Operation Clean Streets hits roadblock, state attorney’s office won’t file formal charge

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Thu, June 23rd 2022, 7:56 PM EDT)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — The mayor of West Palm Beach started Operation Clean Streets more than two-and-a-half years ago to curb illegal dumping.

Operation Clean Streets has a dedicated task force. It’s made up of people in environmental compliance, code enforcement, and local, county and state law enforcement.

And tipsters giving information leading to an arrest could even get a reward of up to $500. Not too shabby.

The city reported that at the beginning of the month, more than 171,560 lbs. (86 tons) of garbage was gone and 10 people had been arrested.

One of them was Arthur Harmon, who owns a landscaping business outside of West Palm Beach, in Greenacres.

Arthur Harmon was charged with illegally dumping in West Palm Beach, May 19, 2022. (Palm Beach Co. Sheriff’s Office)

The police department put out a news release that said, “A witness saw a landscaping truck dump two loads of garbage on private property” and that “police and code compliance officers responded to the location and found a pile of garbage, about 15 by 20 feet wide and five feet high.” CBS12 News reported that.

So, whatever happened to Mr. Harmon?

It turns out, he spent Thursday morning in court. His case lasted one minute, from 9:06 to 9:07 a.m. Anybody can see it on the one-page form. Why such little time?

Mr. Harmon showed up to fight his felony charge, but he didn’t have to lift a finger. The words “No File Per State” means the state attorney’s office would not be pursuing a conviction.

Case closed.

Mr. Harmon even called CBS12 News to make sure we’re as diligent in updating the public as we were reporting the case the first time. And the second.

So, we are.

Arthur Harmon, who was charged with illegally dumping in West Palm Beach, will not be convicted after the state attorney’s office decided not to pursue the case. (Arthur Harmon)

Plus, he followed up with an email that contained a request: “I would also like an apology from the police department as well as the city of West Palm Beach.”

He didn’t say why, but we’ll be sure to pass that along if we see or hear it.

And what about the mayor and “Operation Clean Streets” with its dedicated task force?

CBS12 News brought it to the attention of Mayor Keith James.

He put out this statement: “If true, this is a disappointing development. By curbing illegal dumping, the City aims to improve quality of life, promote public safety and attract economic investment to our community for the benefit of residents in all neighborhoods. The City will continue to enforce any and all illegal dumping laws.”

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