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On October 19th, The Orlando Metro Bureau of Investigation jack-booted marched into the Orlando Marriott Hotel and arrested 3 Orlando Weekly employees. During a very public Job Fair that the Orlando Weekly was attending as a vendor HOSTING. (See the comment below for the correction). Was that Necessary? Early rumblings in the downtown grapevine had given away the MBI’s ploy.
The paper [Editor: Orlando Weekly] itself was put on notice that it’s being investigated for racketeering for running the ads. The same police department is also hinting that it may next go after Craigslist.
Drone Operator adds:
This is similar to arresting advertising sales reps from Rolling Stone because one of their liquor advertisors ‘made it clear’ at some point and in a nebulous fashion that they are hoping some kid will see their ad and want some Bacardi.
In other words, what’s illegal the THOUGHT or the ACT.
The Orlando Sentinel chimes in with:
Attorney Steve Mason, who represents the Orlando Weekly and Orlando-area adult entertainment businesses, said he tried contacting the MBI today about the arrests but has not heard back from law-enforcement officials at the agency.
“I wanted to let them know that if there were any other outstanding warrants for Orlando Weekly personnel, please let me know,” Mason said in a phone interview. “I would streamline the process and I would make every effort to have those people surrender themselves.”
It doesn’t stop there. The office itself was served notice on racketeering charges for just running the ads. They are trying to make them out to be designers of a coded language aimed at fooling law enforcement. An investigation goes on for two years. and a clearly marked ‘Adult Services’ and ‘Certified Massage’. One is for strippers (which are legal, within limits of the law) and the other for Therapists. Massage Therapists.
Now let me tell you a little bit about Massage therapy. I get massages, and have been for years. I’ve got all type (swedish, hot stones, where they stand on you, et al) and I have never been offered any thing remotely sexual, or have I requested sex in any way. And, I’ve never been sexually aroused during any massage that I’ve paid a trained,Â licensed, insured and bonded professional THERAPISTS. It’s called body work, and is very healthy for posture, limberness, blood flow, balance and a multitude of other health benefits. Google, for more.
In other words, I consider them medical professionals. Not seedy, body rubbers.
Prostitution does happen, but I wouldn’t know
When you draw the line, Do it in pencil please
As a technologist, I tend to think of these types of free speech quandaries in terms of other free speech issues on the internet. Specifically the DMCA. Which releases internet sites from user contributed content. Sure they have to remove it when asked to, something that may be hinging on the YouTube lawsuits and related litigation campaigns
while the old guard tries to figure out the interwebz and their dying business models with only crap products to sell and re-sell. But I digress.
What I Want To Know Is…
Are printing words illegal? Does getting paid for the words you print, make it illegal? I’m not getting paid for this blog, so does that mean that it’s legal? Even if I share illegal information on it? (Like say stories about demonoid.com - an illegal Bit Torrent tracker).Â But even if the people placing the ads are in fact - dyed in the wool whores… hookers, escorts, hoes or harlots of the Jezebel variety - illegal to hire, illegal to be one, illegal to manage (fire your pimps, ladies). If these are criminals hiring a Service, is the Business to be held responsible, and what does that mean for the Weekly?
Can’t Handle The Truth
Its 2+2 for me. This is obvious retaliation. No brainer. Crashing the job fair is UNFAIR to the people just trying to get a job. Ever think of that, Mr. Lutz. They were legitimate, tax paying professionals. Mothers needing a job before the 2nd Eviction notice comes in. A young student coming out of one of our many colleges, looking for their break into the working world. You’re ’sting’ has impacted the economic development and entrepreneurial spirt this town is getting known for. Short-sighted, don’t you think? Especially since this fiasco should cost you your job. Maybe you can go to the next Orlando Weekly Job Fair as a job seeker?
