Downtown Danger: Panhandlers

I had seen the guy. He hung out at the Burger King on Northwest 17th and Biscayne. He was a real big guy, tall. He would panhandle and get aggressive about it.

Those of us who work downtown run into that a lot. The Burger King on Biscayne and the McDonald’s across from the MDCC Wolfson Campus. I have had them get in line behind me and pester for cash. Not a comfortable feeling.

This guy got into a dispute inside the Burger King. The cops were called. The guy makes a move towards the officer who hits him a a Tazer. The suspect keeps coming, tearing the Tazer darts out of his chest. He goes for the cop’s gun. The police officer gets hit, draws his weapon and fires. The suspect is hit in the arm.

For the next two hours Biscayne Blvd is shut down. It is a mess.

Earlier in the day the Haggard Law Firm announces a major settlement. $26-million for a man who was shot in the parking lot of a strip club in North Miami. No security in the parking lot.

It does not take much to connect the dots and realize that these fast food operations who invite the public in have a obligation to provide a safe environment for their customers.

In recent months there has been what seems a large increase in Downtown homeless panhandlers. Some have obvious mental issues such as the man who took on the policeman at the the BK.

The City of Miami is looking to designate a “panhandling zone.”

But you have to wonder why there are not security officers at some of these locations. At the BK on Biscayne, which is just north of the Carnival Center for the Preforming Arts, the panhandlers stand right next to the drive through ordering sign. Your window is down and they are often right there in your face. They are at the drive through exit as you stop to pull out of the parking lot.

This is not isolated to this location. Try Flager Street right around the old Courthouse.

Let’s hope none of these folks get aggressive and really hurts someone. You’d think that some of these major fast food joints would look at the judgement the Haggard firm secured and maybe hire some $10 an hour security cops.

The area north of Downtown is an up and coming area. Millions have been poured in to condos and the Arts center. No one there needs a customer getting hurt or killed.

My advice: pack your lunch.


There are no comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: