Florida probation officials tried their best to paint Charlie Grapski as a delusional and paranoid conspiracy theorist to keep him from further investigating Ferguson police through his relentless pursuit of public records requests.
But that just left them open to be sued after they forced him into a psychiatric hospital against his will last week, especially now that he is turning his public records sights on them.
Clearly, the Florida Probation and Parole Office in Kissimmee did not think this one through.
And no, my use of the word “sight” is not a threat in case they try to use that to get me committed.
Grapski, who heads PINAC’s Open Records Project, was hospitalized for four days last week after a probation officer revoked his right to travel to Missouri on the false allegations that he had been making threats on Twitter against Ferguson officials.
He was released Saturday and has already obtained the “evidence” they had used to revoke his right to travel out of the state on Wednesday, one day before he was scheduled to fly out and two days after he had already been granted permission by the very same probation office.
The evidence consisted of two emails; one accusing him of “spewing hate online” and “organizing against the police,” another accusing him of “starting trouble and making accusations at law enforcement.”
The main email they used against him was sent from a commenter from the Conservative Treehouse last week whom Grapski has already identified, which stated the following:
“I would like to bring your attention to a parolee whom has been spewing hate online in social media and is planning to attend Ferguson , Missouri’s protestors. He is agitating and organizing against the police”
The email contained a link to his Twitter feed without singling out any particular tweet.
The second email was sent to the probation office in June from an assistant city attorney in Albuquerque, another city he had visited earlier this year and had been investigating through public records requests for the excessive number of citizens killed by police.
Assistant City Attorney Greg Wheeler also accused him of making threats as well as showing up to city council meetings and “starting trouble and making accusations at law enforcement,” asking that Grapski not be allowed to travel to New Mexico anymore.
But Wheeler did not provide any examples, even after the probation office requested them.
And here is a video of Grapski speaking before the council that shows he did not make any threats. It just isn’t his style. Fast forward to 2:49 to see him speak to the Albuquerque City Council.
But those emails are what probation officer Lisa Barker used to justify calling Grapski into their office on Wednesday and inform him he was not allowed to travel to Ferguson, even though two days earlier, Grapski’s probation officer granted him permission.
Grapski said that Barker has always had it in for him, entering his home last year with police looking for drugs, arresting him for his prescription medicine, claiming he had obtained them without a prescription. Although he remained in jail for several days, no charges were ever brought up against him.
Grapski acknowledges he became irate after being informed he would not be allowed to travel to Ferguson. Who wouldn’t? But he insists he did not make any threats against the probation officers as police accused him of doing.
He simply demanded they provide evidence that he had made threats against public officials online as they had accused him of doing.
When they ordered him to leave the premises, he did just that with them following behind. He then sat in the car with his father calling his lawyer to inform him of the situation.
That was when the Kissimmee police swat team showed up and pounded on his window, eventually handcuffing him and transporting him Park Place Behavioral Healthcare.
The police report, which can be read here, claims he had to be “escorted” out of the probation office, which he said is not true.
The report also said he was threatening to commit suicide, which he also said is not true. And the report said he needed to be involuntarily hospitalized because he was off his medication.
But he said the anti-anxiety medication he takes is only to be taken when he feels anxious, which he sometimes feels as a result of the post-traumatic stress disorder he suffers stemming from being beaten into a coma in 2006 for making public records requests into Alachua County.
Although he was convicted for assault on an officer in that case, which is why he is on probation, he also won nearly a $200,000 settlement, which is almost impossible to do for an incident that results in a conviction.
But this is Charlie Grapski we’re talking about, a man who has a history of beating the powers that be in court as he did in 1998 when he won a $250,000 settlement against one of one of the most power institutions from the University of Florida after they falsely accused him of child molestation.
Last week’s police report states that Grapski was claiming he was the victim of a government conspiracy, which he also denied saying, even though it is obvious the government is conspiring against him.
Grapski also said he was not “sweating profusely” as he sat inside the air-conditioned car, but he insists that he remained calm and a cop even wrote that he “cooperated completely.”
And although the cops say his attorney refused to identify himself when they tried to talking to him on the phone, he said they never asked him for his name.
Florida’s Baker Act requires a patient to be seen by a doctor within 24 hours, but there was no doctor on staff during his four-day stay, he said.
Instead, he was seen by a nurse practitioner who led him to believe she was a doctor, only for him to find out later she was not a doctor.
“Everybody referred to her as the doctor and she deliberately allowed the belief that she was a doctor to continue,” he said.
So now he and his attorney are looking to file suit against the probation office, the hospital and even the person from Conservative Treehouse who sent the email.
He said the police will probably be protected under qualified immunity for libeling him in their reports and he speaks from experience.
That is why when he says he has a strong case against the others, they better start pulling out their checkbooks.
Here is a Q & A interview he conducted about this experience with DC Media Group.