Here’s yet another story about a police raid on a poker game, but it’s even worse than most such stories. This game didn’t even have a buy-in. It was a free tournament at a restaurant, where the winners get prizes and the restaurant gets the extra business. Clearly a threat to public safety, so they had to send in heavily armed cops to break it up and arrest people.
The Nutz Poker League, which was running a free game open to the public at Louie’s Grill and Sports Bar at the time of the crackdown, said on its Facebook page that some of the police were in “full riot gear” and had their “weapons drawn.”
The tournament’s 140 players reportedly were told to stop what they were doing, and when the dust settled, six were arrested and accused of being involved with a “gambling house.”
One woman present described the event in a blog post: “Today, while out playing poker with this poker league, we were raided by the [Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco], all with men and women officers wearing black masks so we couldn’t see their faces. We were forced (by a threat of going to jail) to place our hands on the table where they could see them and to stay there until we were told.”
Felony charges have been filed, according to the league. Under Florida law, the felonies would be in the third degree and could carry a prison sentence of up to five years.
And then they violated the First Amendment too:
Luke Lirot, an attorney involved with the matter, told Card Player that players took cell phone photos and video of the raid, and that they were “ordered by officers to delete” the material.
I feel so much safer now that the scourge of free poker games has been eliminated, don’t you?