A Florida woman says a local cop told her she needed a permit for her Halloween costume — because it was designed to look like the proposed condo building she and others have been protesting.
Cat Uden of Hollywood claimed the officer warned her that wearing her costume to the city’s Hollyweird Halloween block party would be considered a planned protest march, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
“I told him it’s a costume party,” the activist said. “I don’t consider it a demonstration, and that’s why I didn’t apply for a permit.”
Uden said she received the phone-call warning from the local police lieutenant after posting her plans on Facebook and encouraging other opponents of the proposed 30-story condo on taxpayer-owned beachfront land to wear costumes like hers to the block party.
Uden also suggested that people bring signs that read, “No condo” to the festivities.
Police spokeswoman Deanna Bettineschi confirmed what the cop told Uden — that the activist needed a permit to hold a “planned protest march.” An arrest could lead to a fine of up to $500 or 60 days in jail, the department rep said.
But some legal experts said the First Amendment was on Uden’s side.
“The police are on very shaky ground,” Bob Jarvis, a constitutional law professor at Nova Southeastern University, told the newspaper. “There is no reason to think she is inciting anyone or that she will be starting a riot.”
It appears that in the end, Uden and others were able to dress up as their least-favorite condo project without hassle at Saturday night’s party.
“SO much fun!” Uden wrote on Facebook above photos she posted of people’s condo costumes apparently at the event.
A commenter asked her, “Did you all get arrested?”
Uden replied, “No! We danced right by lots of police and 2 city commissioners! Happy Halloween!”