Things That Matter

A Florida Politician Is Caught On Video Telling A Young Puerto Rican Tennis Player To “Go Cut Grass”

Martin Hyde, a candidate for the Sarasota City Commission, has dropped out of the race after allegedly telling a young Puerto Rican tennis player to “cut grass.” The confrontation was caught on camera by a 15-year-old junior tennis player, according to the teenager’s uncle Javier Irizarry. 

Hyde denies that what he said was racist or that he did anything wrong, but instead claims he is dropping out of the race due to the negative attention. Hyde was subsequently banned from Sarasota’s Bath & Racquet Club following the incident. 

Video of the confrontation goes viral on social media.

“Puerto Rican junior tennis player was expelled from the Celsius Tennis Academy facilities for speaking Spanish,” Couto de Jesús tweeted according to Latino Rebels. “He was Sarasota, Florida, participating in the Casely International Championship. In the video, a white man kicks him out of the facilities and shows his economic privilege. This must be denounced.”

According to the Herald Tribue, Hyde claims that while his son was getting a tennis lesson, some players near the court were being rude. Hyde’s son told them to be quiet. 

“I came over and said ‘He asked you nicely, and I’m telling you now to shut the hell up.’ That was the extent of it,” Hyde told the newspaper. 

However, things took a heated turn when Hyde allegedly told one of the young men to go “cut grass.” Hyde doesn’t deny this in the video he merely says, “so what.” 

“We’re calling the police. That’s racism, man; how can you say something like that? Aren’t you human?” The young tennis player tells Hyde in the video. 

Irizarry, on the other hand, claims his nephew and another tennis player were speaking Spanish when Hyde screamed at them to tell them to be quiet. 

“My nephew asked him why so he got a little bit mad and mentioned he shouldn’t be playing tennis and should be cutting the grass,” Irizarry said.

Hyde is banned from Bath & Racquet Fitness Club by the manager. 

Latino Rebels reached out to the manager of the club, Michael Brandon who expressed disgust at the video.

“I am super disturbed at seeing that video. I was actually the coach that was on the court. I knew that there was some type of incident but had no idea to what degree this actually went down. After watching the video, the member is going to be removed this afternoon so I’m going to be notifying him that he’s no longer a member of the club,” Brandon said.

When the Herald-Tribune pressed Hyde on whether he had been kicked out of the club, he insisted that Brandon had hit the “panic button.” 

“Bath and Racquet definitely or any of the staff here does not stand for racism whatsoever or any type of actions like that at all, especially towards children or obviously anyone. He will be removed from the club this afternoon, and thank you for reaching out. We’re so sorry that happened but we have rectified the situation,” Brandon said. 

Hyde drops out of the Sarasota City Commission race.

Hyde still insists that his actions were not rude. Hyde is an entrepreneur and Republic who ran for City Commission in 2017 and lost. He claims he has been getting death threats, and according to the Herald-Tribute “choked up” at the thought of being referred to as a racist.

“It’s with great regret that I’m announcing my withdrawal from the election process for the Sarasota City Commission in 2020,” Hyde said in a statement. “I hold myself to a higher standard though than engaging with noisy teenagers in public places, and it for this failing and this alone that I’ve decided to stand down from public life. A part of me thinks I should stay on and fight to clear my name in the face of falsehoods, but I believe that if I did the scrutiny and defamation would simply increase and that wouldn’t be fair to those close to me that I care about.” 

Hyde reconsiders his plans to drop out of the race.

After initially dropping out of the campaign, Hyde is now reconsidering. According to the Herald-Tribune, he is looking for a way to publicly “atone” for what he has done. 

“I haven’t had anyone condone my poor behavior and I’m not without regret for it myself,” Hyde wrote. “That having been said I agree with those that have said the best form of redemption might be a public one.” 

The Herald-Tribune notes that Hyde, who is known for his brash behavior, decides to remain in the race, this could be another test of how far politicians can go with anti-immigrant rhetoric in the Trump administration. 

Florida Republicans Just Introduced Four Anti-LGBTQ Bills On The Last Day Possible And People Are Asking Why Now?

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Florida Republicans Just Introduced Four Anti-LGBTQ Bills On The Last Day Possible And People Are Asking Why Now?

