SHOULD THE POLICE BE ATTENDING YOUR MEETINGS?
Eric Glazer, Esq.
Published November 16, 2015
I have been to some real nasty association meetings
over the last 23 years. Iíve personally been cursed at,
screamed at, yelled at and insulted. My wife can sometimes get
All kidding aside, Iíve attended meetings where
control was totally lost and violence erupted. It happened more
than once and each time there was not a police officer present
at the meeting. Iíve seen both board members threatened and
owners threatened by other owners. Unfortunately, this
sometimes happens. The most violent meeting I ever attended was
in a 55 and over community where canes and walkers were being
thrown. It was crazy. The rehab and Medicare bills the next
day were probably as much as the associationís budget.
A few years ago I was attending an annual meeting in
Hallandale. There was an officer present. The meeting ran
until about 1:00 in the morning. There was a guy who was
sitting in the second row and nobody really knew who he was. He
looked like he was staring into space the entire 5 hours and
never said a word. That is, until it was time to announce the
winners. All of a sudden the guy awoke from his stupor and
charged me. He was obviously high, and started screaming at me
almost nose to nose that I was his lawyer in Spanish and that I
should do what he said to do. The police officer at first did
nothing. So, I told the police officer that if he doesnít get
this nut to back up, Iím going to back him up. At that moment,
the police officer went into action and screamed at the guy to
ďtake three steps backward away from the attorney immediately.Ē
The guy didnít move. The police officer then yelled, ďIf you
donít want to spend tonight in the Broward County Jail, take
three steps back from the attorney immediately.Ē The guy still
The Ombudsmanís Office happened to have been
monitoring this election. The election monitor was certainly
nervous and asked if she could please speak to the man in
Spanish first. She said a few words, the guy blew some kisses
into the air and then left. When the meeting ended, the police
officer walked me to my car. I have no idea what would have
happened if the officer wasnít there, but no question in my mind
that either me or the nut would have gotten hurt.
Last year, at a condominium in Boca Raton, a guy got
up from his chair, walked over to my table and told me to get up
and go home because he was going to handle the election instead
of me. I calmly told him that if he so much as touches an
envelope Iím calling the police. To show off for the crowd, he
proceeded to deliberately touch all of the envelopes. Bad
move. I called the cops. They came in riot gear and escorted
him out. They guy was frightened out of his mind. I then
calmly finished the election.
Now, lots of associations are hiring police officers to attend
their meetings. They do it to try and keep the peace. Others
argue to the contrary, that the Board use these officers as
their own personal bodyguards to squash anyone who dares to
raise any opposition to their personal platform. In fact, they
ask these officers to kick people out of the meeting if they
dare exercise their statutory right to speak. Others are simply
insulted by the fact that their Board thinks that their
neighbors need the police to keep them under control.
Hereís what I knowÖÖ Meetings sometime get out of
hand and itís a good thing that police officers are often times
present to prevent the situation from truly getting ugly. There
also may be a liability question here for the association.
Suppose violence has happened a few times at your meetings?
Itís certainly foreseeable that it may happen again. Therefore,
the Board may be forced to get police protection at all future
meetings because if they donít and violence does break out,
there is certainly a negligence claim to be levied against the
association and its Board members should someone get hurt.
Cops at your meetingsÖ.. a good idea or one that
simply goes too far?
HOA & Condo Blog
Eric Glazer graduated from
the University of Miami School of Law in 1992 after
receiving a B.A. from NYU. He has practiced community
association law for more than 2
decades and is the owner of Glazer
and Associates, P.A. a seven attorney law firm with offices in
Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and satellite offices in Naples,
Fort Myers and Tampa.
Since 2009, Eric has been the host
of Condo Craze and HOAs, a weekly one hour radio show that airs
at noon each Sunday on 850 WFTL.
He is the first attorney in the
State of Florida that designed a course that certifies
condominium residents as eligible to serve on a condominium
Board of Directors and has now certified more than 10,000
Floridians all across the state. He is certified as a Circuit
Court Mediator by The Florida Supreme Court and has mediated
dozens of disputes between associations and unit owners. Eric
also devotes significant time to advancing legislation in the
best interest of Florida community association members.