Polk County Detention Officers Under Investigation for Refusing to Identify Themselves to Citizen with Camera

By Carlos Miller

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from Photography is Not a Crime: PINAC.

Yesterday I posted a video showing a group of Polk County detention officers refusing to identify themselves when asked by Michael Burns, who was being harassed and threatened with arrest for video recording from a public sidewalk outside the jail in Central Florida.

When Burns told them it was a departmental policy, they blew him off, demanding to know what policy requires them to disclose their names when asked.

It was obviously a tactic to force the burden of proof on Burns, even though it is quite common for law enforcement organizations to have such policies.

But thanks to a public records request by Jeff Frazier of Seminole Watch, we now have that policy.

It is General Order 26.1 (10) (f), which also states violating that policy can result in an 8-hour suspension. The entire general order is here for your reading pleasure.

Frazier’s inquiries also prompted an investigation on the officers, which means the department cannot release their names due to the FSS 112, commonly known as the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights, which basically states that cops have more rights than the rest of us.

After all, our names become public record once we are under investigation.

But Frazier also obtained the duty roster from that night, so now we have the names of all the detention officers working that night, which includes two sergeants, one who must have been the one doing the talking that night as Burns identified him as a sergeant.

The detention officer named Lacey who identified himself in the beginning was probably entering his shift at 6 a.m., which is why his name did not show up here.

Screenshot 2014-02-14 18.15.20

This is what Frazier had to say:

“It is because of the courage of individuals who understand the meaning of the status of a ‘public servant’ and who boldly risk life and liberty that all of us have freedom,” Frazier said.

“Our public records laws are designed to ensure that the truth is exposed to the light. And that there is a check and balance for those public servants who dishonor their oath of office.”

There is also the issue that perhaps these same detention officers lied about Burns trespassing onto jail property when they contacted Bartow police to harass him, but we still need to determine whether or not the Bartow cop was lying about receiving that report.

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