Riviera Beach activist acquitted of crime
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Fane Lozman has made a name for himself literally fighting city hall.
He beat Riviera Beach in the U.S. Supreme Court twice.
Now, Lozman says he is being targeted by State Attorney Dave Aronberg because he has fought corruption in his city and county.
Tuesday, Lozman went to trial on a criminal charge and again it went his way, as the Singer Island activist turned the tables and tried to put Riviera Beach and Palm Beach County’s state attorney on trial.
“This is a waste of your time,” Lozman told jurors at the start of his trial on criminal mischief charges for kicking and damaging a gate on a Singer Island dock near his home. “This is about retaliation for fighting corruption in Riviera Beach.”
Lozman attacked prosecution witnesses, including dock owner Davender Kant, a former Riviera Beach city building official.
“Have you committed homestead fraud?” Lozman asked Kant.
Riviera Beach police arrested Lozman last February.
A woman snapped a picture of Lozman kicking a locked gate near the front of a dock, built by Kant.
According to Lozman, he and not Kant owns the submerged lands beneath the dock.
“And I kicked the gate that had already been damaged and it should not have been there, it was illegally on my property,” Lozman said after the trial.
“This case is about destruction,” countered Assistant State Attorney Nicholas Kaleel. “It is not about who owns the dock.”
However, that argument didn’t wash with Circuit Court Judge Ashley Zukerman, who ordered the charge against Lozman dropped right after prosecutors finished their case.
“This has been harassment by the State Attorney Aronberg,” said Lozman after the trial. “Aronberg and I have gotten into it a few times over the years. And there’s a lot of bad blood between us.”
Late this afternoon, the State Attorney’s Office responded with the following statement:
“These are ridiculous claims. We never pursue cases based on political reasons or personality clashes. We follow the law and that is why we filed charges in this matter. Although we disagree with the judge’s decision today, we respect it.”
Lozman says, his next step is going to Riviera Beach city hall to get the gate on the dock removed.