by Paul Bowers
On Friday evening, a police officer confronted a juvenile about selling palmetto roses without a peddler's permit and ended up arresting him on a disorderly conduct charge.
Under city ordinances, sellers of palmetto roses — woven sweetgrass creations that are often sold to couples on downtown sidewalks — must go through a week-long entrepreneurship class and earn a peddler's permit, which they must display at all times while selling roses. On Friday at 6:15 p.m., a Charleston police officer was dispatched to 54 N. Market St., where a black male juvenile was found holding several palmetto roses in his hand and with no permit in sight. According to an incident report, the juvenile told the officer that he had left his permit at home that day.
The juvenile started walking away when the officer confronted him, saying that the officer "did not have a reason to stop him," according to the report. The officer caught up to the juvenile and grabbed his arm and then his wrist. When the juvenile "began spinning in circles as if he was trying to escape," according to the report, the officer handcuffed the juvenile and sat him down on a bench.
By this time, according to the report, "several market vendors" and some tourists were watching the scene unfold, and the vendors began yelling at the officer to release the juvenile. The juvenile's friends also reportedly began to circle around the officer in an attempt to force the release of their friend, and the officer told everyone to step away.
The officer charged the juvenile with public disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and peddling in a prohibited zone. The juvenile was escorted to his mother's house on America Street and was released after receiving an explanation of family court procedures.