Several of you have sent me, or recommended to me in comments, some potential Floriduh Man! posts. And I appreciate it very much. But for tonight’s installment we’ve got this enterprising young man who may have won the Floriduh Man! of the Year award.
Latest scoop: When cops were hunting for a Miami Beach arms dealer who allegedly went on a machete-vandalism spree, he messaged a Miami Beach commissioner running for congress, whom he'd donated $2,700 to. She tried to stop his arrest: https://t.co/8JoBV59sC2
— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) December 21, 2017
Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, who is running for U.S. Congress, sent the Miami Beach Police chief a flurry emails demanding a major donor to her campaign not be arrested for an alleged spree of machete destruction, according to text messages and emails New Times obtained this week.
Saturday, September 16, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Miami Beach-based arms dealer and shooting-range owner Erik Agazim strapped on a Kevlar vest and military helmet, hung an assault-style rifle from his body, and grabbed a machete. According to police, Agazim proceeded to slash 11 blaring fire alarms with his long knife, terrifying his Sunset Harbour neighbors. According to cops, power outages from the hurricane had caused the alarms to malfunction.
Destroying a fire-safety device is a felony, but before he was arrested, Agazim fired off a text message around 11:15 p.m. to Commissioner Rosen Gonzalez, who is running in the Democratic primary for the seat that will vacated by retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. In May, Agazim had donated $2,700 to Rosen Gonzalez’s congressional campaign — the maximum amount an individual may donate in a federal race.
Rosen Gonzalez was quickly spurred into action by the text from Agazim, who owns both an arms-supply business — the National Police Equipment Exchange — which sells guns to local police departments such as Miami Beach PD, and the Lock & Load shooting range in Wynwood. Using her city email address, she demanded that police stop investigating Agazim.
“Please confirm that he is not being pursued by anyone,” Rosen Gonzalez wrote to Chief Dan Oates. “He has permits for everything he is carrying. Erik is a meticulous and upstanding businessman.”
She also asked to sit in on a meeting between Agazim and the cops. In a separate email to Oates, she said she “would like to be present” at a police interview “if possible.”
“That would be inappropriate,” Oates replied.
Agazim was eventually charged with 11 felony counts of destroying fire-safety devices, one felony count of criminal mischief, and one misdemeanor count of openly carrying a rifle, suggesting that Rosen Gonazlez was incorrect in suggesting he had “permits for everything.” His arraignment hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.
Reached by phone, Rosen Gonzalez denied she’d done anything wrong and said the exchange showed her engaging in simple “constituent services.” She said that after Agazim was arrested, she donated his $2,700 campaign contribution to “victims of the Las Vegas shooting.”
“I had no reason to think he was anything other than a respectable, upstanding citizen,” she said. “I don’t know the details of the case, but I had no reason to believe anything than what he told me.”
(Rosen Gonzalez has previously said she believes public oversight hinders police from doing their jobs.)
Many more highly entertaining details at The Miami New Times.