While in court one day, I came across an arrest report (also known as arrest affidavit and/or A-form ) that caught my attention. Bridget Gomez, a black thirty three year old female, was arrested for engaging in prostitution at Angel’s Bar on West Dixie Highway, in violation of Florida Statute 796.07 (2) (e). Sergeant L. Smith, of the Miami Dade Police Department, (some names have been changed) swore to the following facts:
“While in the above location and acting in an undercover capacity, the defendant approached this detective and did the following: Defendant, after performing a stage dance, requested to provide this detective a lap dance for $10.00, which was given to defendant. While defendant was performing the lap dance, she sat on this detective’s groin area and moved back and forward simulating sexual intercourse. While stimulating this detective’s penis, at one point, defendant touched this detective’s penis and attempted to apologize. Defendant was arrested and transported to the Dade County Jail.”
Attached to the arrest report was a Cost Recovery Court Order, in which officers sought reimbursement from the defendant for the cost of investigating and prosecuting the case. In the form, attached to Bridget Gomez’s arrest affidavit, Sergeant L. Smith, sought cost recovery for expenses incurred by, Detective A. Hart, Detective W. Brody and himself. The expenses included two hours of time spent by each officer at a rate of approximately $24 per hour, for a total of $140. They also sought reimbursement for the one vehicle used, costing $30.76. Finally, and most interesting, a $20 reimbursement was sought for additional expenses, listed as alcoholic beverages, tips and lap dance. The form was sworn to by both Sgt. Smith and his supervisor, Lieutenant V. Marks. Keep in mind, while working in an undercover capacity, all officers were on duty at the time, therefore on the state’s paryroll.
As I initially read the details of the officers’ work detail, I thought, “Wow, it’s good to be a law enforcement officer.” My thoughts then shifted drastically as I thought how difficult it must be for these officers after they return from a hard day at work. I’m sure it’s no easy task to have to answer to their spouses as they inquire,”So honey, how was your day?” It must be awfully challenging to explain away the stench of cheap perfume and lipstick marks on their clothing. I can only imagine the officers’ defensive remarks, “Honey, I swear, it was undercover work!!!”
Unlawful bodily contact is one of those crimes that take place daily in most major strip clubs. Cops know that. They don’t prioritize this offense consistently throughout the year. Every now and then, undercover cops go in to make a bust and send a message. The message it may have sent to Bridget Gomez is that she is less lucky than Cinnamon, Amber, Toiletta and Falopia, who weren’t busted that evening but were performing similar unlawful acts at nearby clubs.
I ponder about how much safer Miami was while Bridget was “stripped” (yes, pun intended) of her liberty for a couple of hours. I wondered how quickly after her arrest she was back on stage displaying her private parts, and gyrating on the laps of bar patrons. I also think about all those people who waited a long time for police assistance at the exact time that Sgt. Smith, surrounded by two other veteran detectives, was having his penis stimulated.