October 24, 1949|
Lexington, Kentucky, United States
|Other names||James Brown|
|Known for||Frequent incarceration|
Henry L. Earl (born October 24, 1949) is a homeless man from Lexington, Kentucky who became a local icon and Internet celebrity due to his extensive police record. Currently the most-arrested individual in the city, Earl has a large fan following within the Lexington area and on the Internet. Nearly all of his arrests have been for minor offenses.
Earl began drinking alcohol as a teenager following the death of his adoptive mother. He became homeless in 1969 and his first arrest came in 1970. From 1992 to 2005 he was arrested nearly 1,000 times. While on the streets he would perform dance moves for money, earning him the moniker "James Brown", referencing the popular soul singer. In a 2005 piece for the Victoria Advocate he is described as being a local icon. Lexington residents have written songs about him, created artwork featuring him, and sold autographed merchandise.
After Earl's mugshots were uploaded to the jail's website, several chat rooms and blogs such as Fark.com began linking to the page in 2004. The significant increase in traffic eventually forced the jail's website to shut down and be replaced with a private website. He soon became the focus of multiple websites and online discussion forums reporting on his arrests and exchanging stories of interactions. Bloggers described him as a "real American hero" and footage of him appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
In 2008, Earl was mistakenly reported to have been arrested for the 1000th time. The judge sentenced him to one thousand days in jail for his 1000th arrest for public intoxication, saying the sentence was "only fair". Following these reports, The Smoking Gun clarified that Earl had actually at that point been arrested 1333 times since his first arrest in 1970. The error was due to online records only going back to 1992. Earl's actual 1000th arrest occurred in 2002.
Since his first arrest, Earl has been arrested over 1,500 times and currently holds the record for most number of times being arrested in Lexington. Due to the multiple arrests, Earl has spent over six thousand days behind bars. Although initially given lighter sentences, causing him to occasionally be arrested dozens of times a year, more recent arrests have led to him receiving months of jail time.
- Henry Earl of Lexington, Kentucky arrested 1267 times ~ News.com.au
- McLaughin, Elliot C. (December 4, 2013). "Most-arrested man to face judge as friends hope for 'Christmas miracle'". CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/04/us/kentucky-henry-earl-most-arrested/.
- "Henry Earl: Setting The Record Straight". The Smoking Gun. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0925082henryearl3.html. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- "Internet loves the man who loves the bottle". The Victoria Advocate. December 25, 2004. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=dqY_AAAAIBAJ&sjid=glYMAAAAIBAJ&pg=7124,5229654.
- Braiker, Brian (February 25, 2004). "Portraits of the Town Drunk". Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/portraits-town-drunk-131555.
- Henry Earl checks into rehab at Hope Center after deal - Kentucky.com
- "Lexington Man Arrested 1,000 Times". WBKO. http://www.wbko.com/home/headlines/29698169.html. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- Henry Earl, Arrested More Than 1500 Times, In Jail Again - Huffington Post