Florida Prison Warden Snatches Camera from Man Recording Outside Facility (Updated)

An assistant warden at a private prison snatched a camera out of a man’s hands as he was video recording on public property from across the street of the facility Saturday afternoon.

George Dedos, assistant warden at Lake City Youthful Offender Facility in northern Florida, essentially committed strong-armed robbery against Jeffrey Gray, a Photography is Not a Crime correspondent who was out there to see if they would respect his right to video record from public property.

As you can see in the top video, it only took seconds before he was confronted by prison officials, who tried to tell him he was breaking the law.




Gray had a back-up camera in his pocket which continued recording after his first camera had been snatched – which is highly recommended if you are going to put yourself in these situations.

Dedos called Columbia County sheriff’s deputies who ended up returning Gray’s camera, but who also refused to provide him with the name of the assistant warden.

Gray later called the facility to confirm his name, then called Dedos who hung up on him.

A deputy asked Gray to see his identification but Gray refused on the basis that he wasn’t being detained on suspicion of committing a crime, so the deputy obtained his name through a license plate search because he was standing next to his car.

A deputy also advised Gray that next time he found himself in such a situation, it is probably best if he cooperated and turned off the camera.

But Gray pointed out that the camera was the only thing protecting him.

As it is now, the two videos will be the strongest piece of evidence in a possible lawsuit Gray may file against Dedos and the Lake City Youthful Offender Facility, which is owned by Corrections Corporations of America, the largest private jailer in the country, a company that makes millions on the imprisonment of citizens.

Because it is a private company, Dedos or CCA should not be able to argue for qualified immunity as a government agency would normally do in a situation like this (not that it would have a strong argument).

Over the years, Corrections Corporations of America has had its share of controversy and just last month lost its contract with Idaho for falsifying records.

But this may be the first time it finds itself in controversy over an incident that took place outside its prison walls.

UPDATE: Besides Idaho, Texas and Mississippi have also terminated contracts with CCA.

Idaho cut ties with the corporation on Wednesday, which turned the state’s largest prison into a violent hellhole inmates called “Gladiator School.” Earlier this year, CCA was caught understaffing the prison and using prison gangs to control the population. The company admitted to falsifying nearly 4,800 hours of staffing records to squeeze more money out of the state for nonexistent security work. Shift logs at the prison showed the same security guards working for 2 to 3 days at a time without breaks.

Last week, Texas closed two CCA prisons, including one with a history of suspicious prisoner deaths. One lawsuit alleges prison staff ignored an inmate’s cries for medical assistance, forcing her to give birth in a prison toilet to a baby that died four days later.

CCA was also booted from Mississippi earlier this month after multiple deadly riots over poor food and sanitation, lack of medical care, and mistreatment by guards.



About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • Kirkus1964

    So, what happened in the end? Update?

  • FSUAric

    856.021 Loitering or prowling; penalty.—

    (1) It is unlawful for any person to loiter or prowl in a place, at a time or in a manner not usual for law-abiding individuals, under circumstances that warrant a justifiable and reasonable alarm or immediate concern for the safety of persons or property in the vicinity.

    (2) Among the circumstances which may be considered in determining whether such alarm or immediate concern is warranted is the fact that the person takes flight upon appearance of a law enforcement officer, refuses to identify himself or herself, or manifestly endeavors to conceal himself or herself or any object. Unless flight by the person or other circumstance makes it impracticable, a law enforcement officer shall, prior to any arrest for an offense under this section, afford the person an opportunity to dispel any alarm or immediate concern which would otherwise be warranted by requesting the person to identify himself or herself and explain his or her presence and conduct. No person shall be convicted of an offense under this section if the law enforcement officer did not comply with this procedure or if it appears at trial that the explanation given by the person is true and, if believed by the officer at the time, would have dispelled the alarm or immediate concern.

  • pinbalwyz

    Actually, many state prison systems have been using inmate gangs to control and intimidate their population for years. i.e. This isn’t new.

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