April 8th, 2014

Florida Corrections Officers Keep Trying to Thwart Man from Recording Inmates in Public 62

By Carlos Miller


 

As he does on a regular basis, Jeff Gray recorded a group of prison inmates working on a public street under supervision by a Florida Department of Corrections officer.

And as what happens on a regular basis, the corrections officer threatened to have him arrested.

This time the corrections didn’t go as far as claiming it is illegal to record inmates on a public street, whose names and photos are publicly available on the Department of Corrections website (when the site is actually working).

But the corrections officer did accuse him of “interfering” – even though he was more than 30 feet away in an area where he was legally entitled to stand – accusing him of putting all their lives in danger by posting a Youtube video of the inmates and the corrections officer.

“I realize there is no law against (recording inmates) and I understand that fully and I don’t care if you’re the famous one behind the camera and I really don’t care,” the corrections officer said. 

“My whole point is, by filming one of these inmates and putting it on Youtube, you might put his life in danger (pointing to one inmate), his life in danger (pointing to another inmate).

And not only the inmates lives, but his own life as well, he insisted, as he looked directly into the camera. Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 1.39.10 PM

“By you posting me on youtube and where i’m working at, you’re putting me in danger because the public knows where i’m  at, the public knows what truck i’m driving now,” the corrections officer, who refused to provide his name, insisted.

The corrections officers also claimed there was a law forbidding the interference with workers, but the only thing I came up with a statute forbidding the “interference of county prisoners,” which states the following:

Whoever shall interfere with county prisoners while at work, at their meals, at rest, or while going to and from their quarters or with the correctional officers in charge of them, either by assaulting them or by inciting them or attempting to incite the prisoners to disobedience, revolt, or escape, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.083.

Not that these were county prisoners but it still wouldn’t apply because Gray was not assaulting them or inciting them to start a riot. He was merely recording when the corrections officer came up to him.

Naturally, cops were called, so Jeff ended up having to deal with a St. John’s County deputy who also confirmed that Jeff was not breaking the law, but asked him to step back to not distract the inmates or the corrections officer.

The deputy also claimed it was a safety issue and they were only trying to protect Gray from getting hit by a car, but he was not standing in the middle of the road.

The deputy kept asking Gray to just let the corrections officer “do his job,” not taking into account that Gray is also doing a job.

After all, “the famous one behind the camera” has to make a living as well.

Compared to Gray’s other videos, it was a pretty uneventful video until Gray posted it on his Youtube channel, then discovered it had been removed with no notice from Youtube, so he’s assuming the Department of Corrections had something to do with that (considering they don’t seem to be very worried about their site being down for a week).

So we posted it on PINAC’s Youtube channel to see if they would try to get that removed, considering nobody in the video had an expectation of privacy.

Gray has also been making public records request to obtain the name of the corrections officer, who refused to provide his name.

But he was sure to refer Gray to Assistant Warden Lynn Hill, whose information is posted  below:

Lynn Hill
Assistant Warden
Putnam Correctional Instution
128 Yelvington Road
East Palatka, Fl  32131
(386) 326-6806

 


Send stories, tips and videos to Carlos Miller.
  • Fotaugrafee

    That Corrections officer “really doesn’t care” about a lot of things, but he seems to care enough to interfere with Mr. Gray’s operation. :D

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    I encourage every one to call Lynn Hill and let her know how you feel about FDOC’s interference with our right to know what public officials are doing on our behalf and at our expense. I am not the only one to be lied to about the legality of filming inmates and threatened with arrest. Please call and demand that the FDOC stop it’s interference, harassment, and intimidation of citizens documenting work crews. Also,please send her a link to this PINAC post.

    Lynn Hill
    Assistant Warden
    Putnam Correctional Instution
    128 Yelvington Road
    East Palatka, Fl 32131
    (386) 326-6806

    • JdL

      Also,please send her a link to this PINAC post.

      Would love to. Got an e-mail address for her?

      Thanks for your ongoing work to challenge our “public servants” to act like, well, public servants, instead of pushy overlords.

    • jwalsh

      email launched…..

    • bj

      Lynn Hill

      Assistant Warden

      Putnam Correctional Instution

      128 Yelvington Road
      East Palatka, Fl 32131
      (386) 326-6806
      Assistant Warden Lynn Hill

      Dear Assistant Warden

      I watched an interaction a FDOC
      employee and a citizen recently and I am writing to express my concerns to you.

