The man accused of taking an AK-47 rifle to a Key Biscayne shop and later leading police on a dangerous chase pleaded not guilty Tuesday, and a tentative trial date was set for Dec. 4.
Ashanti Earp, 31, did not appear in person, but his attorney entered the plea on his behalf. Additional charges filed by another agency were set for a future arraignment date,
Circuit Judge William Altfield read the Key Biscayne charges, which include aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and resisting arrest without violence. After setting the trial date, Altfield told the prosecutor: “Let’s hope we get an offer by then.”
Police and witnesses said Earp had the weapon with him when he entered the Pita Pockets restaurant in Key Biscayne and got into a shouting match with the shop owner.
At the time of the September incident, Earp had been on probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor weapons charge. The terms of the probation prohibited him from possessing or carrying a weapon.
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.