Brevard Deputies Claim Photography “is a Crime” When Arresting Editor
Brevard County Sherriff’s deputies tried their best to intimidate PINAC editor Jeff Gray from video recording a traffic stop last month before they lost all patience and slapped the camera phone out of his hand, telling him that photography “is a crime” after he informed them he was working for Photography is Not a Crime.
But little did they know he had a back-up camera on his ear, which picked up the action after his iPhone had shattered on the sidewalk.
And when they pulled that off him as they were shoving him in the back of a patrol car, his body-mounted audio recorder picked up the action.
They probably didn’t realize what the latter recorder was because they returned it to his wife as they ordered her out of the parking lot under threat of arrest, also probably not realizing that Gray had set up a fourth recording device, a dash cam inside his car, that recorded the video we saw last month.
His wife also tried to record but the deputy told her to “get the camera out of my face,” so she laid it on her lap as it continued recording audio.
Today’s video is a compilation of the three recordings we had not heard before, showing the two deputies from the agency’s task force pull up behind Gray as he stood more than 30 feet from the traffic stop involving another deputy, who had pulled over a woman for a traffic violation
Gray never gets close enough to the traffic stop where we can see the woman, but deputies claim in their report that Gray’s presence was making her and her daughter cry because they feared he was going to harm the deputy as well as them.
But if they were crying, it is most likely because their afternoon was disrupted by the deputy who had pulled them over.
Gray was charged with obstruction and trespassing, charges that are still pending, but will probably be dropped, according to his lawyer.
The first thing that deputies did after confronting Gray was order deeper into a private parking lot, but when he complied, they intimidated the property owner into having him and his wife kicked off the property, even though the owner had not even noticed them before a deputy confronted her.
Once they ordered him off the property, Gray stepped back on the county right-of-way and was about to call his wife to tell her to move the car when the deputy slapped the phone out of his hands, causing it to shatter on the sidewalk.
Although Gray made it clear he was not resisting, one of the deputies told him “resistance is futile, you will get hurt” as he shoved him in the back of the car.
The deputy also threatened to book him as John Doe and leave him in jail for 48 hours because he had refused to provide his name when initially confronted.
But Gray was under no legal obligation to provide his name, considering they had no reasonable suspicion that he was committing a crime.
The same deputy threatens to arrest his wife if she doesn’t leave the parking lot, refusing to tell her the location of the jail or to allow her to follow him.
“Take this vehicle and leave this parking lot,” the deputy told her. “You’re not free to be on the roadway, county right-of-way or this parking lot.”
And this is the same guy blaming Gray for making the other woman cry.