Orlando, FL — In the land of the free, attempting to earn money in certain professions without first paying the state for the privilege of doing so can and will get you kidnapped and extorted. These laws are applied to children behind lemonade stands as well as adults selling tacos. The state callously and with extreme prejudice has been documented arresting people, or even beating up women to enforce these licensing laws. But the story below isn’t one of these. It’s about a good cop who used his discretion and made a positive difference in this world when he responded to a call about a woman selling flowers.
Last week, Orlando police received a complaint about a woman who was daring to sell flowers without a permit. Given that it was Valentine’s day, the woman seized on the opportunity to make some much needed money. But the “see something, say something” society turned her in for unlawful street vending.
As we’ve reported on instances similar to this one on countless occasions, when Orlando police officer James Wilson showed up, we could have predicted the outcome. Normally, the woman selling flowers would have been shut down, arrested, her flowers confiscated, and her money seized. She may have even been thrown in jail or beaten for failing to obtain the proper permit.
But officer Wilson proved this stereotype completely wrong.
TFTP has reported on instances of officers helping people out before and while many of them looked like they could’ve been staged, this one clearly was not. The video was taken by a bystander, who, like us, thought the officer was about to arrest or fine the woman for selling flowers. He did not.
Instead of writing her up for selling without a permit, Wilson decided to carryout a different exchange and bought all of the woman’s flowers so that she could go home.
In the video, we can see the officer taking out money and giving it to the woman. He then tells her that the only catch to him buying all her flowers, is that she would need to help him carry them to his patrol car as it was several buckets full of flowers.
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The officer choosing to exercise his discretion and not arrest or fine this woman for selling flowers speaks volumes. No one should ever be extorted or kidnapped for trying to earn an honest living selling products to willing customers. But it happens every single day across the land of the free.
What’s more, this cop went above and beyond discretion by choosing to help the woman out and buy all of her flowers. For this, officer Wilson deserves commendation. Thank you, officer Wilson, the world needs more cops like you.
Officer Wilson’s actions are especially encouraging, given that another officer — across the country in California — also went viral for his interaction with a woman selling flowers. But not in a good way.
Joaquina Valencia, was selling flowers outside of a high school graduation ceremony in Perris, Calif. in 2017 when a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department deputy showed up. Unlike Wilson, this deputy did fit into the predictable stereotype.
The taxpayers were held liable via a lawsuit for the officer’s actions back in 2018 after Valencia was “unjustifiably beaten, shoved to the ground and arrested” for selling flowers without a permit.
The video of the incident is appalling as the cop kneels down on the woman and shoves his gloved hand over her mouth as the woman becomes so terrified she urinates on herself.
The department would go on to justify the arrest. Luckily, however, all charges were eventually dropped against Valencia.
Please share this story with your friends and family to show them a tale of two cops responding to unlicensed flower vendors and ask them which one they want policing their neighborhood?