“Captain Underpants” of Polk County Sheriff Office Accused of Politically Motivated Arrest
Pro-Abortion Activist Jailed For Tossing a Pair of Clean Panties Near a PCSO Captain at the Opening of Lakeland Anti-Abortion Center
Contact: Kat Duesterhaus, email@example.com, 772.267,6353
LAKELAND, FL— On Tuesday May 16th 2023, a pair of new panties landed between Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) Captain Billy Strickland and Florida State Representative Jennifer Canady.
Just two days later Polk County Clinic Defender and Florida National Organization for Women (NOW) member Bonnie Patterson-James was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. The crime was allegedly tossing a pair of new panties on the ground, which Captain Strickland can be heard in a TikTok video posted by @SwanCityClinicDef saying hit him on the back of his leg. Another video obtained by Florida NOW shows Captain Strickland saying the panties “bounced” and then hit his leg. No footage of the alleged battery is known to exist, despite multiple people seen filming.
The incident occurred at a ribbon cutting event on Tuesday, May 16th 2023 for Options for Women Pregnancy Help Clinic, an anti-abortion center in Lakeland backed by Representative Canady. Representative Canady requested $1 million from the Appropriations Committee to build the Options for Women Pregnancy Help Clinic in Lakeland, and was honored as a speaker at the event and seated next to Captain Strickland. Representative Canady was also a co-sponsor of the near total abortion ban (CS/HB7) and the legislator who introduced Amendment 613041, which added an extra $25 million in funding for anti-abortion centers in Florida.
This is not the first alleged battery to have taken place of late surrounding the controversial installation of an anti-abortion center next to a legitimate healthcare provider, though it is the only one to have resulted in arrest. In recent months, Polk County Clinic Defenders have reported several cases of assault by anti-abortion extremists. However, despite known perpetrators’ identities, multiple witness reports and photos of injuries sustained, LPD and PCSO have refused to take any action to protect the Clinic Defenders, including one minor. Video footage provided to Florida NOW shows the aftermath of the assault on the minor in which the perpetrator can be heard saying “no” when asked to leave the victim alone, then defending his choice to assault the child.
Activists believe there is an issue with selective enforcement at the least, and potentially an abuse of power considering Representative Canady’s involvement and support of the anti-abortion center.
“Why are Polk County Clinic Defenders being jailed for tossing an ounce of fabric that allegedly touched an officer’s leg, while a child who was actually assaulted and sustained injuries was ignored?,” said Debbie DeLand, President of Florida NOW. “We believe Patterson-James’ arrest was not only unjustified, but also politically motivated. Shame on Captain Strickland and PCSO for this ridiculous arrest and if Representative Canady is not behind this she should be speaking out against it, as well as speaking up for the child who was actually assaulted.”
Donate to Bonnie’s legal defense at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/activist-arrested-for-bouncing-panties