Hialeah City Council candidate arrested on trespassing charge

Politician believes she was targeted for arrest

HIALEAH, Fla. – A candidate running for Hialeah City Council was arrested Thursday on a trespassing charge after Hialeah police said she broke the law while handing out flyers.

Milly Herrera said she had permission from the city of Hialeah to meet and greet residents at the Villa Aida Apartments' dining room and had been given an hour of allotted time to campaign. When she arrived, the dining area was under construction and closed.

Lt. Eddie Rodriguez, of the Hialeah Police Department, said once Herrera realized there wasn't anyone there, she began walking throughout the building.

Police are defending their actions, while Herrera believes the arrest was politically motivated.

 "They arrested me in front of the doors inside the complex. I had permission to be here," Herrera said.

According to police, they were called to the scene because Herrera was going from door to door against city campaign rules.

The initial report read that Herrera "stood outside of the building where she was told she could not solicit. She was then told a second time she could not solicit by the property superintendent."

According to the report, Hialeah police arrived at the scene, "at which time she was told she could not solicit outside of the area where she was assigned. She was ordered to show identification at which time she refused." 

"They called the police because I was insisting that it was my right to be there to distribute my flyers," Herrera said.

But Rodriguez said that (Herrera) was spotted by people who were working at the building who informed her that she was not allowed to be walking through the building and that she would have to stay in the dining area.

"There was a confrontation, and she refused to return to the dining area and that was when police were called," Rodriguez said.

According to Local 10 News reporter Glenna Milberg, that brief report was rejected and redone with second-hand narrative that the commander told the arresting officer to add.

It read: "During the allotted time, no residents showed up to the pre scheduled event and so Ms. Herrera brought it upon herself to start politically soliciting with residents who were entering and exiting the listed building. The listed building has clearly posted 'We Care' signs and 'no political soliciting' signs. Property manager then advised her that she could not be soliciting outside of the building and had to remain in the permitted area, being the dining room. Once Ms. Herrera refused to either return to the dining area or leave the premise, (property manager) contacted the property maintenance superintendent at which time he responded and told Ms. Herrera that she had to leave the premises due to her soliciting outside the building, which has clearly posted signs stating,  'no political soliciting.' " The report went on to say that the superintendent "called the city clerk to advise her of what was happening, at which time the clerk attempted to speak to Ms. Herrera over the phone, but Ms. Herrera declined and refused to speak to her."

Cmdr. Yan Perez instructed the officer at the scene to "place Ms. Herrera under arrest." She was handcuffed and transported to jail, where she was charged with trespassing and resisting an officer without violence.

Milberg said that, when asked why the narrative was added, the commander replied that it was "standard police work."

Herrera believes she is a political target.

"I was going to stand my ground and have my hour that I was approved for," she said. "I wasn't going to let anyone sabotage that hour that I was given."

Herrera has no previous arrest record. She posted bond and is continuing her campaign for election in November.

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