Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These three things are inalienably granted to us by the founding documents of this great nation, and the ethos of these guarantees must always remain the backbone of our society.
But bureaucrats and politicians have long inserted themselves in between the American citizens and these rights, oftentimes forcing We The People to take a good hard look at what “liberty” looks like under this new world order.
Such is the case again this week, as a man finds himself in legal trouble for swimming at the beach.
A Queens man went swimming at Rockaway Beach during the heat wave last weekend but ended up arrested and dragged off the beach in handcuffs for swimming past the beach closing.
So, how on earth did this happen?
Swimmers are required to leave the water at 6 p.m. when lifeguard shifts end. Andre Velasquez was in the water around 7 p.m. on Friday when he says Parks Department officers called out to him.
When he refused their request to see his driver’s license he claims the officers threw him to the ground and handcuffed him. They hauled him off barefoot and shirtless as other people on the beach watched.Advertisement - story continues below
A video taken from the scene as he was escorted away in cuffs shows Velasquez asking, “I’m not allowed to be in nature?”
The swimmer was completely taken aback.
“It was baffling and traumatizing,” Velasquez later told Gothamist.
Velasquez explained to police that he did not see any signs prohibiting swimming after a certain time, and was only made aware of their existence after officers uncovered one to show him.