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Equality Florida activist in Largo arrested for handing out anti-discrimination flyers

Michael @ Pushing Rope reports that Nadine Smith of Equality Florida was was taken into custody, allegedly for “resisting arrest” after handing out flyers (saying “Don’t Discriminate”) at the Largo City Commission meeting where City Manager Steve Stanton was fired.

This was additional drama on top of the already insane situation where the highly regarded Stanton, after announcing that he was beginning the process of transitioning to become a woman, was hung out to dry by his colleagues at the behest of fundie pastor Charlie Martin of the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks and fundies  who waged a week-long campaign to destroy Stanton’s career.

Blogger Wayne Garcia was there when Smith was arrested:

Isn’t anyone in Largo ashamed of their police department’s over-reaction in the case of Nadine Smith? The executive director of Equality Florida was arrested for handing out flyers at Tuesday’s commission meeting. Four cops, a felony charge, more than $5,000 bail for handing out flyers? Looks like Largo is putting itself on the map not just for prejudice but for stamping out free speech. Thanks for shining a bright light on the worst of Pinellas, folks. 

You want to hear a really lame-ass reason for the arrest, given to the St. Petersburg Times?

Police contend Nadine Smith, executive director of the gay and lesbian advocacy group Equality Florida, became disruptive when they told her stop distributing the fliers in violation of a city ordinance.

…Fliers present a fire hazard; plus, when they end up on the floor, people can slip on them, McMullen said.

Given the already emotionally charged meeting, city officials also thought that fliers could become further disruptive, McMullen said.

Litbrit hits the nail on the head (at her pad and Shakes):

Fliers could become further disruptive. The condescension drips. Yeah, I suppose if someone folded his into a sharp little pink mini-Concorde and put someone’s eye out. Or created a hailstorm of spitballs one would be hard pressed to say were undeserved by at least some present. Do you know what I consider disruptive?  Disruptive to the rule of law, I mean?  When arrogant, egocentric, homobigoted tax evaders religious “leaders” bully government by claiming an exclusive hold on morality and a voice that represents the so-called majority, and then twist public policy and legislation to fit their narrow, nasty little worldviews.

* Largo, FL officials vote to dismiss trans city manager 

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