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).
“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:
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Putnam Correctional Instution
128 Yelvington Road
East Palatka, Fl 32131