Deputies Warn Man Not to Publish Video of Warden's Strong-Armed Robbery

Florida deputies warned a man that if he dared publish a video showing a prison warden snatching his camera and refusing to return it, he would be guilty of a federal crime.

That, of course, is hogwash, but it just shows the extent that law enforcement officials will go to defend other authority figures when they’ve been caught breaking the law.

The video shows George Dedos, assistant warden at the Lake City Youthful Offender Facility, confronting Jeff Gray, who was standing on public property across the street from the prison, which is owned by Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in the United States.


George Dedos


Dedos walks up to him and snatches his iPod, not realizing at the time that Gray had another iPod recording from his shirt pocket.

Columbia County sheriff officials respond to the incident and tell Dedos that Gray has the right to record, but they don’t come close to arresting Dedos for strong-armed robbery, which would likely have been the case had Gray snatched Dedos’ camera.

According to the incident report, which Gray obtained Monday:

Upon arrival I spoke with Assistant Warden from CCA, George Dedos, who stated that a white male, later identified as Jeffrey Gray was videotaping the facility via cell phone. George stated that he confronted Jeffrey and Jeffrey refused to stop recording, so he grabbed the cell phone. George was advised that unless the person was on CCA’s property, the person could record if he wanted to. George was also advised that if Jeffrey did publish the video, it would be a federal violation because Jeffrey was standing on federal land while videotaping without a permit, which was confirmed by forestry ranger, J. Watson.

So not only was the camera-snatching caught on video but Dedos admitted to deputies he committed the crime.

But all deputies could do was try to find a way to make Gray the guilty party, even listing him as the “suspect” in the report.

Gray posted two videos from the incident Saturday night, only hours after it took place, and I posted it on this blog early Sunday morning.

Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel from the National Press Photographers Association, explained in an email why Gray was not guilty of any violation.

I see from the “offense report” that Jeffrey Grey may have been in the Osceola Forest picnic area. While some land operated by the US Parks Department requires a permit for photography or filming the Commercial Permits Section states:

“Permits are required for commercial use of the National Forests in Florida, such as filmmaking, wedding photography, and photography for use in advertising. Please contact the District Ranger’s office to determine your need for a permit and any fees that might be involved.” (see source)
“It is important to note that there is no permit required for most still photography or for non-commercial filming on National Forest Lands including wilderness areas.” (see source.)
My opinion is that if he did not have a permit and one was required (which should not have been the case) the most that could have happened is that he received a violation for not having a permit. I do not believe that posting such a video, especially if not for profit, would violate anything and certainly not federal law.
Their warning constitutes a prior restraint on his First Amendment freedoms and would most likely be struck down as it limits far too much speech than is necessary to achieve a governmental purpose. In this case I have no idea what that purpose would be other than far exceeding their authority.

Corrections Corporation of America is not having the greatest year, having recently lost four major contracts in Idaho, Texas and Mississippi.

Gray plans to file a complaint with the state attorney’s office and his lawyer is already looking into filing a lawsuit.

Click on George Dedos’ name to send him an email.

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.

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  • Jon Quimbly

    I am a little confused about why he doesn’t file charges, in addition to the complaint? If I mug you and run away, and you know who I am, aren’t you entitled to report it to the local cop shop and press charges? Isn’t that better than filing a “complaint” with the LEO’s employer, who are heavily invested in limiting liabilities of this kind?

    • Carlos_Miller

      I think that is the necessary procedure to file charges, you must file a complaint with the state attorney’s office and they have to decide whether charges will be filed.

      • Virtualfrog

        Yes but wouldn’t it be nice to see him “TAKE THE RIDE?’ It would also show a recorded arrest. This way no arrest record. Guily or not as you well know.

  • vendetta

    He practically begged the officer to file burglary charges and yet that was never mentioned in the report. UGH

    • Elliott Whitlow

      Sounds like filing a false report, at least in part.

  • Truth Troll

    Good ol’ America.. Ahh!!!!

  • Mark Olish

    I couldn’t keep my cool like Gary….It would have been all day long if he laid a hand on me and snatched my camera.

  • G Seim –

    Tried to email Dedos and let him know he is the criminal here. But the email bounced. Maybe they changed it already.

    • Ron

      Maybe its the capital D in dedos?

      But yeah highly likely its been changed by now.

      • Herbert Napp

        Someone post an alternate method of giving feedback.

      • Difdi

        Email addresses are not case sensitive. Some email systems preserve the case the sender uses, but an email system that insists on use of proper case is not compliant with internet standards.

    • Smoothjc1

      Same here.

    • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

      To all of you here on PINAC,thank you for getting involved and having my back!

