Tired of being carted off Playalinda Beach in handcuffs, the Central Florida Naturists are asking a federal judge to strip Brevard County Sheriff's deputies of the power to patrol the beach.
This is hardly news, the nudists' legal battles with authorities dating back more than a decade [see "Butts, Seriously," May 29]. But the group's latest approach -- a federal lawsuit aimed at Sheriff Phil Williams, and no one else -- seems to have gotten his attention.
Last March, Williams himself hovered in a helicopter above the beach at the Canaveral National Seashore as deputies in all-terrain vehicles startled a beachful of nudists, eventually carting about 40 off to jail. In the months that followed, more sun-bathers were arrested.
But last week, Commander Jimmy Jackson, Williams' point man on nudist operations, acknowledged the lawsuit might mellow the department's approach. "Because of the lawsuit being filed, we have to sit down and re-evaluate the situation," Jackson says. "Right now, we're not really sure what we're going to do."