The Hash House Harriers are an interesting clan. They drink, then run, then drink, then run, and then drink some more every week. Based (except with booze) on the children's game Hares and the Hound, one person, the hare, sets up a flour trail and waits for the rest of the group to chase after him. Founded by British expats in Kuala Lumpur in 1938, the group now has outposts all around the world, including Fort Lauderdale.
I recently ran with Fort Lauderdale's hash near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Dania Beach. In hindsight, running and drinking past the airport was not the best idea -- especially since provocative TSA costumes were involved. But most of the runners seemed unfazed even as cop sirens sounded, until one member of the group, 24-year-old Arthur Stifel, was handcuffed for trespassing. We thought it was horribly unjust. But now, I have learned, it wasn't Stifel's first arrest.
The incident report from that evening states that Stifel, who didn't respond to calls seeking comment, had been collared for something similar last year. And while he was drinking, dressed provocatively, and trespassing, we found that prior incident to be not hash-related. (That doesn't make it any less awesome.)
Beginning with a drag queen and eventually leading to Tasers, tear gas, a baton, and leg shackles, Stifel's tomfoolery last September wasn't sanctioned by the law then, anymore than it was at the airport.
Allegedly under the influence of alcohol, Stifel -- who declined comment for this story -- danced in a thong at Sandbar on Fort Lauderdale beach -- a decision he surely regretted in the morning -- and then got kicked out and arrested for trespassing when he refused to leave.
Seventeen pages long, the report on the event filed by Officer J. Jones is descriptive. It explains that Stifel was thrown out for allegedly looking up the skirts of drag queens participating in a drag show that night at the bar. He was wearing "only a thong pair of underwear," according to the report.
On the seawall across from McSorley's Bar, still decked out in nothing but his thong, Stifel danced as a crowd flocked around him. He reappeared later at Parrot Lounge, where officers found him seated and drinking a beer by himself.
Officer J. Jones did not seem to find the humor in Stifel's scantily clad antics: They approached the seated harrier and asked him to leave. Stifel refused, which led both officers to attempt to handcuff him for trespassing.
Two-to-one on a not-sober, thong-wearing 23-year-old beanpole (the report lists him at six-foot-three and 170 pounds), the two officers could not get their metal bracelets on him. Some thrashing ensued, and the three men fell.
Stifel then bit and scratched the officers, which led to "scratches, soreness, and minor swelling on [Officer Jones'] wrist." Fortunately for Jones, Stifel did not have rabies at the time.
Wounded from Stifel's claws and fangs, Officer Jones then Tasered Stifel in the chest. This had no effect. Officer Jones then Tasered Stifel in the arm. This had no effect either.
Jones' partner, Officer Burke, then began to beat Stifel the old-fashioned way: with this "department approved" baton. Stifel continued scratching and biting the officers. Officer Burke then sprayed tear gas into Stifel's face, which had only "a slight effect" on his vision.
After the Taser, the baton, and the tear gas, the officers managed to handcuff Stifel before snipers had to be called in. They shackled his legs for good measure.
Stifel was then chauffeured to the Broward Main Jail, where we hope he was dressed in more than his undergarments.
Records suggest Stifel was placed on probation.
Update: After hearing back from the Fort Lauderdale's hash "hare raiser", Virgin Dick, a post went up clearing some things up.
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