Home / PINAC News / Florida Corrections Officers Keep Trying to Thwart Man from Recording Inmates in Public

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


 

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:

Story continues below...



Use this button to make a donation of any amount to "The PINAC Fund"Want to support the investigative journalism you're reading on PhotographyisNotaCrime.com?

Please donate to The PINAC Fund a 501(c)3 charitable fund that supports our investigative journalism efforts. Once we reach 1000 subscribers, then we'll launch the ad free and premium version for subscribers!

Monthly Tax Deductible Donation to the PINAC Fund


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

 

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.