Sex Offenders Live in Village Under Miami Bridge

When Book asked him about his time in prison, Barkley was particularly defiant.

"OK, I was sentenced to 10 years followed by five years of probation," he said. "And my question is, 17 years later, I'm still punished."

ACLU Mounts Legal Challenge

Book said he knows some people think his two roles -- the man who helped create the village under the bridge, and the man given the job of solving the problem -- are irreconcilable.

"I wear these two hats," Book said. "I wear this hat advocating for laws that I believe protect children. I wear this hat, solver of homeless problems in our community."

With legal pressure mounting, the makeshift community may not be around much longer. The ACLU has filed a motion in circuit court asking that the local ordinances be invalidated and just the state 1,000-foot law be allowed to stand.

But Book and Diaz, his partner on the county commission, said they believe the ordinance should stand.

"Look, I've not been bashful about my feelings about people who commit offenses against children," Book said. "I have referred to them as monsters. Everyone under the bridge knows that."

Barkley said he, like his fellow causeway residents, has done his time and is being punished excessively.

"I am not a monster. I'm a human being," Barkley said. "I got family like you got family. ... I don't deserve this. Regardless of what a person did, everyone deserves a second chance at life. If you felt like these guys did something so gross, then you should have sentenced them to life. You don't just cast them out. It's just not right."

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