A Florida woman was arrested earlier this week for allegedly violating the state’s stay-at-home order by sitting on a closed beach after protesting the very same coronavirus-related restrictions.
Police say 33-year-old Kimberly Falkenstine was arrested on Sunday following the incident in Miami Beach.
Earlier in the day, she reportedly held a sign bearing the message “We Are Free” as part of a demonstration that had been approved by local officials.
“Make a statement”
When Falkenstine took her sign to the beach, however, locals took notice. Video of her apparent civil disobedience was shared on Facebook and officers soon arrived on the scene.
Miami Beach remains closed as part of Florida’s coronavirus response and police reports indicate Falkenstine had to bypass plastic barriers, ignoring clear signage along the way, to access the shore.
In fact, officers reported that she told them she intended to “make a statement” by sitting on the beach. Police say they approached Falkenstine initially to ask her to leave, but she refused.
“The defendant mentioned that the beach was for the public and that it was her right to be there,” police reported.
Court documents indicate she is facing criminal charges including violating an emergency order, trespassing, and resisting an officer without violence. She has since been released from custody after posting a $2,500 bond.
“Worse than the disease”
Falkenstine’s alleged actions, along with the protest that preceded them, are among the latest examples of growing frustration over lockdown orders still in place across the nation. States including Michigan and California have seen protests in recent weeks as the nation’s unemployment rate continues rising into uncharted territory.
Even as medical experts warn of the death toll that could coincide with reopening the economy prematurely, it is clear that a rising number of Americans believe the lockdowns might be causing more damage than the virus they are meant to forestall.
Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have stressed the importance of ensuring “the cure isn’t worse than the disease.”
As leaders in several states continue to extend stay-at-home orders for weeks into the future, though, it seems likely that more protests — and possibly arrests — are coming.