What to Know
- A former U.S. Marine confronted men collecting money in military-style uniforms at an intersection in Miami.
- The veteran, who saw combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, recorded the heated verbal exchange that transpired.
A former U.S. Marine confronted men in military-style uniforms asking for money at a Miami intersection in an alleged case of "Stolen Valor."
"This is stolen valor – stolen valor – that’s what this is. Asking people for money when you’re not a [expletive] veteran," former U.S. Marine Jose Pazos said in the heated exchange.
The incident occurred recently at the intersection of Bird Road and 67th Avenue.
Pazos, who saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, approached the men and after becoming suspicious of their activity.
"You guys can’t be doing that [expletive] here. You can’t be doing that here, OK ... I am actually a combat veteran. You guys are collecting money. That uniform is not your uniform," Pazos said during the incident. "You can’t be collecting money misrepresenting a veteran."
Florida's state government told NBC 6 the men, who told Pazos they represented the nonprofit Veterans and Patriots Citadel Incorporated group, that they did not have the authority to collect funds there.
The Florida Department of Agriculture suspended the authority for Veterans and Patriots Citadel Incorporated to collect donations as a charity on the day of the incident.
Veterans and Patriots Citadel Incorporated told NBC 6 that it was the state's fault their license was suspended, but Florida said the group did not file the correct paperwork to keep its license.
In 2016, a federal appeals court ruled the First Amendment allows people to wear unearned military honors. A man from Idaho was convicted in 2007 of violating the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a misdemeanor to falsely claim military accomplishments.
President George W. Bush signed it into law in 2006, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down in 2012 as a violation of free speech protections.