A Florida fire chief stormed up to PINAC reporter Jeff Gray and attempted to snatch his camera Friday, claiming he was only trying to defend a “secure facility,” which was really a government building open to the public.
In fact, moments earlier, Gray had walked into the Clay County Emergency Services Complex to make a public records request while recording and was given no problems.
But as he stood outside the building talking about his positive experience, he was confronted by Clay County Fire Chief Lorin Mock who stormed up to him and attempted to grab his phone.
“Hey, don’t touch my phone,” Gray says.
“I’m just looking at it,” Mock responds.
“Why are you grabbing my phone like that?”
“I was trying to see what you’re doing because apparently you’re recording,” Mock says.
“I am, can you please step away from me,” Gray responds.
“I am the fire chief and my concern when was when I drove by and saw you taking a picture of the facility, it’s obviously a secure facility, it’s a public facility, but it’s also secure, so I was just curious what the intent was,” Mock tries to justify.
Realizing Gray was well aware of his rights and was not about to back down, Mock apologized.
But imagine if it had somebody other than Gray who was not aware of their rights.
Mock can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 904-284-7703.