HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – One Hollywood resident’s choice of a Halloween costume is causing controversy ahead of ‘Hollyweird’ Saturday night, an annual costume party attracting roughly 5,000 people in downtown Hollywood.
“It was supposed to be fun and lighthearted that we dress up like condos and be a condo canyon. And that’s when I got the call from the police officer,” explains Cat Uden.
That’s when the fun quickly turned to fright for Uden. She told us on the other end of the line was a lieutenant from the Hollywood Police Department.
“He told me he was worried we were having an unlawful demonstration. And, I told him I didn’t consider it a demonstration because it’s a costume party and we’re coming in costume.”
Uden was already on police radar for two permitted protests she planned in opposition to the possibility of a 30-story condo going on public land at the Hollywood Beach Community Center.
Attorney and legal expert David Weinstein chimed in, “It appears she went beyond just intending to show up in a costume and so from their point of view they’ve now seen a post that encouraged others to join her.”
That’s because Uden posted her plans on Facebook to dress as a condo for Hollyweird.
Had she not made that post and not invited people to join her it would’ve been an entirely different situation,” Weinstein said.
Uden insists she was just inviting friends to a costume party, but Hollywood Police didn’t seem to buy it.
Department Spokeswoman Deanna Bettineschi wrote, “Based on Ms. Uden’s social media post, she was notified of the requirement for an application for assembly –parade or demonstration permit, per City Code section 104.02…”
Uden claims police are picking on her because of her previous protests, revealing a final twist which she describes as disturbing.
“Even If I was by myself in a condo costume and I told someone why I was dressed like a condo that it would be considered an unlawful demonstration.
Hollywood Police adding, “While Ms. Uden feels as though she is being ‘picked on’, the post on her personal Facebook page has garnered 21 people interested in participating, and 12 people indicating they are joining her … the Hollywood Police Department has a duty to address this potential demonstration in the same way we would any other unpermitted demonstration…”
Uden says she still plans to attend Hollyweird on Saturday evening and says she has no idea how many, if any, friends plan to join her.