ST. PETERSBURG — Justin Bean topped the crowded field of City Council District 6 hopefuls in the Aug. 29 primary.
He also snagged the endorsements of former City Council member and chair Bill Dudley, as well as Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni. Additionally, the Tampa Bay Times recommended him for the seat.
But now the 30-year-old candidate finds himself answering questions about his past. A previously undisclosed 2010 run-in with the law was reported by tampabaybeat.info on Sept. 26.
Records show that in 2010 he was issued a citation for a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence.
Bean’s 2013 arrest on a misdemeanor charge of DUI was reported by the Times in April. But no record of the 2010 incident exists in the three Florida Department of Law Enforcement criminal history reports the Times obtained for Bean since April 12.
According to a Lakeland Police Department report, officers responded to a complaint of trespassing in a parking lot of Florida Southern College on Oct. 8. 2010. The officer said he asked Bean five times to provide his identification, the report said, but Bean refused, saying he was not a student. The college’s security asked police to order Bean to leave the campus.
The officer asked Bean to walk to his patrol vehicle to finish up the trespassing paperwork. Instead, the report said, Bean walked away and ignored the officer’s commands. That’s when the officer wrote in the report that they placed Bean “under arrest.”
However, Bean was not actually arrested or booked into jail. He was issued a citation ordering him to appear in court. While the 2010 incident does not appear in FDLE records, it is listed in Polk County court records.
Those records show he pleaded no contest to the charge on Dec. 14, 2010, and the judge withheld adjudication, which means Bean was not convicted of the offense. He was fined $320.50 and by March 2011 paid a total of $385.50, including court costs to resolve the case.
Bean, who was 23 at the time and attending a concert, said that in hindsight he should have obeyed the officer.
“I was young and I made a mistake and should have just given him my identification and I chose to question why and that was the wrong decision,” he said.
“I think as a leader, I can take my past experiences and use them to help relate to people in my district and make better decisions relating to them.”
Gina Driscoll, 46, who is running against Bean for the District 6 seat, said her campaign has not focused on his run-ins with the law, but with the issues important to the district.
“My concern is that’s not really leadership,” she said of the 2010 citation. “I think it is important for people to know the whole record, the whole story.”