Florida District Attorney Refuses To Prosecute Citizen for Videotaping Officer in Public

We have another case of a police officer arresting a citizen for videotaping him in public . . . with a twist. We finally have a prosecutor, Pinellas (Florida) State Attorney Bernie McCabe who refuses to prosecute such an abusive charge unlike so many other prosecutors who take these cases and perpetuate the abuse against the citizens. What is interesting is the response of Tarpon Springs Captain Jeff Young (left).

William Kilgore and his friend, Tommy Frain, were taping a Tarpon Springs Police officer on the street when they were confronted by the officer with a threat of arrest. Kilfore and Frain, however, insist that the arrest was not just improper, but the officer lied on tape.

On tape, Corporal Steve Gassen reportedly tells Kilgore, “Just so you know, if you have the audio on without our consent, that is a felony.” When Kilgore disagrees, Gassen says “That’s Maryland, this is a federal issue still supported by the Florida Supreme Court and it states you could get wrapped up in a $5,000 bond.” Most notably, after asking whether Kilgore is a lawyer, Gassen is quoted as saying “I have arrested numerous people for it in public.”

Despite the decision not to prosecute and the allegations that Gassen lied, Tarpon Springs Captain Jeff Young insists that he knows of nothing that his officer did wrong. This apparently includes the fact that Young believes officers can arrest citizens for filming officers in public. Most worrisome is Young’s statement in the article below that he has not bothered to listen to the tape — before concluding that he knows of nothing improper by his officer. It is reminiscent of D.C. Assistant Chief Newsham clearing an officer who was shown on tape brandishing his gun at people who hit is private car with a snowball.

Once again, these arrests for public videotaping are universally dismissed by courts or, as here, by prosecutors. However, officers are rarely disciplined for the abusive arrests — reinforcing the view that such arrests can be carried out without fear of accountability.

Source: WTSP found on Reddit.

9 thoughts on “Florida District Attorney Refuses To Prosecute Citizen for Videotaping Officer in Public

  1. Wow, this is great news especially from Florida and Pinellas, Tarpon Springs to be exact…. They are generally not people you wanna mess with….

    Is this the beginning of the Twilight?

  2. Looking out over the coming years I would expect our burgeoning police state will criminalize video and audio recordings of officers by citizens almost universally.

    Police will also seek anonymity wherever possible, with more use of ID-free uniforms and vehicles that are commonly used with SWAT teams. I hope I am wrong, but see little evidence of current trends reversing. Use of force is escalating, para-militarization of departments is widespread, violent no-knock raids are applied to routine arrests, and the vast majority of police abuses and assaults are unpunished or even rewarded.

  3. I’m with rafflaw. Is the gentle citizen not due compensation for his lost time and expense due to the punk officer?

  4. rafflaw
    1, March 2, 2011 at 11:31 am
    Kudos to the prosecutor. Now, how about charging this idiot for false arrest!?

    ===============================================

    … and build the charges from there

  5. wow, justice breaks out in florida, expect national guard deployment soon (wait, they’re still in iraq)

  6. . . .According to this article,”Florida District Attorney Refuses To Prosecute Citizen for Videotaping Officer in Public,” William Kilgore and his friend, Tommy Frain, were taping a Tarpon Springs Police officer, Corporal Steve Gassen, on the street when they were confronted by the officer with a threat of arrest. Kilfore and Frain, however, insist that the arrest was not just improper, but the officer lied on tape.
    . . . On tape, Corporal Steve Gassen reportedly tells Kilgore, “Just so you know, if you have the audio on without our consent, that is a felony.” When Kilgore disagrees, Gassen says “That’s Maryland, this is a federal issue still supported by the Florida Supreme Court and it states you could get wrapped up in a $5,000 bond.” Gassen is quoted as saying “I have arrested numerous people for it in public.”
    . . . Despite the decision not to prosecute and the allegations that Gassen lied, Tarpon Springs Captain Jeff Young insists that he knows of nothing that his officer did wrong.’
    . . . Extensive civil and federal RICO litigation of all the offenses perpetrated by the police, “under color of law,” need to be filed with the courts. The Mayor, city counsel, and anybody else connected with this Tarpon Springs Police Department behavior should also be named as Defendants.
    . . .The main thing to examine the repeated patterns of behavior to determine whether or not Police Captain Jeff Young oversaw previous incidents of “False Arrest” abuses wherein Captain Jeff Young insisted that he knew of nothing that his officers did wrong. Eventually the patterns of behavior catch up to these types of so-called police and the juries rule against them.
    . . . William Kilgore and his friend, Tommy Frain, would do well to examine how police handled this matter, then decide what types of Complaints they should file against Tarpon Springs Police officer, Corporal Steve Gassen and the others.

Comments are closed.