"You're telling me I have to go live under a bridge?" he said to his officer.

"Look, you can ignore it," Morales remembers him saying, "and if you want to go to jail, that's fine."

He chose to live under the Julia Tuttle, which is far enough away from residential districts that it is largely overlooked. One day last August, however, Morales says, a bridge dweller named Marcos was going to work, rounding the concrete embankment on his way to the highway above. As he lifted his foot over the guardrail, someone lobbed a bottle at him from a car. It shattered on impact and lodged itself in Marcos' shoulder.

"If you left it up to the public," Morales says, "they'd burn us at the stake."