Miami Beach, Florida – A North Miami Beach Police officer is facing disciplinary action from his police department for his involvement in “Anonymous” and his refusal to take off a mask at a recent protest that he organized and participated in.
According to officials at the North Miami Beach Police Department, Officer Ericson Harrell violated department policies when he was arrested in Plantation during a one man protest against Obamacare.
Commanders at the police department said that his actions were “unbecoming of an officer”and that he will be suspended without pay. However, since Harrell was suspended with pay immediately after his arrest, his pay will be docked 20 hours, according to police department spokeswoman Major Kathy Katerman.
Katerman also said that Harrell is an “above average officer” and that the department was “disappointed in this, absolutely. Any policy violation we take very seriously. We expect he’ll improve his behavior or face more discipline.”
Harrell was off duty at the time of his arrest on November 22, 2013 and has been dealing with harassment from the police department ever since. The results of his lengthy internal investigation were finally announced this week.
At the one man protest, he was wearing a black cape and a Guy Fawkes mask that is oftentimes worn by supporters of Anonymous. The officer was also reportedly holding a flagpole with an inverted U.S. flag. When he was approached by officers and told to take off his mask he refused, and was eventually arrested for obstructing traffic and violating a local ordinance against wearing masks in public. According to local defense attorneys, the law against masks and hoods was created in 1951 as a response to the Ku Klux Klan.
Although the charges against Harrell were soon dropped, he faces constant scrutiny at work because the police department now knows his political beliefs.
After his arrest in Plantation, investigators confiscated his police issued laptop and reprimanded him for spending time on “conspiracy theory-related websites” and other non-work material during work hours. However, it is likely that the sites in question were on personal time, and it is interesting that the department specifically mentioned “conspiracy theory-related websites” in their report.
At the outcome of an internal police department investigation, the North Miami police also specifically reprimanded him for “being part of an organization that could interfere with the agency.”
In addition to the official discipline received from the department, Harrell may lose access to government computer databases, which he uses for work. According to The Sun Sentinel, Harrell was warned that associating with Anonymous could put his computer access at risk and that he could lose his police certification.
Below is an interview with Harrell, when he first became an outspoken police officer.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.