August 1, 2013

Our Neighborhood Bully and His Wife

Florida has what is considered by many as the strongest Anti-Bullying Laws protecting our children in school and on the Internet.  What happens though when the Bully isn't a child but a grown adult?
     Florida Statute HB 699 School Safety, also known as "Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act" defines "Bullying" as a means of systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students and may involve teasing;social exclusion;;threat;intimidation; stalking; physical violence; theft;sexual or racial harassment; public humiliation; or destruction of property.  This law applies to both the students and the employees of a school.  While I wasn't able to find a similar statute regarding bullying of adults I thought this would be a good starting place for my frustrations.
     Let's start with this simple quiz:  Fire and Rescue arrive at your neighbor's house.  You can hear the screams of someone in incredible agony all the way to the street.  Moments later an Ambulance arrives and then very quickly departs with their screaming patient.  Do you
A. Stand with your other neighbors trying to figure out what's going on,
B. Go to the neighbor to see if you can be of assistance.
C. Clear traffic so Emergency Vehicles can easily and quickly depart.
D. Notice that the Ambulance drove on your lawn, detain the crew and complain about the damage.
   Guess what our neighbor did?  
You Guessed It ~ The Answer is D
He pulled the Rescue crew over and complained about the Ambulance driver did to his grass.  


I thought you'd like to see pictures of the damage so I went out to the street. While taking the pictures Mr. Bully came out.   (You may remember him as Anal Andy from an earlier post).  He called to me a couple of times and I wouldn't engage him as we've had words before.  When I didn't answer him he called me an ass.  I then saw Liz, the neighbor from last night and headed her way to ask about her daughter.  At that time Mr. Bully walked over to the side of his yard and yelled is this my fault, pointing to the torn up grass.  My continued refusing to engage seemed to enrage him.  He then started yelling at me.  Derogatory comments about me and my husband were made, fantastical comments about how we keep trash in our yard which is littering(Um OK) and then he really went over the line and commented on how my stroke has really messed me up.  Though it was very hard, no excruciatingly hard I didn't respond at all.  While ranting he noticed that Liz had been standing there stopped screaming, waved at her and walked away. UGGH I am very frustrated because I thought I had my camera recording his tirade but I didn't. I do have my conversation with my neighbor immediately following.  Then it got more fun because his wife came out ~ I have the video but it's really bad as I didn't realize I was recording.  
Unfortunately I only have less than a minute of her going off on us. She continued to tell us the events from last night according to her husband, which she believes to be true.  Per Mr. Bully the crew from the Rescue Truck didn't understand why they other driver would have done that. They told him that they'd report it to the County.  Liz shared a different version with her including how at the hospital the Ambulance Crew was asking what was wrong with her neighbor!
Florida Statute 784.048 defines Harass as the means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which caused substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.  Continuing "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, which evidences a continuity of purpose. 
     A call to our local Public Safety, which connected me to the Communications Department of the Sheriff's office is my only legal course of action.  For 15 years we have lived across from this man and his verbal abuse.  In the past numerous people have filed complaints on him, in recent years we've tried to avoid that.  I asked the Sheriff's department to not come here as I'd rather first talk to an officer by phone.  The Officer who returned my call said we had to start documenting any interactions with him by calling and filing a report.  Even though there is a history we need to have new documentation and from various sources.  I spoke with Liz and she shared other stories of his verbal abuse at her doorstep.  Her children and grandchildren visit often and each has their own story of an encounter. Add to that list all of the Schwann's, FedEx, UPS, Garbage Truck drivers and legions of others who have been accosted by this man we can have him charged with Harassment. We just need everyone to start documenting his behavior.
****Update  In the few hours between my writing this post and running errands with the kids I came home to discover that the bushes you hear me talking to Bully's Wife about are cut down ~LOW 
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