OPD To Black GOP Candidate - Stop Campaigning & Get Permit
By East Orlando Post on February 02, 2014
mo pearson, maurice "mo" pearson, opd, orlando police department, east orlando post, linda stewart, east orlando news, jacob engels
By Jacob Engels
Early this past Saturday February 1st, State House District 47 candidate Maurice "Mo" Pearson was taking his message to voters in the Dover Shores Neighborhood where he has resided for nearly 10 years.
Pearson, who is running to become the Republican party nominee for the State Representative in House District 47 currently held by Democrat Linda Stewart said everything was going as planned until he was stopped by an officer with the Orlando Police Department.
"Around 2PM, after about two hours of going door-to-door I was approached by the officer and told that the department had received a call from a resident who was concerned with what I was doing," explained a confused Pearson.
Pearson acknowledges that it's a law enforcement officers duty to investigate such calls, but wasn't sure why he was the focus.
"I told him my name and that I was a candidate running for office. The officer then told me I would need to stop what I was doing and check with the city to see if I needed a permit before I continued."
According to Florida Statue, there are 3 activities that are exempt from solicitation laws; religion, political campaigning, and free speech.
So why was Mr. Pearson stopped by the Orlando Police Department? Did the officer not know the statutes and that political candidates were indeed allowed to go door-to-door?
A source familiar with the incident tells the East Orlando Post that the officer that stopped Pearson has ties to Orlando City Commissioner Tony Ortiz. Ortiz is a registered Republican, but there have been a lot of questions about his true political leanings over the years.
So, was politics at play? Did the OPD officer stop Pearson at the behest of Tony Ortiz, or was he simply doing what he thought would make the commissioner proud? Who does Tony Ortiz support - whoever becomes the Republican nominee or Democratic incumbent Linda Stewart?
Or is this a case of racial profiling? Pearson, is a black republican.
And what about that call the officer claimed to have received? The East Orlando Post sent a public records request to the Orlando Police Department to determine whether or not a call was actually made. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't.
As for his Saturday campaigning being cut short, Pearson told us that he is not discouraged and looks forward to knocking on doors again in the upcoming week.
"Hopefully our next neighborhood walk will be smooth sailing. I love being able to talk to voters and find out what's important to them." concluded and upbeat Pearson.
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