There are many things I could say about motorcycle week. But if I said them, no one could hear me over the sounds of the cycles roaring outside my windows.
However, Daytona has occasional lulls in the noise. That allows the “Naked Cowboy” to play guitar and pose for pictures with Bike Week tourists over in Daytona.
The tourists love him wherever he goes, and take pictures with him. He has evidently been coming to Daytona for several years.
Technically, he is not naked. He has underwear, boots and a cowboy hat. And he does not ask for money, either, but given his popularity, he does not have to.
While the tourists love him, Daytona cops do not. They cited him for aggressive panhandling and “resisting.”
Turns out that in Daytona, it is pretty much impossible to stroll the sidewalks and streets during Bike Week without coming within 20 feet of a store entrance or exit. So, if the cops dislike you, then you are an aggressive panhandler.
No surprise, they arrested the cowboy. Someone leaked the video, which my wife found on the web and showed me. The cops look and act like the typical sort you expect over in Daytona.
Give the police some credit, however. Most people would say that the cops broke the guy’s guitar, probably to teach him a lesson about respecting authority. But in Daytona police-speak, “the headstock of the guitar broke during this incident.”
The cops hauled the cowboy off to jail for aggressive panhandling, which is defined as being within 20 feet of a business. Also, “resisting,” which under the circumstances means having hopped-up cops break your guitar.
Actually, by the time of first appearances, the “aggressive” went away. And at first appearance, even panhandling went away, leaving only “resisting.” Most people understand that resisting is a catchall charge cops use to justify bad arrests.
Well, the cowboy did the cops a favor and pleaded to time served and a withhold. Having seen the video, I would not want to be the state attorney assigned to prosecute that case.
The good thing is that the arrest made the newspapers and social media. It should therefore serve as a caution to other potential tourists.
It also lets us know that the authorities are not actually thinking over in Daytona — even if they wanted to, they probably could not hear themselves think over the noise.
— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.