Via- WCPO Cincinnati
The Hamilton County Courthouse was closed Tuesday because of a suspicious item in a suitcase. After more than a few hours of investigation by the bomb squad, K-9 units and, the suspicious item was identified as a perfume bottle.
The bottle resembled a World War II ‘pineapple’ grenade, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil.
Deputies said the incident started after a woman came into the courthouse and was flagged by security.
Officials said security flagged the woman, Felicia Brock, after her suitcase went through an X-ray machine and bomb-sniffing dogs later ‘alerted’ when sniffing the case. The alerts indicated that explosive material could be inside the case.
Brock said she had perfume in a suitcase at the courthouse because she is homeless and she brought all of her belongings to court with her.
A bomb squad was called in to investigate at around 8:30 a.m. with K-9 units searched the building as well. A second bomb squad was called in by about 9:15 a.m.
The K-9 unit picked up a scent on the bag, which alerted police at the time. In hindsight, Neil said this could have been due to fertilizer or any chemical that could have touched the bag.
By 10:15 a.m., deputies sent in a robot to the courthouse.
Deputies ordered the evacuation by about 8:15 a.m. and by 11 a.m. officials said they decided to close the courthouse for the day.
Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune said court officials, not police, made the call to close the courthouse for the day, which he said was “the right call.”
However, Brock said she believes she was discriminated against.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” she said. “I just came in here for court minding my own business.”
Brock is homeless and brought all of her belongings into the courthouse, including the perfume in her suitcase. She is also Muslim and wears a hijab headscarf.
Brock said she was questioned for hours and told that she was under arrest, even as she tried to explain.
“I was like ‘There’s nothing in there,'” she said. “‘There’s just perfume and my belongings,’ and they basically discriminated against me. I didn’t do nothing. I just came here for court.”
Neil said he did not see Brock when he arrived and was only concerned with the possible bomb.
Brock said she may consider filing a lawsuit.
Brock has not been charged with any crimes, Neil said, but the investigation is still ongoing.
Court sucks. No two ways around it. No one ever willingly chooses to spend their morning in a courtroom because that just means you’re getting ready to pay an exorbitant amount of money or go to jail or watch a family member go to jail and be relegated to conjugal visits in a prison storeroom for the next 5-10 years. The only thing that could make that experience worse is getting stuck sitting next to some grimy bastard that smells like a pair of sweaty compression shorts after a mile and a half on the treadmill. So I actually really respect Felicia for bringing some classy perfume to the joint and not wanting to smell like the bottom of my apartment complex’s dumpster before garbage day. It’s like those old Febreze commercials where they blindfold some chicks and put them in a room filled with dead fish and dog shit then spray the Febreze and the room smells like a field of lilacs instead of a concentration camp. This is basically the exact same thing but instead of Febreze it’s hand grenade perfume. Forget all this discrimination talk. Felicia is the Rosa Parks of homeless folk. Gone are the days of everyone thinking homeless people smell like a dirty gym bag. In a few years there’s gonna be a statue of Felicia Brock outside the courthouse and soup kitchens will be passing out bottles of hand grenade perfume along with that chicken noodle soup and stale bread they serve every night because homeless people smell fantastic.