Ben Wassenhatch / Flickr

Seven Republican lawmakers in Florida filed four anti-LGBTQ bills hours before the deadline for the upcoming legislative session this week. The bills undo many of the protections that exist for LGBTQ Florida residents. The four bills would repeal county and municipal ordinances for LGBTQ workers, legalize gay conversion therapy, and ban transgender healthcare for children, according to NBC News. 

The homophobic and transphobic legislation was introduced by representatives Anthony Sabatini, Bob Rommel, Michael Grant, and Byron Donalds, along with Senators Joe Gruters and Keith Perry. Florida Rep. Shevrin Jones, who is a member of the LGBTQ community, and other advocates are now fighting against the bills’ passing. 

Advocates respond to the bill calling it “discrimination and hate.”

“Clearly they’ve decided that discrimination and hate are central to their election-year platform despite our state’s incredible diversity,” Jones said in a statement. “Just as I’ve done since I was elected in 2012, I will continue to fight any legislation that marginalizes or threatens any Floridian’s shot at a secure, safe, and bright quality of life.”

Jones also accused Florida Republicans of, “wasting tax dollars attacking Florida’s most vulnerable communities rather than prioritizing the issues that impact everyday people’s lives.” 

Equality Florida released a statement highlighting many of the consequences such a bill would have. 

“This is the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida Legislature in recent memory,” Jon Harris Maurer, the group’s public policy director, said. “It runs the gamut from openly hostile legislation that would arrest and imprison doctors for providing medically necessary care, to legislation that would carelessly erase critical local LGBTQ protections.”

Senator Gruters defends the bill, claiming it “includes protections.”

“The bill certainly does not authorize an employer to discriminate against employees who are members of protected classes, whether protected by federal or state law or local ordinance,” Gruters told NBC News via email.  “While I do not believe the bill has any impact on local anti-discrimination ordinances, in an abundance of caution, I included language in the bill’s preamble to make clear that the preemption would not affect local anti-discrimination laws, and any court would interpret the preemption consistent with that preamble.” 

While Gruters claims it would include protections, Joe Saunders, senior political director at Equality Florida, claims that these so-called protections are merely a part of the bill’s preamble and would carry no weight should the bills become law. 

“We appreciate that Sen. Gruters put that in,” Saunders said. “It’s not policy; it’s not considered part of the bill.”

Democratic senator Lori Berman suggested the bill was nothing more than a political stunt to garner votes from homophobic and transphobic constituents. 

“I’m disappointed to see some of my colleagues proposing this regressive and discriminatory anti-LGBT agenda,” Berman wrote on Twitter. “What benefit to the public does this legislation actually serve, apart from tossing red meat to a political base in an election season?” 

Trans children are particularly vulnerable to the policies. 

“Transgender youth are some of the most at risk in our community,” Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s director of transgender equality, told NBC News. “It is outrageous that conservative legislators would threaten their health and safety. Medical professionals, not politicians, should decide what medical care is in the best interest of a patient. Forcing a doctor to deny best practice medical care and deny support to transgender youth can be life-threatening.”

Making it illegal for doctors to provide necessary care to trans children certainly goes against the Hippocratic oath, but if you think something so dystopian can’t happen just look at how Republicans have slowly chipped away at abortion rights – another form of necessary care that can be life-saving. 

Just yesterday South Dakora Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would also ban doctors from performing gender-affirming surgeries or treatments on children. Similar bills have been filed in Texas, Georgia, and Kentucky. 

According to the Associated Press, “The Endocrine Society, which is the leading professional organization for doctors who specialize in hormones, does not recommend gender-transition medical treatment before puberty for children who do not identify with their biological gender. For youths experiencing puberty and older adolescents, the Endocrine Society recommends that a team composed of expert medical professionals and mental health professionals manages treatment.”

Opponents of these anti-trans bills believe the laws interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and contradict the widely accepted practices of the medical community. 

“Sadly, the medical care of transgender youth has been sensationalized and politicized,” Jack Turban, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, told NBC News. “Gender-affirming medical care for transgender adolescents is endorsed by major medical organizations, including the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. It should go without saying, but providing standard medical care should not be a felony.”

