Jeff Gray has been getting detained so much lately that I haven’t been able to keep this blog updated on his escapades.
But fortunately, a young journalist based in Florida took notice and decided to do a profile on Gray, who operates the popular HONORYOUROATH Youtube channel where he posts frequent videos of law enforcement officers not honoring their oath.
Ethan Magoc has only been at WUFT News since May after graduating with a masters degree in journalism from the University of Florida, but if you check out his portfolio, you can tell he has a very solid nose for journalism, which is why he drove an hour north to interview Gray in front of the Lake City prison where he was assaulted by a warden last month for video recording.
After Magoc reached out to Gray for an interview, Gray invited him to the location where he had been assaulted for a picnic along with his 13-year-old son, who video recorded Magoc’s interview with Gray, which you can see above, proving that he already is more transparent than grizzled news veterans like CBS Miami’s Brian Andrews, who threw a fit when I tried to video record an interview in May.
Magoc is a modern-day journalist in that he writes, takes photos and shoots video. A multimedia journalist just as he describes himself in his bio. Most old-time journalists are unable to do that, which is why so many of them are struggling these days.
Granted, it would be preferable to allow journalists to focus on one thing to improve quality and thoroughness but these are the times we live in, so we must adapt in order to survive.
From Magoc’s piece that ran last week on WUFT:
Gray models the tactics of outlets like CopBlock.org and PINAC, or Photography is Not a Crime, based in Miami for which he is a correspondent. He tries to show viewers how to react to police in tense, real-life situations.
“I have gotten a little more daring… a lot more confident in myself,” Gray said. “I make sure what I’m doing is 100 percent legal before I do it.”
The tactics bring him cop scrutiny, but he seems to know exactly where the line is.
If he’s abiding the law on foot, and an officer asks for his identification, he can say no. And he does.
If he maintains distance from police operations, he can record an entire arrest or traffic stop.
And if he stands on public land while recording a prison, he’ll keep rolling even if a camera goes down.
WUFT, which is based out of the University of Florida, is also the North Central Florida affiliate for NPR and PBS. Listen to his radio piece on Gray here.
So what’s the latest with Gray?
On Saturday, he was detained for video recording outside the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, which seems to be a trend lately, even though there is no law against video recording or photographing a public building from a public space.
One of the deputies thought he had a knife in his pocket, which prompted another deputy to frisk him and pull it out, only to realize it was a flashlight.
A lieutenant arrived on the scene and had enough sense that the deputies were wasting their time because Gray had not been doing anything suspicious. Check out the video below.
Two weeks earlier, he was confronted and detained by Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies because he was open carrying a handgun while fishing, which is permissible under Florida law.
When they saw he was video recording, a deputy Griffin informed him that he was committing a felony by audio recording his voice without consent, so he took Gray’s camera and turned it off.
Fortunately, Gray had a back-up audio recorder in his back pocket, which allowed him to continue recording.
He was handcuffed and detained for 45 minutes before a lieutenant showed up and let him go.
Not only was he audio recording them without their knowledge, which is not against the law because they did not have an expectation of privacy in public, he was already listening to their scanner traffic through an iPhone police scanner app, which are effective as long as the agency doesn’t scramble its frequency.
The iPhone was in his back pocket along with his back-up recorder, which is going for $12.95 on Amazon. Both were essential in producing the video below.
Another PINAC reader suggested this body-mounted video recorder that is going for $44.49 at BH Photo, which I might purchase.
After all, it’s becoming very clear that we need to protect ourselves with back-up recorders that are not immediately visible to police.
Also, a photography magazine based out of New York City named Resource did a nice little write-up on Photography is Not a Crime last week.