They aren’t not all Chief Wiggum’s
Police get a bad rap when the public perceives thatÂ a certain organization is a waste of money. This happens because because said organization is incompetent, bloated, and inefficient to get any thing useful done. So in an attempt to appear relevant they set something up like this. Using tricks to blatantly entrap people into doing something illegal. Citizens, need to be aware of these tricks and their rights, so you can counter them, and disarm the traps (socially, not physically - calm down there feather trigger).
If they can bust somebody or a group of some-bodies and get good press - then they appear relevant in the media, and hence shape public perception. And hence get their budget each year - and their budget increased, if they make high profile arrests. And I’m not even going to bring in the question of legislating and enforcing MORALITY into this issue. I’m just going to let their incompetent policing be their scarlet letter.
This is where the Flashback music would play…
Going back to the article that started the revenge in motion.
This is just fucking bad theater, if you ask me. Its a show, set up to keep the public distracted so we won’t notice that parts of our city are falling apart - and the cops are doing nothing (effective) about it. Hell The corner of Delaney and Michigan smells like piss, for gods sake! Seriously. Drive there with your windows down and prepare to throw up in your mouth. I did it two days ago.
This is not police work. Neither is this. This is police recreation. Shit, those ‘undercover cops’ loved setting up this sting. They were getting free pussy and free drugs. There job was to party. Stuff Tax Payer money into G-stings all in a gambit to make them feel comfortable with them (and make them think they aren’t the Vice Squad). This is what the MBI is proud of. This is the kind of job they do for you Orlando.
I know that this is how undercover cops have to operate, but this is different. This was more “Rush” than “Training Day” And know you know Orlando MBI (Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation or Makes Bad Incriminations?!) isn’t clever enough to pull off a Reservoir Dogs. But I digress.
Its the Pee Wee Herman bust all over again, in a way. Crime and Murder is thru the roof - in Central Florida and Orlando. Metro West, which used to be this exclusive, upscale golf community (or least we thought) is now West Crime Hills. With armed robberies every day it seems. Plenty of Real Vice going on down there, Sonny.Â Just ask “Detective Barb” Bergin and the Crimeline Team (1-800-423-TIPS).
If you didn’t catch the true Hollywood story edition, Pee-Wee was arrested by a group of cops that, during an all time high murder rate (for the state and for the western coast town he was arrested in). They would basically walk in to an adult theater, in the middle of a feature playhing - in the dark - and while the patrons were enjoying the pornography and arresting those of them that were masturbating. Resources were diverted from solving homicide cases to stumble upon adults masturbating. The correlation to the Orlando Weekly story is uncanny.
Now, don’t get me wrong - there are plenty of every day hero’s in law enforcement, doing their job - protecting their communities, helping real people. The MBI’s actions are not that, what so ever. In fact, other officers should shame these people. They don’t deserve our respect. Stories like this are too emotionally charged and get spun too easily - but the bottom line remains - Real police work should be rewarded - hack jobs like this should be made illegal, and the cops involved should be ridiculed. In fact they should be fired, or retrained. You can’t run an organization for publicity, and surely can’t do it in such a way that fosters the crimes first, to bust them later. That’s just lazy police work. And they know it.
Here’s the official word from the Orlando Weekly:
Orlando Weekly believes these arrests are an outrageous abuse of process and an attempt to censor the First Amendment rights of a newspaper that has reported critically on the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation.
I agree. But you have to temper that with the fact that because of the grudge, and the ugly way the MBI handled their arrests, we are still in the reverberations of the initial splash of the story. Thanks to the MBI, we’re all worked up - and for good reason. An incompetent baboon got his face time on the local news.
Scott adds a very reasonable conclusion to this little pantomime in the media:
There’s still more info to unfold in this case. And maybe it’s going to come out that these three staffers were actually Central Florida’s prostitution kingpins and that the Weekly offices were basically Pimp Central. But until that happens, it’s worth keeping a close eye on what happens in this case … after the first splash of headlines fade.
Let’s see what happens. For now, I’m going to watch some real cops in action.