Wearing masks and bulletproof vests and with guns drawn, police in Orange County, Florida conducted the SWAT-style raid. Although the team included narcotics agents, they weren’t conducting a drug bust. They weren’t looking for illegal weapons or stolen merchandise either. They were on a mission to see if barbers were cutting hair without a license:
The officers ordered all the customers to leave, announcing that the shop was “closed down indefinitely.” They handcuffed the owner, Brian Berry, and two barbers who rented chairs from him, then proceeded to search the work stations and a storage room. They demanded the barbers’ driver’s licenses and checked for outstanding warrants. One of the inspectors, Amanda Fields, asked for the same paperwork she had seen two days earlier, going through the motions of verifying (again) that the barbers were not cutting hair without a license (a second-degree misdemeanor). Finding no regulatory violations or contraband, the officers released Berry and the others after about an hour.
According to Reason, two inspectors from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation had already visited the Strictly Skillz Barbershop in Orlando and found everything in order. All of the barbers were properly licensed, and all of the work stations complied with state regulations. Yet despite the agency only being able to conduct such inspections once every two years, the agency brought over a half dozen cops with them two days later to conduct another inspection.
Fortunately, a federal appeals court recently ruled that “a criminal raid executed under the guise of an administrative inspection is constitutionally unreasonable.” The court had come to the same conclusion two times before, so the justices added, “”We hope that the third time will be the charm.”