Did NYPD Arrest Former ‘Parks and Rec’ Actor Over George Floyd Statue Vandalism?


In October 2021, several news outlets reported that police New York City police (NYPD) had arrested an actor who once appeared in the popular NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation” in connection with an incident in which a vandal threw paint over a George Floyd statue. 

For example, on Oct. 27, People magazine published an article with the headline “Former Parks and Recreation Actor Arrested for Allegedly Vandalizing George Floyd Statue in N.Y.C.” The story asserted that:

A former Parks and Recreation actor was arrested earlier this month for allegedly vandalizing a statue of George Floyd in New York City. Micah Beals, 37, has been charged with second-degree criminal mischief, the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes division wrote on Twitter Monday.

Beals allegedly rode by the statue on a skateboard and threw gray paint on its face and base on the morning of Oct. 3, police said…As an actor, Beals is known under his stage name: Micah Femia. He has appeared in one episode of Parks and Recreation, as well as an episode of CSI: NY.

Several factors point towards “Micah Femia,” an erstwhile actor who once had a small part in an episode of “Parks and Recreation,” being one and the same person as “Micah Beals,” whom police arrested in New York in October 2021, in connection with the defacement of a Floyd statue.

However, despite extensive research, we have not yet been able to definitively establish that link. Although apparently unlikely, we can’t yet rule out the possibility that the man charged in connection with the defacement of the statue was a different person from the actor. As a result, we are designating this fact check as “Research in Progress.” If and when relevant evidence becomes available, we will update this fact check accordingly. 

What We Know 

According to New York state court records and the NYPD, a “Micah J. Beals” was arrested in the city on Oct. 25 on suspicion of second-degree criminal mischief in connection with the defacement of the Floyd statue in Union Square Park on Oct. 3. Court records show that Beals, whose year of birth is listed as 1984, was released on recognizance — that is, released without bail — after his arrest. 

According to New York state law, second-degree criminal mischief is a Class D felony that carries a potential maximum prison sentence of seven years

The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) profile for “Micah Femia” states that he was “born as Micah Joel Beals,” which would give him the same middle initial, “J,” as the individual arrested in New York on Oct. 25.

On the website of “New York Nuggets,” where Femia advertised his services as a skateboard instructor and arts tutor for children, he described himself as having been “born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan.”

In 2011, Femia played the part of “Len,” a nightclub-goer, during Season 3, Episode 13 of “Parks and Recreation” — “The Fight”: 

In the credits for that episode, his name was listed as “Micah Beals”:

In October 2016, Femia claimed a $5,000 reward offered by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for holding a sign that read “Bill Clinton is a rapist,” while standing in the crowd at Rockefeller Center during the filming of NBC’s “Today” show:

In a subsequent appearance on Jones’ Infowars platform, Femia expressed ardent support for then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, described then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as “pure evil,” and expressed gratitude to god for “working through” Jones and using him as “a vessel.”

New York state court records also show that a “Micah J. Beals,” also with a birth year of 1984, was arrested in the early hours of Oct. 26, on suspicion of violating Section 265.02.08 of the New York Penal Code, which prohibits the possession of a “large capacity ammunition feeding device.” An NYPD spokesperson told Snopes that officers recovered from Beals’ possession a .22-caliber rifle, a high-capacity ammunition feeding device, and ammunition.

Third-degree criminal possession of a weapon — of which Beals faces two counts — is a Class D felony, with a maximum potential sentence of seven years in prison. 

According to the New York City Department of Correction (DOC), Beals was held at the Eric M. Taylor Center in East Elmhurst, Queens, on Oct. 26, and remained there as of Oct. 28. His “nativity” was listed as “Michigan” — the same home state as Femia:

The “Micah J. Beals” arrested in relation to the Floyd statue incident appears to be the same person later arrested on weapons charges. However, we have not yet been able to definitively establish that, despite requesting clarification from the NYPD. 

As a policy, neither the NYPD nor the NYC DOC provides arrest photos, so it has not yet been possible to conduct a visual comparison between the “Micah Femia” who appeared on the television show in 2011 and was interviewed by Infowars in 2016, and the “Micah J. Beals” arrested in October 2021. 

We asked both the NYPD and DOC whether they were aware of “Micah J. Beals” using the alias “Micah Femia.” The DOC said it had no knowledge of any inmate with the name or alias of “Micah Femia,” and the NYPD did not respond to that particular question. 

We also contacted an individual listed in court records as the defense attorney for “Micah J. Beals” in the criminal mischief case. When asked to clarify whether the attorney’s client and “Micah Femia” were the same person, the attorney declined to comment. 

Snopes is continuing to look for definitive evidence of what appears to be the case — that the former actor “Micah Femia” is one and the same person as “Micah J. Beals,” who was arrested in October 2021. If and when relevant evidence becomes available, we will update this fact check accordingly. 


Sources:

Glossary of Terms | NYCOURTS.GOV
. https://ww2.nycourts.gov/COURTS/nyc/criminal/glossary.shtml#ROR. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

 

“Legislation.” NY State Senate, https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/PEN/145.10. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

 

“—.” NY State Senate, https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/PEN/70.00. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

 

“—.” NY State Senate, https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/PEN/265.02. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

 

“Micah Femia.” IMDb, //www.imdb.com/name/nm2047246/. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

 

October 27, Katie Campione, and 2021 11:37 Pm. “Former Parks and Recreation Actor Arrested for Allegedly Vandalizing George Floyd Statue in N.Y.C.” PEOPLE.Com, https://people.com/crime/former-parks-and-recreation-actor-arrested-for-allegedly-vandalizing-george-floyd-statue/. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.



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