Protester arrested after refusal to move

Published May 22, 2007

SPRING HILL - An anti-establishment protester faces charges of violating a county ordinance and obstructing a Hernando County sheriff's deputy after he refused to leave U.S. 19 and Forest Oaks Boulevard on Sunday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

Shafiq Samirre Mohamed, a 23-year-old Spring Hill resident, was holding a 3-foot by 4-foot cardboard sign "advertising two Internet Web sites against President Bush, " according to a Sheriff's Office report.

The Web sites reportedly being promoted on the sign were www.freedomtofascism.com and www.infowars.com.

County ordinances forbid solicitation on medians, streets and highways. Deputies later checked to find the Web sites advertise items for sale.

The former promotes a 2006 independent film by Alex Russo titled America: Freedom to Fascism, which attacks the federal tax laws among other establishment causes. A trailer of the movie includes clips of President Bush speaking but his name does not appear anywhere on the home page.

The second site is the apparent home page of Alex Jones, a documentary filmmaker and radio talk show host, who speaks out for truth about the 9/11 attacks and restoring the freedoms of the Bill of Rights.

Deputies warned Mohamed at 5:20 p.m. that he could not stand in the median of the intersection and returned 80 minutes later after receiving a complaint of a man holding a sign and obstructing traffic.

Mohamed would not leave the median when deputies asked, saying it was his constitutional right to stand there, the Sheriff's Office said.

He also refused to give his name or provide deputies with identification. He was taken into custody, the report said, so deputies could conduct their investigation in a safe place and issue a citation.

Mohamed was taken to the Hernando County Jail and held in lieu of $500 bail.

Man tried to infect workers, deputies say

A 31-year-old St. Petersburg man was arrested early Saturday morning after he became combative with emergency room workers and tried to use his blood-borne disease as a weapon, deputies said.

Anthony Strickland entered the hospital about 1:20 a.m. with a 0.291 blood-alcohol level, too drunk to be taken to the jail, authorities said. Hernando deputies responded after he began struggling with doctors who managed to give him a sedative.

Hernando deputies learned from medical records that Strickland was positive for a condition involving a contagious disease. However, medical privacy laws prevented investigators from disclosing the condition, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said.

About 20 minutes after the first call, a report said, deputies went back to the hospital after Strickland woke up and pulled an intravenous needle from his arm. As blood oozed out, he began to flail his arm and tried to get blood on a registered nurse and a medical technician, the Sheriff's Office said. When they told him to stop because of his disease, Strickland replied, "I don't care."

At one point, Strickland appeared to faint and fall to the floor. When hospital workers went to pick him up, he began flailing his arms and scratching the nurse.

It took about 10 minutes and a number of people to restrain Strickland. Both hospital workers who tried to help the patient got his blood on their uniforms and received superficial injuries.

When Strickland is released, he will be transported to the Hernando County Jail on two charges of battery on emergency medical care providers.

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or 754-6114.