Brevard County Prosecutor Tries to Justify Jeff Gray’s Arrest
But admitted he lacked the confidence to take the case to trial, knowing he would lose.
A paradoxical statement only a prosecutor could make.
According to Florida Today:
“It is abundantly clear from the facts of this case that the defendant was seeking to provoke a confrontation with the Sheriff’s department in order to be arrested,” Assistant State Attorney Michael Bowen wrote in remarks about his decision not to file charges. “It is also clear that there was sufficient probable cause for the arrest of the defendant for his failure to follow the instruction of the deputy regarding moving his vehicle from the private property where it was parked. However, there is no reasonable likelihood of success at trial due to the fact that the State must prove the case beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt, which is a much higher burden of proof than probable cause. Therefore, no formal charges will be filed.”
If anything is abundantly clear from the video, it is the Brevard County sheriff’s deputy and the Cocoa Police Officer who made the arrest were the ones seeking to provoke a confrontation when they pulled up to Gray as he was video recording a traffic stop.
And it is abundantly clear that he was in the process of calling his wife to get her to move the car from private property when they knocked the phone from his hand.
And once you take a look at the internal affairs summary of one of the arresting deputies, you will see it is abundantly clear that he deserves to be stripped of his badge before he kills somebody.
And finally, it is abundantly clear that Bowen is talking out of his ass in trying to justify Gray’s arrest for trespassing and resisting arrest.
As you can see in the above video, first they told him to step into a private parking lot, but when he did, they accused him of trespassing, ordering him off the property (after they coerced a business owner to order him off).
Then when he stepped off the property back onto public property, they slapped the phone out of his hand and arrested him for trespassing (speaking of paradoxical).
Then they probably congratulated themselves after making another arrest under the Game Over Task Force banner (which paradoxically stands for Gangs and Major Epidemic of Violence Enforcement Response), especially having been celebrated in the local media a month earlier for making its 1,000th arrest.
The GAMEOVER Task Force was created and implemented in March of 2008 and is comprised of personnel from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Titusville Police Department, Cocoa Police Department, Melbourne Police Department, Palm Bay Police Department, Department of Corrections Probation & Parole and the Brevard County State Attorney’s Office.
“The GAMEOVER Task Force is one of the most innovative and cost efficient responses to address violent crime,” said Sheriff Wayne Ivey.
“The partnership concept has been recognized for its effectiveness and has been used as a model throughout the country.As a co-creator of this program, I couldn’t be more proud of the outstanding results that have made Brevard County a safer place to live, work and raise our families. The Chiefs of Police and the State Attorney are to be commended for their vision and support of this effort.”
Although their names were redacted in the arrest report, the arresting officers were Brian Stoll of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and Ben Erskine of the Cocoa Police Department. Their names were redacted under an exemption in Florida’s public records laws meant to protect the identities of undercover officers, but we’ve made public records requests on their internal affairs summaries anyway because they were hardly acting in the undercover capacity when they arrested Gray.
And Stoll’s internal affairs history confirms what fellow officers have reported to us, that he is the type to escalate situations with suspects, which is evident in the video when he knocks the phone out of Gray’s hands.
His internal affairs summary lists 24 “use of force” investigations, most that appear to be initiated by other officers. We’ve made further public records requests on those use of force investigations, so we’ll be sure to keep you updated on that.
Erskine’s internal affairs summary is pretty clean.
Stoll, who until recently maintained a Facebook page from where the pictures below were taken, has since deleted that page, so he probably senses that we’re on to him, especially considering he is not a favorite among fellow officers, whom we will thank for sending us that page.
Oh yeah, he’s also the idiot that said photography “is a crime” in the above video, an audio clip we will use in multiple future videos to highlight the paradoxical statements cops make when making unlawful arrests.