Home / PINAC News / Florida Corrections Officer Tells Man it’s Illegal to Video Record Inmates in Public

Florida Corrections Officer Tells Man it’s Illegal to Video Record Inmates in Public

Perhaps there was a day when law enforcement officers were able to cite some nonexistent statute to scare citizens into following unlawful orders.

Those days are pretty much over considering citizens today are much more aware of their rights and the law thanks to the internet (and sites like Photography is Not a Crime, thank you very much).

In this case, it is a Florida corrections officer who cites the nonexistent statute to Michael Burns after he was video recording a group of inmates in public.

We’ve been through this before with PINAC editor Jeff Gray who was told it was a felony to video record inmates in public.. Perhaps they are just embarrassed at how Florida uses jail inmates as slaves to work on public projects.

The corrections officer, who identifies himself as John Meeks, writes down Burns license plate number, ensuring he is going to “report it.”

“You can’t take pictures of these inmates without authorization,” Meeks says. “If you show me you have authorization, that’s one thing.”

“Constitution,” Burns responds.

And yes, that’s all the authorization he needed considering public photographer and videography has long been protected by the First Amendment.

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This is how Burns describes the incident in his Youtube description:

I had been taking pictures for like 20 minutes and circled a few times to get closer pictures from in the car… When I parked and got out to take pictures (after asking the store owner if I could park there) he came over so I switched it on live which is why he was already right up on me when it starts… I will post the other video later also I was using a dash cam so if that wasn’t zoomed in to much at a different angle that will be up as well. gotta all my mom and warn her police may or may not show up asking why I was there…going back to see him again later… its not over but my battery was about to die so could not be out of the car longer than about 5 more minutes.

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.