It took nearly two months for the Sarasota County State Attorney’s Office to determine that Steve Horrigan did not commit a crime the night he was arrested for video recording cops during a traffic stop.
According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
Steve Horrigan, 57, was charged with felony eavesdropping and misdemeanor obstruction when he used his smartphone to record North Port Police officers making an arrest across the street from his home. Horrigan, a computer technician and amateur videographer, spent a night in jail and could have faced five years in prison if convicted of eavesdropping.
But in deciding not to press charges, Assistant State Attorney Eric Werbeck wrote “the State would be unable to prove the officer enjoyed an expectation of privacy with the defendant” and that the state likely could not “prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer’s duties were obstructed by the defendant’s conduct.”
The story highlights in the lies and inconsistencies from North Port police.
Sarasota prosecutors noted that “unknown to the officers at the time of the stop, no audio regarding the traffic stop, be it conversation between officers and those detained or conversations between fellow officers, is audible on the recording seized from the defendant.” That was key because an eavesdropping charge required that Horrigan had recorded private police interviews or conversations.
Prosecutors also wrote that they heard one of the officers tell Horrigan, “you can take video or pictures if you really feel necessary.” They added, contrary to the NPPD probable cause affidavit, the video showed Horrigan “at least 15-30 feet from the back of the patrol vehicles.”
Horrigan also did not “communicate with the subjects being arrested, incite other civilians” or verbally threaten officers.
Police also stated they had warned Horrigan “approximately 10-15 times” to stop recording, but the video appears to show only a single request.