Daiquiri Rene Jones, a New Orleans resident, was arrested by Broward Sheriff's Office deputies on a felony bench warrant as he tried to board a cruise ship with his family November 21 in Fort Lauderdale, according to his sibling Toni Jones.
Jones' attorney, Michele Rayner-Goolsby, says his passport was flagged with a warrant for failure to appear. He was extradited to Hillsborough County, where he was booked into jail December 2 with no bail amount posted.
Jones is facing charges of felony battery on a police officer and misdemeanor trespassing stemming from a protest he participated in with the Occupy Tampa movement in 2011.
The Occupy movement, which began September 17, 2011, in New York City's Zuccotti Park, rapidly spread to hundreds of cities in more than 80 nations and raised global awareness about economic inequality.
Jones, now 31 years old, was arrested December 1, 2011, after he and at least 30 others were rounded up during a World AIDS Day vigil at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
He had been arrested three other times on trespassing charges prior to that incident, the Tampa Tribune reported.
According to the Tribune, Hillsborough County Court Judge Paul Jeske issued Jones a warning in 2011.
"You go home today," Jeske said. "But if you go back and are arrested, you will be facing jail while your case is pending. I'm putting the gavel in your hands."
Jones was offered pretrial intervention, a diversion program that allows charges to be dismissed upon completion. But the paperwork somehow didn't reach Jones for several years, Rayner-Goolsby says, so the case was reopened and a warrant was issued.
Rayner-Goolsby says Jones hasn't run afoul of the law since then despite not receiving the court's paperwork. "He hadn't been in any trouble," she says. "It wasn't like he was being reckless."
The Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office didn't respond to New Times' request for more details.
A GoFundMe page set up for Jones' legal expenses has raised more than $5,000.
Jones appeared before a judge yesterday. As of this morning, he remains in jail.
Rayner-Goolsby says Jones is being given another chance to get his charges dismissed by completing the pretrial intervention program through community service. She adds that Jones won't be allowed to choose the type of work he performs for the program but that he will able to complete it in New Orleans.