      I live on the other side of the world but have a strong interest in government transparency and US constitutional rights. Perhaps my distance provides some objectivity to my observations.

      The interaction between the corrections officer, who did not identify himself on the online video, and the citizen reflected poorly on the professionalism of the FDOC. It appeared that the only danger in the situation was caused by the corrections officer leaving the work crew.

      The citizen clearly has a right to protected record and document in a public place. The 1st Amendment of the US Constitution, the DOJ and the US Supreme Court is
      unambiguous on this right. There was no reasonable basis for restricting the
      citizen’s observations and documentation. There is no law in the US that stops
      a citizen filming FDOC staff or prisoners.

      If the FDOC does not like the public filming their work in a public place, then the FDOC should not take prisoners into a public place.

      What will the FDOC do to discipline the corrections officer and better train staff about the law and citizen’s rights? It would be encouraging to see how you will send the right message to US citizens and others around the world who have taken interest in this story. I believe this is not the first time that citizens have been poorly treated by
      FDOC personnel.

      The video I am referring to is located here at the link http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/04/08/florida-corrections-officers-keep-trying-thwart-man-recording-inmates-public/
      Otherwise google search for PINAC to see the story.

      Yours Sincerely

  • stk33

    I guess, anybody who does not deep inside realize that his “job” is in fact a scam and he is a parasite on the society of one or another form, would actually appreciate the publicity.

  • FtP

    Corrections officer says, “…you’re putting me in danger…”
    That’s a risk I’m willing to take.
    .

    Deputy says, “Your conduct is completely legal, but you need to perform these additional actions…, uh, for your own safety.”

  • dravo1

    I’m not a lawyer but I suspect Jeff would have a decent case of ‘restraint of trade’ against the department of corrections since they are directly inhibiting his news gathering efforts through false threats of arrest and imprisonment.

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

      Well, you are correct on one part.

      You’re not a lawyer.

      Jeff has some valid claims, but “restraint of trade” isn’t one of them. PINAC has a J.D. on staff, who is going to or already has sat for the bar. I’m sure that when the time comes, Jeff will get good legal advice.

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    This is the public records request I sent Lynn Hill and Warden Griffin for the Correction Officer’s name and ID#. They work out of FDOC’s Putnam Correctional Institution. http://www.dc.state.fl.us/facilities/region2/214.html

    Lynn Hill,
    I am submitting a public record request for the name and ID # of the corrections officer in the feature part of this video. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4a1_1396402291
    He was the one working at the intersection of SR16 and World Golf Village on 3/26/14.

    The public records act does not contain a specific time limit ( such as 24 hours or ten days ) for compliance with public records request. The Florida Supreme Court has stated that the only delay in producing records permitted under chapter 119, Florida Statues, is the reasonable time allowed the custodian to retrieve the record and delete those portions of the record the custodian asserts are exempt. Clearly the name and ID# of a public official are not exempt. I expect you respond to this request promptly as required by law.

    Sincerely,
    Jeff Gray

  • Kirkus1964

    “Federal law…government law”. LOL!

  • dravo1

    Why don’t they just hand out disguises to the chain gang members and crew leader ?? Keeps everyone safe, right?

    • Ron

      They can all wear those anonymous masks!

      • inquisitor

        Presidents masks.

  • steveo

    The DOT work project using state prisoners was the brainchild of former Gov. Charlie Crist when he was a state senator. At the time, he got a lot of press from this (tough on crime and make prisoners pay us back, kind of thing) and was nicknamed “Chain gang Charlie”. He wanted to get all the press and publicity possible requiring the prisoners to wear the trademark prison issue with the wide strips and State Prisoner in big letters on the back of the shirt and with the STATE PRISONERS WORKING AHEAD signs leading up to the work project. I’m pretty sure he wanted everyone to know about this activity.

    Seeing that Charlie is hot on the trail of his old job at present, maybe we should contact his campaign and ask if he objects to us publicizing this noteworthy political achievement.

  • JWE

    LEOs have started to fight back against YouTube videos, by getting their friend, family, and other LEOs to flag them, as violating YouTube’s rules, usually, claiming it is violating the law, or their right to privacy. If enough people complain, YouTube’s automatic system will remove the video.

    It is then up to YouTube account holder to appeal or protest the removal. You may have to provide documentaion proving you have the right to Video tape public officials, in public(remember YouTube is international and the laws varies by countries). Copies of the Glik decision, and Florida Assistant AG, memo to law enforcement should do.

