Man “Blackhawked” down

Ah Florida, sweet Florida. A state Michael Scott of the Office once called a “heavily armed swamp;” it’s historically offered no shortage of fodder for aspiring and rather mediocre comedians like me. Where previously I’ve focused on the sadness that is the state’s politics and its criminals, who are depicted on the Florida Man Twitter account, today I figured I’d take you on a grim and grisly tour of the swamps crazy police departments, specifically Manatee County.

On Tuesday last week, 18-year-old Shaquielle Olmeda stole a pack of cigarettes — yes, just cigarettes — from a man on the street. I emphasize the product here, because the response to this egregious theft was so wildly insane and over the top that it made what’s left of my hair fall out.

Instead of searching for Mr. Olmeda with a couple of patrol cars and maybe a foot officer or two, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office used helicopters, K9 units and several patrol units in the search for this criminal. Yes. That actually happened. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true.

For a $4.00 pack of cigarettes, a police department in Florida used helicopters, K9 units, and other patrol officers to set up a perimeter and hunt down an 18-year-old kid. That’s sad.

But what’s worse is the long and turbulent history of police corruption in the state. Yes, Florida criminals have their own joke Twitter account, but so should the state’s police departments if prior history of ridiculous and disturbing conduct is anything to go on for this writer.

In Hampton, Florida, the corruption ran so deep that the entire police department was recently fired. Yeah, you read that right. In a city of nearly 477 people, the entire police department, whose job is solely supposed to be protecting and serving the population, was dismissed.

In the 1980s, things were even more insane. And yes, I know you don’t think they could be, but oh, Evan lives to surprise the three or four rubes who read his column, yes he does. Let me tell you about the city of Key West, mostly famous for its previous resident, Earnest Hemingway.

In 1984, the FBI indicted the entire city police department under the RICO Act. Yeah, things have been historically so bad in Florida that the federal government has had to use a law designed to target the mafia in order to stem the immense tide of corruption in the state.

So, in summation I’ll say this, the Sunshine State is nuts. Maybe it’s the heat affecting the brains of the people that live there or maybe the Cubans are putting a lot of rum in the water, I don’t know. Just don’t go to Florida you guys; if the criminals don’t get you in some way, odds are the cops who are supposed to keep you safe will.