NEW RACIAL PROFILING REVEALED
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Civil Rights Association has asked US Attorney General
Eric Holder to direct the US Department of Justice to launch an immediate federal civil rights
investigation against the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and
the Orange County, Florida Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) for targeting African American and Hispanic owned
barbershops in a series of warrantless drug raids conducted under the pretext (police ruse) of
administrative licensing inspections.
The tactics used by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
(DBPR) and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) has casted a dark cloud over how
administrative licensing inspections are being used illegally to conduct criminal investigations
without obtaining a warrant. “This cannot be ignored,” said Florida Civil Rights Association
President, J Willie David, III.
The four paged complaint alleges that a DBPR regulatory supervisor and three DBPR
regulatory investigators, along with an OCSO sergeant, corporal, 4 narcotics agents, 2 plainclothes
deputies, a K-9 and 6 uniformed deputies violated the United States Constitution and federal law on
or about August 21, 2010, September 17, 2010, and October 8, 2010 by (1) racially profiling
barbers, their businesses and customers, because they were African Americans and Hispanics; (2)
entered the businesses under a pretext (police ruse) of administrative inspections; (3) conducted
intrusive, unjustifiable and extended searches unrelated to unlicensed activities; (4) searched
barbers and customers pockets, removed drivers licenses and other items, conducted background
checks; (5) handcuffed, detained, searched and arrested barbers and their customers; (6) carried
guns, rushing through the barbershops, using a battering ram to break down doors to search for
criminal activity of drugs; (7) unplugged business surveillance cameras during the warrantless raid;
(8) used a K-9 to search outside and inside barbers and customers vehicles; (9) towed barbers and
customer vehicles; (10) narcotics agents or plainclothes deputies kept the barbers under surveillance
by posing as customers on different days before the warrantless raid; (11) deputies answered the
business phones, telling customers that the barbers were busy and being arrested; (12) they used
insulting remarks to humiliate the barbers; and (13) uniformed deputies returned a week later to
conduct a “follow-up” walk through of the barbershops searching in back rooms just to intimidate
and cause fear.
The complaint also alleged that DBPR investigators and OCSO deputies demonstrated a
racially discriminatory pattern or practice in its inspections, detentions, searches, seizures, and
arrests involving African Americans and Hispanics barbers, barbershops businesses and
customers in Orange County, Florida.
The Florida Civil Rights Association is also requesting the Justice Department to
withhold federal funds given to the OCSO and the DBPR until these discriminatory practices are
and addressed and corrected, stated David.
The Florida Civil Rights Association intends to pursue justice to the fullest extent for the
barbers, including demanding DBPR adopt new policies prohibiting the use of licensing inspections
with other government entities as a pretext for conducting warrantless inspections or collecting
criminal evidence, David said.
The Florida Civil Rights Association has provided Governor Charlie Crist and Governor-
Elect Rick Scott with copies of the federal complaint filed with US Attorney General Holder. David
stated, It is time to close this illegal loophole used by law enforcement to get around obtaining a
DBPR and OCSO warrantless raids on minority owned barbershops have certainly outraged
the African American and Hispanic communities. The Florida Civil Rights Association will also
look for ways to help rebuild trust between the community and law enforcement where divorce
between the two is not an option, David said.