Perhaps you heard about the Jacksonville code inspector who dissed a wounded veteran while handing a warning citation.
For a fake — made-up — “violation.”
City suspends Jacksonville inspector over military flag flak
The city of Jacksonville has suspended a code inspector who sparked controversy Monday after she issued a warning citation to a Westside business over military flags and then was caught on surveillance video in a confrontation with a customer who objected to the citation.
The inspector’s supervisor, who was present during the incident, has also been suspended, Mayor Lenny Curry said Tuesday.
So far, every report I’ve seen about this focuses on inspector Melinda Power dissing a wounded vet. The mayor’s press release does the same. Most folks are missing a point.
The “violation” Power Power “warned” the store on does not exist. She made it up.
I went through several sections of Jacksonville code trying to find something that would apply to those flags. I couldn’t. Then Mayor Curry issued a press release which mentions in a offhand manner that there was no code violation. He confirmed that in an email I received from his office (pretty much the press release but apparently tailored to answer my specific questions).
Jacksonville city code has no provision that forbids noncommercial flag displays of the sort presented by Jaguar Power Sports. It does not matter if the noncommercial flags are military, or cutesy “springtime flowers”. Curry’s press release (and an email to me) admits this.
Yet Melinda Power MADE UP — INVENTED — a FAKE law and threatened prosecution (per multiple reports). Her supervisor knowingly allowed it.
That is a felony: a violation of 18 U.S. Code § 242 – Deprivation of rights under color of law.
On the civil side, it appears that she gave Jaguar Power Sports the ammunition to pursue a civil lawsuit against herself, her supervisor, and the city for a violation of 18 U.S. Code § 241 – Conspiracy against rights.
She reportedly was rude. To a wounded veteran no less.
But she also broke federal civil right laws, and invented her own local law to make baseless threats.
I am not an attorney, but Jaguar Power Sports may wish to discuss these potential issues with theirs, to determine where they stand.
Purely as a matter of speculation, I consider it unlikely that this is the first time Power abused her authority in an apparently unlawful manner. Certainly she seemed comfortable doing it with her supervisor watching. And her supervisor seemingly considered it routine enough not to raise objections to a warning with no basis in Jacksonville code. I would not be surprised to learn that she — and/or her supervisor — has issued a number of bogus warnings or citations. Maybe even enough for a class action 18 U.S. Code § 241 lawsuit.