The good news is that Jeff Gray and Joel Chandler are now officially part of Photography is Not a Crime after having accepted my invitation to become partners, a move that will bolster the site to unprecedented levels in the ensuing months as we incorporate and expand our resources to continuing ensuring government transparency.
The bad news is that Gray is now sitting in jail after having recorded a traffic stop on his way back home to St. Augustine from Miami this afternoon, charged with obstruction of justice.
Clearly, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office just stepped into a huge pile of PINAC Precedent because they have no idea what’s in store for them.
Gray’s dash cam video, which was uploaded by his wife, Teresa, shows he was nowhere near the traffic stop when he was arrested. In fact, she had to turn the dash cam to capture his arrest.
The arrest begins at 2:00.
Teresa tried to use her phone to record the deputy, but he ordered her to “get that camera out of my face,” so she placed it on her lap and continued recording.
The deputy gave Teresa the old sob story as how their jobs are so dangerous that citizens must scurry away as they conduct traffic stops in order not to make them fear for their lives.
“He was walking around the deputy, making him nervous, there’s no reason for that, do you understand how dangerous traffic stops are?” the deputy told Teresa.
But Gray was walking nowhere near the deputy as the video will show.
Teresa said her husband began recording the traffic stop from beside his vehicle in a parking lot, but deputies in an unmarked car ordered him out of the parking lot, so he moved to the green space between the lot and the street, at least 200 feet from the traffic stop.
But that was enough to strike fear in the hearts of deputies.
“(The deputy) has an obligation to that citizen in that car and his family to go home to today,” the deputy told Teresa, the irony that her husband would like to enjoy his Constitutional right to record cops and a night with his own family completely lost on him.
The deputy then ordered Teresa to leave, telling her, “take this vehicle and leave this parking lot, you’re not free to be on the roadway, county right-of-way or this parking lot,” perhaps expecting her to hover her way out of the area, refusing to even tell her where the jail was located.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office encourages citizens to call or email them on a page they title “How Are We Doing?”
Call them at (321) 264-5201.
They are also hosting an open town hall meeting on October 29, so that might be a good time to question their unconstitutional tactics.
We will be providing more details about the partnership once we get past this issue.
UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Teresa who said he is being charged with two counts of resisting arrest without violence and one count of trespassing. He is still in jail.
UPDATE II: Teresa paid the bail about an hour or so ago, only to be told it could be two to eight hours for him to be released.
UPDATE III: Jeff Gray was released from jail. Teresa captures it all on camera.
UPDATE IV: Jeff said that they refused to release his iPhone and other body-worn cameras he was wearing at the time, holding them as “evidence.”
Obviously, evidence against their Constitutional violations.