Halloween Havoc: NSB cops crack down on public drinking on Flagler Avenue during 'New Smyrna-ween Creepy Crawl'

Show Me the Money New Smyrna Beach Investigative Reports / Headline Surfer

Public drinking on Fl;abler Avenue in New Smyrna Beach being tackled by cops / Headline SurferNew Smyrna Beach Police Chief George Markert cracking down on public drinking / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer photos by Henry Frederick / Scenes like this bar patron drinking a beer on the public sidewalk in front of the Om Bar on Flagler Avenue during the 2011 New Smyrna Ween -- Halloween Creepy Crawl on Flagler Avenue, are no longer being tolerated by Police Chief George Markert, shown here at left, who was hired as New Smyrna Beach's top cop last Spring.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- For the past five years, patrons attending the six annual alcohol-fueled street festivals sponsored by the Merchants of Flagler Avenue Hospitality Group and paid for with tax dollars have been able to drink in public without impunity from the cops. But all that changed Halloween night.

New Smyrna Beach Police, under strict orders from Police Chief George Markert, cracked down on public drinking during the "New Smyrna-ween - Creepy Crawl," Notices to appear were issued to three people on a misdemeanor charge of possession of an open container of alcohol. And one of those ticketed was a juvenile.

A fourth person, Joshua G. Ayers, 22, of New Smyrna Beach, was arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana drug possession charge on Flagler Avenue and transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach. He bonded out the following afternoon after a first appearance.

Perhaps police might have issued more citations, but the Creepy Crawl event was sparsely attended, as has been the case in the past with locals from New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater barhopping.

 

Headline Surfer®/NSBNews videos produced by Multimedia Editor Serafina Frederick / the 2011 New Smyrna Beach Chilli & Chaps and New Smyrna-ween Creepy Crawl were sparsely attended despite $13,000 in CRA advertising for the sponsor, the Flagler Avenue Merchants Hospitality Group, where illegal public drinking was rampant and ignored by the cops.

Markert could not be reached for comment on Friday, but in a previous interview with Headline Surfer®, Markert, hired in April, said he would not look the other way on public drinking, regardless of public perception that the police had turned a blind eye.

"Whatever happened before, I can't say because I wasn't here," Markert told the 24/7 internet newspaper.

"Whatever happened before, I can't say because I wasn't here," New Smyrna Beach Police Chief George Markert told the 24/7 internet newspaper.

NSB Creepy Cawl banner / Headline Surfer®Arrest on Halloween in NSB / Headline Surfer®Party's on Flagler / Headline Surfer® Headline Surfer® graphics / The New Smyrna-ween Creepy Crawl event is promoted by the Merchants of Flagler Avenue Hospitality group and its monikor, "Party on Flagler."

Joshua Ayers, shown in this jail mug snapshot, was among those cited by New Smyrna Beach police.

Markert met with Headline Surfer® at the police station two weeks after the New Smyrna Beach Shrimp and Seafood Festival on Flagler, during which the internet newspaper's publisher was accosted by Traders bar owner Dave Fernandez and several of his friends while trying to shoot video of Fernandez's bar, which was serving alcohol on the public sidewalk in front of his bar without a permit during a dry event.

Headline Surfer called police who took a report, but did not cite Fernandez for the illegal beer garden. Markert acknowledged mistakes were made and said in the wake of that incident, he's reviewing the city's policies and procedures and that of his own police force to ensure it won't happen again.

Markert said he understood and respected Headline Surfer's investigative reports on the extent of public drinking on Flagler and the politics behind it. 

Headline Surfer® has chronicled the public drinking on Flagler since 2009, with Mayor Adam Barringer leading the way in providing upwards of $2 million in CRA taxpayer-supported funding for bars and advertising of the the related alcohol-fueled street festivals on Flagler. The mayor even secured $60,000 in CRA funds for improvements to Traders bar owned by boyhood friend Fernandez, well known to law enforcement and the criminal courts.

Mayor Barringer and City Manager Pamela Brangaccio are both the subject of multiple investigations by the Florida Commission on Ethics. Neither returned messages for comments on this story, in line with their silence dating back close to a year now.

NSB Mayor Adam Barringer facing ethics complaints / Headline SurferNSB City Manager Pam Brangaccio facing ethics violations / Headline SurferMayor Barringer and City Manager Pamela Brangaccio are both the subject of multiple investigations by the Florida Commission on Ethics. Neither returned messages for comments on this story, in line with their silence dating back close to a year now.

The municipal cash flow of tax dollars culminated in the DUI-related crash death of 34-year-old Riccilynn Rigoli of Port Orange and mother of three young girls, who had been drinking in a bar at Cinco de Mayo before slamming into the median concrete on the South Causeway Bridge and her Ford pick-up truck landing on top of her after she was ejected in the subsequent rollover.

Headline Surfer videos by Henry Frederick / Traders bar own Dave Fernandez and three of his associates did their best to try and prevent the 24/7 internet newspaper from shooting video of his outdoor beer garden on the public street during the Aug. 14 Shrimp and Seafood Festival on Flagler Avenue.

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Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories narly eveenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in Wst Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.