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Family Found Out “Lounging” In The Park Is A Crime Too.

Family Found Out “Lounging” In The Park Is A Crime Too.
Robert Gehl

If you ever travel to Fort Walton Beach, Florida, don’t spend the afternoon lounging in the park.

That’s what a family found out after they were accosted by police for lying down in Fort Walton Landing park. City code prohibits people from sleeping or “protractedly lounging” on seats, benches or other areas of city parks.

According to the NWFDailyNews, Michelle McCormick, her husband and two small children were at the park over the weekend. Her husband was wrestling with the two children when a police officer approached.

“She walked up to us and said, ‘Sir, I’m going to have to tell you to get up. There’s an ordinance against lying down in the park,’ ” McCormick told the site.

“My husband was just incredulous.”

Police Sgt. Bill Royal said the officer was responding to a complaint from a park visitor.

“We received a phone call, and it was a homeless person,” he said. “He was complaining about individuals lying on blankets near the gazebo.”

McCormick said her husband was incensed and they got up and left.

So what’s the reason you can’t lie down in a park? Safety.

Police Sgt. Bill Royal said “You may trip someone.” Yes, he seriously said that.

The city manager, Michael Beedie said the ordinance was designed to keep homeless peope from sleeping in the park, but police officials said all citizens must be treated equally.

Even the police state can be ironic. A homeless person in a park calls in to complain about a law designed to keep homeless people from sleeping in a park.

Remember, once we’re all criminals, we’ll all finally be equals.


Editor Picks
Robert Gehl

Robert Gehl is a professor at a local college in Phoenix, Arizona. He has over 15 years journalism experience, including two Associated Press awards. He lives in Glendale with his wife and two young children.

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