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This candidate was campaigning door-to-door. Then the police helicopter came.


Wearing a campaign T-shirt bearing his own name, Roosevelt McClary was walking down Northwest 46th Avenue in Lauderdale Lakes, knocking on doors and handing out campaign literature when Broward Sheriff’s deputies driving unmarked cars paid him an unexpected visit.

The Lauderdale Lakes City Commission candidate was told to sit down and show his identification.

And then the police helicopter came.

The 10-minute encounter — sparked Wednesday when McClary set off an alarm at a house where no one was home — was streamed live by the 30-year-old candidate, who says he turned on his smart phone camera when he began to feel threatened. Police and the homeowner say the entire situation appears to have been an unfortunate misunderstanding. But at a time when literally thousands of candidates and volunteers are door-knocking around the country, McClary feels like he was racially profiled.

“I don’t see why there’s a whole bunch of detectives and police cars out there, helicopters,” McClary said in an interview. “They had dogs out there!”

The ordeal began around 12:15, after McClary, a full-time member of the Broward Teacher’s Union executive board, says he decided to spend his lunch break on the campaign trail. He’s running for Seat 1 in Lauderdale Lakes, a majority-black city of roughly 40,000 in central Broward County.

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