Florida Deputies Arrest Man for Video Recording Courthouse in Jacksonville
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution gives We the People the right to stand on a public sidewalk and document everything we can see.
But our old friends at the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville can't seem to grasp that concept.
Even after PINAC filed a federal lawsuit in the summer of 2015 over our right to take photos and videos of the $350,000,000 facility, including all entrances and exits to the building, deputies are still arresting citizens for doing just that.
The latest was Jeffrey Fraley, 54, who was arrested by Jacksonville Sheriff's deputies outside of the courthouse for pointing his video camera in the direction of a parking garage used by judges and other officials who work in the building.
Fraley was not only recording the inside of the garage from the public sidewalk, he was live streaming the video to social media so viewers were able to watch the interaction showing deputies demanding he stop recording.
Viewers also saw the same deputies arrest him minutes later when he refused to turn the camera off.
"Sir, I told you, you can't video tape in there," the deputy tells Fraley before ordering him to place his hands behind his back and arresting him.
Fraley says he was taken from the sidewalk into the courthouse and placed in a holding cell before being brought to the Jacksonville County Jail for processing. He was charged with opposing law enforcement and resisting without violence and his phone was seized. He was released later that afternoon on his own recognizance.
Fraley says deputies taunted him while he waited to be transferred, even mentioning their previous arrest of PINAC Reporter Michael Hoffman.
PINAC readers will remember Michael Hoffman, who led a crusade back in 2015 to ensure that the First Amendment was respected by officials in Duval County. Hoffman was not only arrested while holding signs at the airport in Jacksonville, he was also arrested outside of the same courthouse parking garage back in 2015.
Hoffman's incidents with courthouse officials prompted PINAC's Jeff Gray aka Honor Your Oath to return to the same public sidewalk with the late great Thomas Covenant aka Epic Old Guy, and point a camera at the same parking garage. More about that here.
Officials there tried and failed to trespass the pair before Duval County Chief Judge Mark Mahon issued an order banning photography and protests from the entire complex and adjacent surroundings.
So you can imagine our surprise and disgust here in the PINAC Newsroom when we heard that deputies and security guards still don't understand that photography is not a crime.