      • Proud GrandPa

        Please keep us updated, especially if you can get them to charge the camera grabber. Regardless why don’t you get some friends to join you and make return visits to establish your rights by using those rights? This time nobody would dare take your camera.
        In a related matter some of the causes I support make it a point to return later to demonstrate their rights. Most LEOs respect their rights after the lawyers settle matters, but a rogue cop who doesn’t know the law (or doesn’t care) will try to stop them. They ignore him and as for his super. The super protects their rights and the rogue backs down.
        Rights are like big muscles; you have to exercise them or they go away. – Proud Grandpa

    • Joel Chandler

      Make a public records request for all of Dedos’s emails from that day. CCA goons will run home to mama (contact the HQ in Nashville) after these kind of events. I would expect that you would find admissions from Dedos about stealing Gray’s gear.

      CCA is directly subject to Florida’s Public Records Act as a mater of law and their contract with DJJ explicitly states as much.

      In addition to the emails you could also get text messages TAR (Terminal Archive Reports), etc. No doubt CCA also ran Gray’s tag through DAVID which would be a violation of the DPPA (Driver’s Privacy Protection Act).

      • Photog at Large

        Have seen multiple cases where this is done w/o probable cause, I think a video posted on this forum shows police doing this to your vehicle when you were requesting access to public records and did not provide a name. It seems to be swept under the rug even tho people keep mentioning it is not supposed to happen. I think I also saw in a frontline piece on the fusion centers (are we safer) where an OCR reader is mounted to the police vehicles and it captures license plates of vehicles passing them and runs a search on them even if the drivers are not committing a violation at that moment. Thoughts ? And what is the likelihood of something being done here in FL if the someone runs our tags w/o cause ?

        • ExCop-Lawyer

          You don’t have to have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to run plates that are visible in public.

          It’s also not a DPPA violation. The first exception covers use by law enforcement agencies.

          • Photog at Large

            Thank you for response/explanation. I guess because I see so many posts/vids where people question LEOs if they aren’t under suspicion – why are they running the plates, I incorrectly assumed it wasn’t allowed. But thinking it through, much like our assertion that we can legally take pix/vid in public, pretty much anything in public and visible is open to scrutiny, correct ?

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            Pretty much. It is just like if someone wore a sign with his name and date of birth on it – anyone could copy it down, etc.

            To actually contact a person, you don’t need anything either, so long as they are free to go. It’s only when you detain them that you need reasonable suspicion.

          • Joel Chandler

            CCA is not a LEO agency. The exception for LEOs is not absolute. Access to DAVID must be for legitimate law enforcement purposes. Certainly, the deputy who arrived on-scene would be authorized to access DAVID. But they can’t do it just for giggles.

    • Dan Matthews

      You could probably use the same address format to send an email to the warden asking what is being done.

  • steveo

    Hey, they didn’t arrest the New York Times editors for publishing the “Pentagon Papers”, I don’t think they’ll go after Jeff. And how about all the outlets that published the stuff that Snowden gave them, I think maybe “national security” is probably a little higher on the list than the bruised ego of Asst. Warden Dedos.

    • Flashing Scotsman

      Steveo, you’re not really of the opinion that what Snowden did compromised national security, are you? They want to try him on espionage charges. Espionage is defined as giving secrets to the enemy. Does this prove that the Obama Administration sees the American people as the enemy?

      • Difdi

        One of the definitions of treason is a citizen of the United States making war on the United States. The United States is We The People, by The People and for The People.

        A government official that makes the statement that The People are his enemies or the enemies of his office comes perilously close to admitting to treason.

        To be guilty of espionage, you have to deliver confidential data to the enemy. If delivering that data to The People of the United States is epionage, then any government official who supports the charges in their official capacity is probably guilty of conspiracy to commit treason.

        • Flashing Scotsman

          It seems like we’re both saying the same thing. Government officials are saying that Snowden is treasonous, I’m saying that the government officials are treasonous, and Snowden just brought it to light. National security, as the government sees it, is actually government security. They don’t seem to have much concern for the actual security of We the People.

          • Difdi

            It’s actually fairly common for officials to accuse their victims of their own misdeeds.

            A cop beats an unresisting person severely, then charges that person with aggravated assault/aggravated battery.

            A school administrator sprints into crazyland, locks down a school (completely disrupting any chance of learning that day) and then expels a student for disrupting the education process — because that student wore a t-shirt the administrator didn’t like, that nobody else even noticed beyond “hey, cool shirt”.

            Charging your victim with your own misdeeds seems to be SOP for corrupt government officials these days.

            Snowden reveals massive criminality, oathbreaking, spying and possibly treason? He gets charged with espionage and treason, naturally.

