Florida is an unusual, wild, and actually very dangerous place. Between the weather and natural disasters, with hurricanes, tornadoes, sink holes, and the fact that Miami is feeling the brunt end of the effects of climate change, as city engineers try to raise the entire city 3″ — literally — to meet rising water levels, and the wildlife, from alligators to monkeys running around infected with a type of herpes that kills human beings, Florida is like a professional wrestling bedlam in a swamp, complete with the flow of unadulterated, American, illicit drugs. Being from Florida, I feel I’m entitled to make these statements about my beloved state. Without it’s weirdness in all of its beautiful form and splendor, I simply wouldn’t love it like I do.
But there is another bizarre outgrowth of Florida culture that has captured the hearts of internet users worldwide, and that phenomenon is colloquially known as “Florida Man,” a combination of people nicknamed after the constant stream of headlines which go on to explain hilarious and insane actions by those people in Florida, that always start off with, “Florida Man,” before going on to describe some crazy and amusing thing that a man in Florida was arrested for. Here are some of Florida Man’s most priceless instances.
The IHOP Cop
“I’m a Green Baret, if I die, Obama dies!” screamed 55-year-old Matt Skytta to the onlookers and wait staff at the IHOP restaurant in Orlando, Florida, on January 6th 2014. Skytta had walzed into the restaurant and demanded he be seated, though the managers recognized him as a patron who never had the money to pay for the food he would eat.
When he had first entered the restaurant and asked to be seated, the staff asked him if he had any money, at which point, Skytta pulled an Orlando Police patch from his wallet and said that he was the police, and that he ate for free. (link 2) After this ruse didn’t work, Skytta pulled his pants down showing his bare buttocks to the customers and staff, then proceeded to sit in a booth and attempt to be served. The police showed up instead and arrested Matt Skytta for disorderly conduct, trespassing, and of course impersonating a police officer.
Get a Room
At 12:43 a.m., the morning after Thanksgiving Day in 2014, police found a man named Willie Norfolk Jr. laying in an alley on Neptune Street, who became agitated when they approached him and began yelling at them. Willie Norfolk had just been kicked out of his brother-in-law’s residence after becoming heavily intoxicated and urinating on the living room floor during the Thanksgiving meal. His brother-in-law gave him $40 for a hotel room and told him to leave.
Willie Norfolk began yelling and screaming at the officers who arrived and found him laying there, and the officers tried desperately to calm the drunk man down. The officers on the scene even offered Norfolk a ride to a nearby hotel where he could get a room for the night, but the man kept on acting out in a fit of rage, when they finally arrested him and booked him on charges.
The Chainsaw Part 1
In November of 2014, security footage from a closed circuit camera inside of a store caught something unbelievable on tape: a Port Richie, Florida man by the name of Anthony Billard attempted to shoplift by placing an item which hadn’t been paid for in his pants and walking out the door. The item, of course, was a chainsaw. Billard brought the chainsaw up to the cash register where he asked an employee of the store if they had change for a dollar, then he stuffed the chainsaw into his pants and ran out the door, fleeing the scene on a bicycle. Employees chased him out of the store and down the road where he eventually ditched the heavy piece of equipment.
Fourty minutes later, police were waiting for him to return to the scene where he’d thrown the chainsaw to make their arrest. Anthony Billard returned to retrieve the piece of equipment and police arrested him and booked him on theft charges.
The Chainsaw Part 2
Anthony Billard wasn’t the only Florida Man who’d have a run-in with the law over an incident involving a chainsaw; in September of 2018, 70-year-old Gregory Landaker was cutting the shrubs that line his property with a chainsaw. His neighbor, Jeffrey Zlocki, saw him cutting the bushes that served as a burrier between the two properties and ran out to stop him, hugging the bushes. But Landaker didn’t stop and instead just cut Zlocki’s hand with the chainsaw, who was then rushed to the hospital.
Zlocki needed surgery to repair the tendons in his hand but claimed that Landaker didn’t mean to hurt him and that it was an accident, and no charges should be brought against him. But the police thought differently, and the incident was caught on video, which police said showed a clear and deliberate use of the chainsaw to cut the man, and booked Landaker on charges of battery with a deadly weapon, as well as plain old battery.