    YouTube will then most likely over turn the removal, and you will be allowed to re-post it.

    • John

      When protesting a takedown, it’s typically unnecessary to provide extensive documentation of the legality of said video. Simply protesting the removal will trigger a human review, which will restore the video to its published status. You shouldn’t need to re-post it.

      • John

        Adding: In the event of a privacy takedown, only first party complaints are accepted. In other words, only the person complaining their privacy was violated can file the complaint. In the case of this type of violation, the poster gets an email and the chance to protest.

        “Flagging” is different. Anyone can flag a video, however, flagging does NOT automatically remove a video. Flagging merely triggers a human review. If the human review determines it violates policy, then it is removed.

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    Here is a time line of FDOC’s violations of our right to know. This time only includes my personal experiences. Many other people have been harassed.

    December 2012 Clay County Florida, I was approached by FDOC Corrections Officer Stoppelbine and told that filming inmates was a felony and that I “go to prison for that” Stoplebine called the Clay County Sheriff’s Office on me.About 4 deputies responded but I had no interaction with CCSO.

    March of 2013 St Augustine Fl, I was approached by a FDOC Corrections Officer and told that it was against Federal Law to film State Inmates. The FDOC Officer called the St.Johns County Sheriff’s Office on me. I had no interaction with SJSO.

    August 2013 St.Augustine Florida, I was told that it is illegal to film inmates. The FDOC Officers called St.Johns County Sheriff’s Department and two deputies visited my home telling me that I could be arrested for “interference with the custody of an inmate.”

    October 2013 Gainesville Fl, I was told that it is illegal to film inmates. The work crew packed up and left the area.

    March 2014 St Augustine Fl, you know about this one.

    April 2014 St Augustine Florida, (COUNTY INMATES NOT FDOC) A St.Johns County Deputy guarding county inmates called the St.Johns County Sheriff’s Department on me. I had no interaction with SJSO.

    • Film The Police Always

      You are not legitimate media. You constantly harass any public official just for shit and giggles. You just shove your camera in their faces, then cry like a baby when they tell you can’t film. You are interfering with their duties. I applaud each and every one of those correction guards for telling you to fuck off. That’s all you activists do.

      • brian schneider

        Jeff “shoved the camera in his face” from 100 feet away?
        Could you tell me how he did that?

      • jwalsh

        “You are not legitimate media”

        He is a citizen of the USA, and that is enough to film public officials.

      • JdL

        Help me out here. Your handle is “Film The Police Always”, but your attitude is “F*** anybody who films the police”. What am I missing? Are you schizophrenic?

      • Film The Police Always

        Ignore this TROLL guy’s. This is not me making this comment. This idiot likes to use my name and others here, and the way to differentiate between me and this asshole is by looking at the name. If you can click on it (like a link) then it’s mine. If it’s dead then it’s this dumbass.

        Hey Carlos, is there a way for you to block this assholes IP address?

        • JdL

          Gotcha; will watch for the linkable name and ignore the troll from now on. Hard to imagine what would make someone act in such a pathetic manner. Probably he/she works for the government; that would explain a lot.

        • jwalsh

          You’re a government agent or informant

          • jwalsh

            Get a life dude!

        • I’m a troll

          I suggest no blocking. It wont solve the problem and censorship is not something to be encouraged, even if the author expresses irrational views.

      • inquisitor

        There are meds available for your type of problem…seek the advice of a qualified mental health professional.

        • JWE

          You’re lamr

          • inquisitor

            There are meds available for your type of problem…seek the advice of a qualified mental health professional.

      • LibertyEbbs

        The cretin even has the poor taste to upvote his own posts…pathetic.

      • Kirkus1964

        Doesn’t have to be “media”. Any private citizen can film anyone else in public. That’s the law.

      • in bred

        Your parents must be cousins.

      • 5oh4

        Why so angry at the the First Amendment?

  • Christopher Shepard

    Jeff is awesome. All indications point to him suing the pants off these guys.

    • Ian Battles

      ONLY PERVERTS DO THIS TYPE OF HARASSMENT.

      • Christopher Shepard

        Or, people who want to exercise their Constitutionally protected rights.

        • victor

          ignore trolling

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    Thank you! We need to put pressure on them to effect change.

  • Just Sayin my 2 cents

    Wait.. what? On the one hand, she claims that he fears people finding out who he is, on the other hand, he makes a point to lean down & look directly into the camera. What a maroon!

