MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Kimberlee Falkenstine was arrested again over the weekend after she and two other people held a protest on South Beach, demanding that local beaches be reopened amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Falkenstine, 33, spoke to Local 10 News reporter Christina Vazquez on Tuesday outside a library where Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference, and said that she hopes the governor will intervene to get her charges dropped.
“I face almost 2 ½ years of jail time for that. My charges have not been dropped,” she told Vazquez, adding that no citizens should face jail time for these kind of infractions.
Do you remember this #Mothersday #Beach protester? I just ran into her while leaving @GovRonDeSantis news conference. She says she wants the Governor to drop the charges against her. In her own words: 👇 Background: https://t.co/5aP0yvv58Y pic.twitter.com/6D5WzTcKLS— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) May 26, 2020
Falkenstine was originally arrested on Mother’s Day after Miami Beach police said she left a designated protest area at Lummus Park to protest on the sand while holding a sign that read “We are free.”
According to her arrest report, three officers approached Falkenstine, told her she was violating the city’s emergency orders and gave her several opportunities to leave the beach, which is currently closed to the public.
Authorities said Falkenstine told the officers that “the beach was for the public and it was her right to be there.”
***Video courtesy of Chris Nelson***
BRAVE WOMAN GETS ARRESTED ON MIAMI BEACH. #Miami #ReOpenFlorida #LiberatetheBeachPosted by Chris Nelson on Sunday, May 10, 2020
According to the arrest report, officers warned Falkenstine that refusing to leave would result in her arrest, but she informed them that she was aware of the consequences and would not comply with their orders.
Police said Falkenstine and two others, identified as Tara Hill and Art Johnson, were arrested this past Saturday after returning to the closed beach to hold a protest.
Again, police said Falkenstine and the two other protesters were given several opportunities to leave, but they refused to do so.
Falkenstine, Hill and Johnson faces multiple charges, including resisting an officer without violence, trespassing and violating an emergency order.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help with the trio’s legal bills.
Falkenstine maintains that holding a protest on the beach is within their rights and that they broke no laws.
“What our efforts were focused on was highlighting a constitutional issue right now, OK? We were within our First Amendment rights to protest on the beach,” Falkenstine said. “The beach does not belong to the governor, it does not belong to the mayor, it does not belong to anyone but the people. It’s public property.
“They cannot rope it off, they cannot charge us for trespassing, and any mandate, any ordinance, even any law -- and these were not laws that were violated -- but even any law that goes against our constitutional rights is null and void and should be resisted.”