Florida Police Are Investigating How A Fully Loaded Assault Rifle Ended Up In A Baby Einstein’s Box Bought At A Goodwill

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Florida Police Are Investigating How A Fully Loaded Assault Rifle Ended Up In A Baby Einstein’s Box Bought At A Goodwill

Veronica Alvarez-Rodriguez / Facebook

A Florida military couple was shocked when they saw their friends open their baby shower gift, purchased at Goodwill, only to find a semi-automatic rifle neatly stored in the seemingly unopened Baby Einstein bouncer. Veronica Alvarez-Rodriguez said that she and her husband were on their way to a baby shower when they stopped at the Valparaiso Goodwill and found what they thought was the perfect gift. When the father-to-be, Jonathan Rosas, opened the box, he was delighted, and shouted: “You guys got me a gun!” Alvarez-Rodriguez told the Northwest Florida Daily News.

The Rosas’ baby shower for baby Johnathan ended with a visit from Crestview Police Officers, who initially said they could keep the gun.

At first, the parents-to-be thought the Alvarez-Rodriguez family was pranking them.

CREDIT: VERONICA ALVAREZ-RODRIGUEZ / FACEBOOK

Jonathan Rosas is a military man himself, so he initially thought their friends actually gifted him an assault rifle, but was making a joke by packaging it inside a Baby Einstein toy box. “The funniest part is they opened gifts in front of everyone and they thought we were pranking them🤣🤣Nope, lol that was not supposed to be in there but the dad to be got a better gift than a bouncer,” Alvarez-Rodriguez later commented on Facebook. Guests laughed away while the Alvarez-Rodriguez family was dumbfounded. The box looked like it had never been opened, and they thought they had just scored a brand new brand-name baby jumper for just $9.99 at Goodwill. As it turns out, there was nothing baby-friendly about the gift, though they did get a very good deal on a gun. 

“💰When you go to the Goodwill for a baby shower gift thinking you got a good deal on a bouncer ($10) not even opened and you end up opening a 🔫MOSSBERG 715T Semi-Auto Rifle 😱😱,” Veronica Alvarez-Rodriguez posted on Facebook. The Crestview Police were called to the house, where they searched for the serial number of the gun, and found that it was “clean.” “Serial number was clean & Crestview Police said do what you want with it🏆,” Alvarez-Rodriguez posted. “The gun now belongs to Baby Jonathan who is due to enter this world any day now 😂 #wegiftedhimhisfirstgun” 

The responding officer suspected no foul-play and thinks that someone’s wife just tricked her husband into donating the gun.

CREDIT: VERONICA ALVAREZ-RODRIGUEZ / FACEBOOK

The group immediately called the police once they realized that an assault rifle was hidden in a baby toy box and donated to Goodwill. The officers arrived at the baby shower and checked the couple’s identifications to make sure they weren’t convicted felons, and then began wondering out loud how on earth an assault rifle arrived inside a baby toy box. Alvarez-Rodriguez later commented on her Facebook post that the assigning officer guessed that “someone’s wife probably got mad at the husband and took his gun and dropped it off.” The officer initially allowed the family to keep the gun, but the next day, police asked Jonathan Rosas to turn over the gun while they run it through a database with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Crestview PD confirmed that the weapon was not stolen, but are holding the gun for 90 days while they come to understand the purchase history. That means that we may find out how the gun landed at a Goodwill. 

Crestview and Valparaiso Police Departments are working a theory that the rifle may have been donated at a collection point anywhere between Tallahassee and Pensacola before it arrived at the Valparaiso Goodwill. The rifle was fully loaded inside the box. Police are now saying they believe someone donated the baby-bouncer to Goodwill without knowing its contents, according to Military Times.

The Rosas are expected to receive the gun after the 90-day hold period.

CREDIT: AMBER ROSAS / FACEBOOK

In case you’re wondering, someone asked Alvarez-Rodriguez how she didn’t notice the weight difference between a baby bouncer and an assault rifle. “I mean metal poles on the bouncer & metal gun and some ammo ??” she answered, adding that the box says it should weight 25 pounds, but agrees that it’s “definitely a mysteriously crazy find.” Alvarez-Rodriguez’s Facebook friends didn’t believe that the rifle could fit inside the box, so she later posted a video of the rifle inside the box as further evidence to an unimaginably wild story to believe.

By the time the gun is returned to them, their baby will likely be two to three months old. Would you have an assault rifle in the same house as your baby?

READ: California Man Arrested With Drugs And Guns While Keeping A Person Hostage And Suspected Of Murder