    • bj

      Snowden has sacrificed everything to alert The People to the extent of the security state. He recognises that unconstitutional government surveillance chills free speech. His whistle blowing will in the longer term make the US stronger and safer. Just had to add that :)

  • Silly

    It’s pretty typical that filming for personal news and news reporting is not an activity that requires a permit. They’re trying to get permits for things like Hollywood movies being shot on the land in question, or commercial photographers who are building out stock images to sell through sites like iStockPhoto and the like. It’s pretty clear that Mr. Gray was engaged in a non-commercial activity.

  • Silly

    One of the deputies asserts that Dedos is a law enforcement authority. Is that so? As an assistant warden of a private prison??

    • Difdi

      If he IS a law enforcement official, then he is sbject to the statutes and regulations that govern law enforcement. A good example of which is 18USC242.

      If he’s not a public official, then he is ‘merely’ a strong arm robber.

      • ExCop-Lawyer

        18 USC 241, 18 USC 242, and 42 USC 1983 do not require that the defendant be a public or government official, just that the act be under “color of law.”

        Both the warden and the deputy indicated that the warden was a LEO, which could make his actions under color of law.

        • Difdi

          Good point. I usually include the words ‘public official’ because it’s hard to imagine how most people who were not one could trip over 18USC242 in the first place.

          Impersonating law enforcement comes to mind. So does a botched or unjustified citizen’s arrest. But those are both kinda rare.

          Can you think of very many ways someone who isn’t a public official (of some sort) could?

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            Private police, such as RR police, private university police, sometimes security guards, etc.

  • nrgins

    It’s amazing how these authority types will take one little statute (like you need a permit for commercial photography) and turn it into some sort of major federal offense with which to strong-arm people with. Just so sad.

    • Elliott Whitlow

      They like to throw around “felony” because that’s scary and bad. The simple fact is that we should NEVER rely on a cop to know the legality, WE need to know ourselves so when they get stupid we have the tools and the knowledge to know that even if they arrest us its not going anywhere.

      • nrgins

        Plus, let’s not forget that: a) cops are not lawyers or judges, and should not be seen as experts in law; and b) no disrespect to cops intended, but you can’t be too intelligent to be a cop (at least in some cities, where they bar you if you do too well on the tests). So, yeah, what they “think” about the law means squat.

        But they carry authority, and so most people believe them. Here’s a story of an entirely different situation, but which shows how much weight cops’ words carry.

        When I first moved to town, I went to the city gym to get a membership, but I was told that a utility bill proving that I lived in the city wasn’t enough. I needed to show my driver’s license. Well, I hadn’t gotten my driver’s license changed yet. But they said they had people somehow falsely showing utility bills when they didn’t live at the place, and they said they had a cop come in and tell them that they needed to ask for a driver’s license, so they had to do it. Had nothing to do with his job; was just a suggestion, really; but since “a cop” told them to require driver’s licenses, they felt compelled to do it.

        Anyway, I called the parks & rec manager & told him the sit, and he called the people and told them to give me a membership. Just goes to show how far people will take things that a cop says, even if it’s just a suggestion.

  • Dan Matthews

    Looks like we add Ranger J. Watson to the same category as the 3+(?) deputies who are Offically, “Dumber Than A Stump” when it comes to the laws they are supposed to enforce.

    • MeFein

      That reminds me of an old saying that seems to apply here. “If you want to know about horse racing, don’t ask the horse.”

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    This from the above article…So not only was the camera-snatching caught on video but Dedos admitted to deputies he committed the crime.
    I would like to add that Dedos was in possession of the stolen property when the deputies arrived and that the deputies also witnessed the stolen property in Dedos hand.

    • n4zhg

      You would think there is a law that compels police officers to do their jobs when a citizen presses charges.

      • $19866595

        THERE IS !! It is called “Failure to Perform”….find it here:

        • ExCop-Lawyer

          Which doesn’t apply in this matter. There is no law that “requires” the deputy to arrest. A required duty is designated in law by words like “the officer shall” or “the officer must” do whatever action.

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    I spoke with Ryan Nydam of the Columbia County DA Office and I will be going to give a sworn statement against Dedos.

    • Dane Mac

      I hope you go all the way. Get that retard fired.

  • $19866595
  • me

    TO MR GRAY:DID u contact FDLE,Florida dept of law enforcement?.They are the cops above the cops and are in charge of that suspects correctional officer certification.They have several Depts. like one is over certifications to be a leo and also agentswho investigate crimes and also police officers.Not only can they arrest him but also pull his certificate for life!!

  • Puce Buzzard

    Those guys in the little atv like vehicle broke some laws right there on video… A non-licensed off road vehicle on a public roadway, and they are not wearing seat belts. There’s two infractions.