Michael Burns of Cop Block Central Florida has never been known to back down from police, even making national news last year after wearing a “fuck the police” t-shirt to his trial for an obstructed license, which really was contempt-of-cop citation after he pulled over to the side of the road to video record a group of Broward County deputies.
Recording police is what he does, so when he visited Tampa over the weekend to cover the Gasparilla Pirate Fest, an annual street festival where people dress up as pirates and women expose their breasts in exchange for beads in the tradition of Mardi Gras, he was more focused on the po-po than on the ta-tas.
That is why it came as a shock to him when police accused him of video recording a naked woman they had arrested, whom they were detaining on the side of a patrol car in full view of the public.
The woman was not only full clothed, but had she been naked, he still wouldn’t have been breaking the law.
But that didn’t stop Tampa Police Corporal Joseph Reese from flinging false accusations against Burns.
“The girl is nude here, do you have a daughter? Do you have children?”
“First of all, I haven’t seen a nude female since I’ve been standing here,” Burn replied.
“She’s been standing here, she’s been nude the whole time,” Reese responded.
“Second of all, if she’s nude in public,” she can be filmed. “I will film whatever the fuck I want to film on public property.”
“Be an adult, have some human decency, the girl is nude, don’t do that to her,” Reese said.
Reese eventually walked back to where the girl was sitting to continue “protecting” her as he told Burns.
Moments later, he was pointing Burns out to the girl, informing her that, “this is the guy that was filming you naked.”
When Burns tried to correct the cop, informing the girl that he had not recorded her naked, they stormed up to him and forced him to walk away, accusing him of interfering.
Reese, who has been with the department since 2002, was named in a lawsuit a few years ago after a group of cops were caught beating a deaf man in front of a bar, including one cop who kicked the man twice.
The cops kept yelling at him to stop resisting but a video from a bystander shows he was not resisting plus the fact that he is deaf made it impossible to hear those commands.
Cowie said officers swarmed him as he was going to the aid of a friend being ejected from Gaspar’s Grotto.
Officers said Cowie took a swing at the first officer who grabbed him. Cowie denies that. As that officer took Cowie to the sidewalk, Cowie’s face slammed into a wrought-iron bench. Officers said they punched, kicked and used a Taser on Cowie because he would not stop resisting and let them see his hands.
Cowie suffered three broken bones in his face and a shoulder injury that not only required surgery, but also stopped his dream of a pursuing a career playing golf.
Cpl. Joseph J. Reese and Officers Gregory Pryor, Jayson G. Uriarte and John R. Gustafson were cleared by an internal affairs investigation. The city maintains police did not do anything wrong, but it did not want to risk taking the case to trial.
A bystander made a cellphone video of part of the arrest and posted it to YouTube. While city officials argued the video is misleading, a federal judge concluded that it “arguably contradicts the officers’ version that plaintiff’s hands were hidden under his body.”
“On the contrary, the video appears to show Reese holding plaintiff’s right arm even before the hitting, kicking and Tasering occur,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas B. McCoun III wrote in an order denying the city’s motion to dismiss the case on summary judgment. “The left arm, when visible, is seen up near plaintiff’s head as he claims.”
So Reese is already a proven liar, but knows he can get away with it, which is why he will claim night is day and day is night with a straight face.
Or for that matter, claim that a fully clothed woman is completely nude.