"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…
[Barbershop owner Brian] Berry said deputies entered his store and told his barbers to stop cutting and put their hands behind their backs. As barbers sat on the ground in handcuffs, he said, deputies removed his customers — including children — from the store, and began searching workstations and checking licenses without explanation.
Barbers and witnesses at several shops told the Orlando Sentinel that deputies shouted and cursed during the raids, demanding the location of illegal drugs, which they searched for extensively. They never found more than misdemeanor amounts of marijuana at eight of the nine shops they raided."
Of course the establishments raided were those that served mostly Latinos, or African-Americans. Sheriff's deputies aren't going to raid high end places that serve the elites of the Orlando area. That goes without saying. Someone who is a barber shouldn't have to be forced to have guns drawn on him, just in the service of his job. Those who support the war on drugs aren't the ones who usually suffer such loss of dignity.
In Texas police abuse inspections of liquor licenses to harass individuals in the bar, even if they are obviously not going to drive on the road. A woman was arrested in a Texas hotel bar (although she had a room at that hotel) for intoxication. If she was drunk enough where she couldn't get to her hotel room (which is debatable) than the cop should have escorted her to the hotel room she paid for, rather than the dingy jail he took her.
Abuses such as this is why I am glad there are organizations such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the American Civil Liberties Union, to bring sense to the madness that is our nation's war on our rights and civil liberties.