A Miami Beach man, arrested this week on charges he threatened
to blow up an electronics store, was the victim either of a misguided
investigation or a misunderstanding, an advocacy group said Friday.
Plantation police, however, said the arrest was made only after a complete
investigation, and the Broward County State Attorney's Office said it was
reviewing the case before filing formal charges, as is common.
The arrest Tuesday of Taiser Okashah, 43, after a June 3 exchange that was
reported to the police on June 5, was troubling, said Altaf Ali, executive
director of the Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"The community is very concerned that a very humble member of the
community, for asking a question about a rebate, can be put in jail," Ali
said during a news conference. Okashah, a Muslim, was being held without
bond at Broward County Jail. He was charged by Plantation police with
threatening to detonate an explosive.
According to Ali, an arrest affidavit and a police report, the incident
began at 7:30 p.m. June 3, when Okashah went to the Best Buy store at 12301
W. Sunrise Blvd. and encountered sales representative Alejaundro
Schnakofsky. After discussing the purchase of a laptop computer, Okashah
questioned whether he would get the rebate.
Schnakofsky said in a sworn statement that Okashah said, "I am going to
come back and blow up this place if I do not get my money this time."
But Okashah never introduced the idea of a bomb, according to Ali. "All he
said was, 'These rebates are a big lie,' and it appears the clerk
misunderstood that statement," Ali said..