Last month, Jacksonville Aviation Authority police arrested PINAC investigative reporter Michale Hoffman for holding signs on the side of the highway, confiscating his cameras as “evidence.” Thanks to Hoffman’s attorney, Eric Friday, the cameras have been returned with the footage of Hoffman’s arrest intact.
Friday met with JAA’s legal counsel and Officer Jennifer Cruz last Friday, negotiating the return of Hoffman’s cameras from the police property room. Hoffman and Friday are now focusing on his criminal hearing, which is set for September 10. Hoffman said he will file a civil action on this matter when the criminal case is closed.
“Accountability, Clarity, and Education. That’s what I’m about,” said Hoffman, on why he continues to take action. “If we can educate people, we have a slight chance of possibly changing things.”
The footage of Hoffman’s arrest shows the scene that Hoffman has previously described. While standing on the side of the highway, Hoffman was approached by officers who identified him by name, and told him he was trespassing on private property. Hoffman was eventually arrested for trespassing after a total of five police cars surrounded him.
As mentioned previously, the Florida Supreme Court has already ruled that the JAA is a public entity, which indicates that the land owned by the JAA is not private.
“As explained in the district court’s opinion, the JAA is a public entity:
The JAA is [a] public body, established by Florida law to develop and administer public airports in Jacksonville, Florida. It is a political subdivision of the state of Florida…” – Jackson-Shaw Company v. Jacksonville Aviation Authority.
Following Hoffman’s arrest, Jeff Gray mirrored Hoffman’s actions, and was met with a virtually identical scene, including two JAA officers in military-style combat gear.