Broward News

Man Wants to Slackline on Fort Lauderdale Beach, but Cops Won't Let Him

Benjamin Prows settled a pirate mask over his brown eyes, took a deep breath, and tiptoed out onto the slackline -- nothing but 12 feet of air between him and the ground. Anything but a conformist, Prows dresses like Jack Sparrow, juggles daily, and lives on a 65-foot catamaran. But as this most unusual South Florida character eased across the slackline on March 23, he was treated as just another criminal.

"Come out of that tree!" a cop bellowed, as a crowd of several dozen swelled around four Fort Lauderdale Police officers glowering up at Prows. "Come out of the tree! If you don't come down, you'll be charged with obstruction of justice!"

"Please," yelled the tall and scraggly Prows from his beach overlook along A1A's main Fort Lauderdale strip. "Please don't arrest me, and I'll come down." But as soon as Prows' feet touched sand, a brown-haired cop jerked Prows' long arms behind his back, cuffed him, and thrust him inside a squad car.

A blond woman in aviator sunglasses looked to her boyfriend. "Seriously," she wondered, "why is that illegal?"

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Terrence McCoy