Newest PINAC Staff Member Arrested, Cameras Confiscated,

Andrew Meyer

Newest PINAC Staff Member Arrested, Cameras Confiscated, for Holding Signs Outside Airport

Former law enforcement officer Michale Hoffman, who is joining Photography Is Not A Crime as a staff investigator similar to PINAC’s Jeff Gray, was arrested Tuesday by Jacksonville Aviation Authority police for holding signs on the side of the highway.

A JAA police officer walked up to Hoffman, identified him by name, and told him he was “being trespassed” off the property and had five minutes to leave. Hoffman’s signs read “Police State,” “Liars Investigating Liars,” “F??K THE TSA,” and “IRS = Terrorist.”

Hoffman was standing on the side of the road a half a mile from the airport on a one-way street that leads to the airport when police approached him. Hoffman told the JAA officer that he was standing on public property and would not leave. Five SUVs – two that looked like SWAT-type vehicles – with six officers pulled up to arrest him.

“I have a right to stand there and hold signs,” said Hoffman. “I’ve done this hundreds of times as an investigator.”

Not only was Hoffman arrested, handcuffed for three-and-a-half hours without access to water, a bathroom, or medical help (Hoffman is diabetic) and charged with trespassing, but the police also illegally confiscated Hoffman’s three cameras as “evidence,” did not give Hoffman a receipt for the cameras and now claim there were no cameras.

The video above shows one of Hoffman’s previous visits to the airport, where he conducted a First Amendment audit on the right to photograph at a public airport.

While a camera can only be confiscated if used in the commission of a crime, unless JAA police admit that they have Hoffman’s cameras, their actions amount to armed robbery. Hoffman is having his attorney review a written demand to JAA to return his cameras within 24 hours before filing a complaint with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for armed robbery as well as individual lawsuits.

Hoffman, who worked for two-and-a-half years at Wicomico County Department of Corrections in Maryland, left because of the department’s corruption.

“When there was something wrong, you brought it to the attention of those in a position to correct it, and there would be excuses and [no actions] to correct it,” said Hoffman.

Hoffman has been making videos demonstrating our rights on a number of issues, including jury nullification and freedom of speech. Hoffman’s TSA sign used to read “FUCK THE TSA,” just to prove he had a legal and Constitutional right to use that language, and Hoffman stood his ground when threatened with arrest.

“My goal is to get people to come challenge me,” Hoffman said. “Because hopefully we can get into a very intelligent conversation on what it is I’m trying to wake people up about.” On working with PINAC, Hoffman said “I feel very excited and to be honest with you I feel very honored.”

Despite creating a website called Fuck The Goverment, Michale Hoffman (first name pronounced Michael) is about as courteous as possible with law enforcement officers while standing up for his Constitutional rights.

“The reason I do that is because I’m a hyper guy. I would be more combative and in your face, but I realized that would not let me achieve the goal I want. Whether I like it or not, sometimes I have to take those actions to get the responses I need,” said Hoffman, who has a long history of taking action.

“I’ve been this way my entire life. I remember as a kid standing up and defending people I didn’t even know because of what I perceived as a wrong. I don’t even want recognition for these things…I just see something wrong, I gotta say something. I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of hours of research. When I see these things, my heart hurts man.”

Hoffman recently broke the story of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office use of a Stingray device that picks up all cell phone information in it’s radius. While doing a public records request, Hoffman was given NSA documents that detailed the JSO’s use of a “Stingray” or “Kingfish” that acts like a cell phone tower. The device is the size of a briefcase, and any cell phone devices in its radius cling to that device like a cell tower, allowing people to listen to active phone calls, and see the emails, messages and more of any cell phone in its range. Hoffman called local media and they jumped on the story. JSO tried to claim the devices were five years old, obsolete and no longer in use, but JSO hadn’t even owned the devices for 5 years, and had spent over $400,000 on them.

At the moment, Hoffman is focused on the Jacksonville Airport Authority police, and the return of his cameras. To contact the JAA, call (904)741-2040.

Check out the two videos below where Hoffman introduces himself upon the launch of his Youtube channel.

For news tips on aerial photography and drones, contact Andrew Meyer, PINAC’s staff writer covering UAV photography, the First Amendment, and more. Follow him on twitter @theandrewmeyer.


War on Photography