All Jeff Gray has been trying to do is ensure law enforcement officers honor the oath they swore to the Constitution upon receiving their badge, which is why he routinely video records them in public for his Youtube channel, HONORYOUROATH.
But that has led him to become the subject of an active investigation by the Florida Fusion Center, a collusion of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies encouraging citizens to rat on each other for taking too many pictures or asking too many questions.
At least that’s how they describe it on their website:
Law enforcement can’t be everywhere all the time so they rely on citizens to report crime and suspicious activity to local law enforcement agencies. Some of these citizen reports may be valuable to a fusion center that is examining these reports for common trends. For example multiple reports of people taking pictures of a nuclear facility or asking questions regarding the security measures at a seaport.
So it’s only natural that they would take a special interest in Gray, who despite being extremely transparent about his mission, has been labeled “a suspicious person” by Florida authorities who have built an extensive file on him.
Gray made the discovery through a series of public records request to law enforcement agencies in North Florida, asking to see emails containing his name, including variations of his name as well as the username HONORYOUROATH.
At first, the St. Augustine resident filed his request with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, but was told they had nothing in their email files that met his request, which he knew to be a lie because he had corresponded with them last year after filing a complaint against two of their deputies for harassing him for video recording inmates working on a public road.
Then he made the same request to the Flagler Beach Police Department, based in the county below, and discovered he was the subject of an active investigation by the Florida Fusion Center.
Heading the investigation is Detective Angelo “David” Rosado of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office – the agency that initially claimed they had no emails containing any of his names.
Here is a portion of the email correspondence between local, state and federal cops who were discussing Gray last year.
Read the entire report here where they accuse Gray of “luring” cops into confrontations with his video camera, but also reminding officials that citizens do have the right to record.
But even after noting that, they still insisted on gathering photos of Gray (pretty much screen shots of his videos) and adding them to the file they had created on him.
Gray also obtained a series of field intelligence reports from the St. Johns Sheriff’s Office regarding his video activity. One of the reports includes an incident when he was visited by the Florida Department of Children and Families after they claimed they received an anonymous tip that he had guns in his home, which is not a crime and not even a secret considering Gray is very open about his gun ownership.
But that didn’t stop DCF from interviewing his children at school without his knowledge before paying him a visit at home, which he video recorded and posted on Youtube, as well as his follow-up phone conversation with the investigator that his children were not in any imminent danger, so there was no need to further investigate him. Both videos are posted below.
The rest of the reports paint him as a suspicious person for video recording public officials from public property.
Then there was an “intelligence bulletin” compiled by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office after his incident with a prison warden who snatched a camera out of his hands in a video that is also posted below.
The two-page report, part of which you can see below, acknowledges he has the right to record, but states that the “manner in which he lures officers is concerning.”
But what is even more concerning is how they failed to acknowledge the prison warden committed a crime by snatching his camera.
The report mentions his 2012 arrest for refusing to provide identification as he was being harassed for video recording, which ended up getting dismissed, as well as a 1998 arrest for writing a fraudulent check, which was also dismissed because it was a result of a misunderstanding while he was in the midst of moving.
It was a $23 check made out to Winn Dixie, his employer at the time, where he remained for an additional 15 years before resigning last year.
But the tone of the report attempts to paint him as suspicious as possible by mentioning his gun ownership and stating that he “claims he has a concealed permit” – when any legitimate intelligence report could have easily verified this so-called claim.
Fusion centers were created in 2003 in the wake of 9/11 as a means of law enforcement agencies to share information and prevent terrorism, but a two-year senate investigation completed in 2012 determined the fusion centers were highly ineffective, often invasive of citizens’ civil rights and pretty much a waste of federal money considering more than a billion dollars has been poured into them since 2003 with nothing to show for it.
From the report:
The Subcommittee investigation found that DHS-assigned detailees to the fusion centers forwarded “intelligence” of uneven quality – oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism.
The Subcommittee investigation also found that DHS officials’ public claims about fusion centers were not always accurate. For instance, DHS officials asserted that some fusion centers existed when they did not. At times, DHS officials overstated fusion centers’ “success stories.” At other times, DHS officials failed to disclose or acknowledge non-public evaluations highlighting a host of problems at fusion centers and in DHS’s own operations.
Despite the failure of the fusion centers, the mainstream media still treats them as if they were effective as you can see in the first video below.