A Florida law student – and Harvard graduate – plans to fight traffic citations he was issued by an officer who heard him blasting NWA’s “F*ck tha Police.”
Cesar Baldelomar was driving to his mother’s house Thanksgiving morning when he pulled up to a stoplight in Hialeah, with music playing through his car’s open window, reported the Miami New Times.
Officer Harold Garzon was filling out some paperwork from a traffic crash when he overheard the song’s profanely anti-police chorus.
“Really?” Garzon said. “You’re really playing that song? Pull over.”
The officer, a 17-year veteran with 16 internal affairs cases filed against him, told Baldelomar it was illegal to play loud music within 25 feet of another person.
However, the Florida International University law student told Garzon the state’s Supreme Court had struck down laws banning loud music in 2012.
“I knew that because it was a case I had actually studied in law school,” Baldelomar said.
He said Garzon became angry and called over two officers nearby as he demanded to see Baldelomar’s proof of insurance.
Florida changed its law last year to allow drivers to show digital proof, but Baldelomar said the officer demanded a paper document.
Baldelomar was cited for driving without proof of insurance, having out-of-state license plates, and driving without a seat belt.
He plans to challenge all three citations, saying he’s still a legal resident of Massachusetts and was wearing his seat belt throughout the encounter.
“I’m educated — I know my rights, and I speak English, so I can fight this,” Baldelomar said. “But what about when this happens to someone who’s not so lucky? Policing has to change in this country.”
Baldelomar said he asked the officer about the noise violation, and he said Garzon told him not to get “smart” and leave.