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Plot thickens as lawyer says detention of Food Not Bombs activists may be illegal

June 16, 2011

In arresting activists for unpermitted food sharings at Lake Eola Park, Mayor Buddy Dyer, the Orlando Police Department, and city’s Parks Department may be in contempt of a court order, said Shayan Elahi, the new lawyer for the group Food Not Bombs, at a press conference this afternoon.

Elahi contends that a Ninth Judicial Circuit court order, No. 2003-39-17, states that those charged with a second degree misdemeanor, such as violation of the Large Group Feeding ordinance, shall be “released at the scene of the arrest through the issuance of a Notice to Appear.” Instead, Orlando police have cuffed activists and put them in police vans to be carted off to the Orange County Jail; Food Not Bombs members have now cumulatively spent thousands of dollars to bail themselves out.

Elahi says that the notice was hand-delivered to the mayor today, and if arrests proceed in a similar fashion on Monday, he will have a motion filed to have Dyer held in contempt of court. Elahi also took issue with the revised trespassing warrants handed out yesterday which no longer permit trespassed individuals to enter the park on the basis of exercising First Amendment protected speech, which is explained further in our blog detailing the arrests yesterday.

Below is the document Elahi handed out to reporters at his office this afternoon. The first two pages are the press release, the third is the revised trespassing warrant dated 6/15, the fourth is the original trespassing warrant dated 6/1, and pages 5-6 are excerpted from the administrative order.

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