    • inquisitor

      Because it is not really about any of the issues he mentioned.

      It has to do with avoiding legal liability of one form or another.

  • Tijuana Joe

    Look, at 2:14 the slavemaster explains there’s a “Safety setup setup” which means the 1st Amendment is null and void within 3000 meters. That was established in Nessy vs Ferguson

  • harry balzanya

    The principle that people in public have no expectation of privacy therefore they can be filmed or photographed. If you don’t want to be in public dont be.
    The problem here is prisoners, mostly arrested for victimles crimes and judging from this site many are innocent. These people cant be in private or give consent. They have no choice.
    If your purpose is to film public servants do so. I think you should cloud out the faces of inmates before you post.

    • not starlord

      I think fake hairy b should eat poop, instead of posting it

      • harry balzanya

        I like how you chose to use the word poop rather than the s word. It gives your comment a little more class. Not much more but I would have chosen the S word. If people didnt disagree it wouldnt be a democracy, good people with a goal can disagree about things. I hope you have a nice day Shit head.

    • inquisitor

      Inmates are housed, fed, clothed and work with our tax dollars.
      When in public working there is no expectation of privacy.
      Should I happen to be out filming and one of these work brigades just happens to come down the street doing their work it is not my obligation to have to stop what I am doing so they can pass by either.
      Should I wish to film them as a citizen to make sure they are doing their jobs, doing it safely and to make sure they are not being abused in any way, seeing how public money is paying for them, then that is my right and my choice no matter what your own opinion may be on the matter.

    • kraz

      I get what you’re saying and agree. It would be nice if Jeff or anyone else could block their faces. I imagine far more than half of them are there for BS charges or simple non-violent crimes that you wouldn’t even be jailed for in a civilized nation. It’s bad enough when someone is arrested that the police release their name, DOB and address to the newspaper before they’ve even been found guilty.
      A couple people mentioned their tax dollars paying to house them. Well if we weren’t a prison nation jailing more than any other country in the world by far, your tax dollars wouldn’t be wasted on jailing these victims. If you’re worried about you tax dollars then help to change this system of mass – incarceration.

      • harry balzanya

        Mr gray seems like a nice guy and seems to be willing to be reasonable in many of his videos. Many of the inmates are victims of the state. Who are there without consent. MrGray has the right, he could choose In the future to be nice. He could choose to disagree.

    • dravo1

      Why aren’t their faces clouded out in the mugshots on the websites? There’s a reason for that. It’s public knowledge.

  • CEDUPZ

    Distraction, danger, every cop and douche bag thinks everything is a danger, they need to get a job at Mcdonalds…everything is a danger…paranoid is a mental issue. standing on a PUBLIC sidewalk, watching anything is a crime? WOW!!! This country has devolved into a shit mill!

  • CEDUPZ

    Are all cops jackoffs?

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    Ok, so now the video has been removed from PINAC’s YouTube channel as well. Here is the link to the LiveLeak post.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4a1_1396402291

    • LibertyEbbs

      One of the only avenues for LE/Gov accountability left to the American public is what you and a few others are doing, i.e., documenting with video and audio and disseminating that info to the rest of us. The corrupt control freaks and their sycophants are working very hard to stop you from doing that at every level. They lie, threaten, badger, steal, assault, etc. in their efforts to stop your message from spreading any further. What a life lesson I have had watching the evolution of PINAC and now we are to a point where those in power are working very hard to kill it. This is a sign of progress.

      I’d like you to know, Jeff, that I have the utmost appreciation for what you do and how you do it. The fact that people are working so hard to silence your voice just accentuates how effective and important your work is. My hat is off to you, sir. Stay safe and keep up the great work!

    • JWE

      I hope both Carlos and Jeff contest this with YouTube. Who ever is doing this, they can have their YouTube account suspended, for making false reports..

  • harry balzanya

    I would like the public records of the official who told youtube to take down the video. If they did so in there official capacity and if Jeff did not violate terms of service, did the official commit slander by making a false report?

  • momomomomomomomomomomomomomo

    Warden Lynn Hill just told me that I am the first person to contact her regarding this issue. Either 1) She is lying or 2) you guys are slacking off. Make the call!

    • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

      What did she say about it?

  • Howard L. Wassinger

    Video has been removed…

  • Pingback: Miami Herald Exposes Coverup of Jail Death where Inmate was Forced into Scalding Shower | Photography is Not a Crime: PINAC

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