On Halloween of 2012, a Florida Man named Boyd Corbin attended a Halloween party, like many in Florida do to celebrate the coming of autumn. Boyd Corbin, however, dressed as a KKK Klansman, dawning the white hood and robe, and attended the party where he would proceed to get sloppily drunk. Between the outfit and the alcohol, Corbin somehow managed to get into a fight with a man dressed in drag in attendance and assault them with a tiki torch that he found at the party.
Corbin would be brought up on charges of battery and assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill. Two years later, his charges would come back to haunt him when the man ran for public office, trying to become the mayor the same town in which the incident had occurred, in 2014.
We’ve all done it, put our phones in our pocket and maybe the screen wasn’t turned off, and our legs or butt opened our contacts and called someone. It happens. It even happens that people accidentally call 9–11 all the time. One such case occurred in Florida in October of 2014, where an accidental pocket-dial would lead to the cops busting up a meth lab.
A 55-year-old woman named Donna Knope, a 32-year-old man named Jason Knope and a 41-year-old man named Thomas Stallings, were all cooking meth at Donna and Jason’s home in Deland, Florida, when the accidental call was placed, and police dispatchers heard the trio discussing drugs with muffles that alluded to the fact that the phone was in a pocket.
Dispatchers remained on the phone for an hour and a half while the call was traced using a cell phone tracker, and the police were called to go to a shed in the back yard of the Knope residence, where they found the meth lab and the three, and book them on drug possession charges.
The Naked Samurai
2014 was quite the year for Florida Man. In August of that year, a man named Jacob Jaquett would end up in an absolutely bizarre situation at the Otter Run Apartments in Jacksonville, Florida, when a naked man was spotted walking around the complex with a sword at around 11 o’clock in the morning in broad daylight. The man blocked the exit to the apartment building, wielding a 3-foot sword, but Jaquett was able to sneak by the man and flee to his truck for safety.
Another neighbor came out and was finally able to convince the naked man to drop the sword, then proceeded to tackle the man and pin him down until the police arrived and took him into custody.
The Hatchet and the ATM
30-year-old Phillip Moore would be brought up on charges for the destruction of private property, when he attacked an ATM in September of, guess which year…go on and guess…2014. Moore went to deposit his paycheck into the ATM machine at around midnight when the machine refused his check. Frustrated, Moore took out a hatchet and struck the machine three times before the camera on the ATM went blank — Moore had taken out its camera with his hatchet.
The police recognized the local man from the video and were able to apprehend him for the $1,000 worth of damage he did to the ATM, though he wasn’t able to obtain any money from the machine.
Skulls and Guns
Firefighters responded to a call about a house fire at the home of none other than Cannibal Corpse guitarist, Pat O’Brien, and they found the blaze ridiculously difficult to control due to the fact that O’Brien had several military-style flame throwers inside the home. A simultaneous call came in that O’Brien had left his house and fled on foot to a neighbor’s home where he proceeded to assault his neighbor and his wife, and when the police arrived, O’Brien charged them with a knife, assaulting one officer.
Pat O’Brien was then tased with a police taser and arrested. Upon a search of his home, police discovered countless firearms, the rest of the surviving military-grade flame throwers, and human skulls too many to number.
In probably the most Floridian piece of romance ever, in June of 2014, a man named Eric Griemsmann decided to take his girlfriend on a trip to a theme park in Orlando called Gatorland, where alligators, snakes, and reptiles are put on display and featured in shows that handlers conduct. But Eric Griemsmann had a trick up his sleeve — he spoke with the staff at Gatorland and they agreed to allow Eric to propose to his girlfriend in a special way.
Video captured the magic moment when the staff tied an engagement ring to a baby alligator in a show, then asked his girlfriend to hold the baby gator. Eric proposed then proposed to her with the ring tied to the alligator. She was swept off of her feet, and the two were ready to start the perfect Florida Man romance, and this was one time that Florida Man made headlines without getting arrested. Very cute…and very Florida.
© 2019; Joe Duncan. All Rights Reserved