Requesting Public Records – A Dangerous Endeavor…. Not For The Faint Of Heart

ifihadasonIn a part of Jack Cashill’s latest book, “If I Had A Son – Race, Guns, and The Railroading of George Zimmerman“, Jack outlined a brief snippet of my encounters with M-DSPD Law Enforcement while seeking to obtain public records.      I can tell you from first-hand experience it is dangerous, literally physically dangerous, and nerve wracking.

Because few, if any, citizens attempt to keep public officials focused on the lawful execution of their role/job; and because few, if any, journalists actually do the boot work to gain first-hand information contained within those records,  government officials feel little to no compulsion to comply with the law.

Most of the officials, clerks, administrators, and compliance persons, associated with facilitation of Public Records have no idea what the laws are which should guide their compliance with lawfully requested record fulfillment.   Those that do have some understanding know how to pressure, leverage, manipulate and delay such requests.

It is the policy of this state [Florida] that all state, county, and municipal records are open for personal inspection and copying by any person. Providing access to public records is a duty of each agency.   (Pam Bondi FL Statute 119.01 Public Records)

It is not a mission for the faint at heart.

Persistence is the key.   But organization, preparation and training yourself to stay in control of your “fight or flight” emotion is an absolute necessity.

Here are some recent video-graphic examples of what can and will be encountered.

The first is from the lobby of the 4th District State Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville Florida.  This is the SAO run by Angela Corey.  The request is for the visitors log – The request was made by Florida Open Gov WATCH:

(1) SAO policy requires citizens to present ID once you clear the checkpoint. This is a violation of public record law.
(2) Detective Earnest C Evans demanded an explanation as to why we needed to see the daily visitors log. This also is a violation of public records law.
(3) We were removed from the building under threat of arrest without our public records request being met.
(4) We were forced to turn off ( visible cameras ) preventing us from documenting the public records request and violating the 1st amendment.

This Second Example is from PhotographyIsNotACrime as they encounter Hialeah. A Miami-Dade municipality that has a long history of corruption, despite its “City of Progress” nickname:

It all started when we walked into city hall with Florida public records guru Joel Chandler, who has sued hundreds of government agencies for refusing to comply with the state public record law. Here are a couple of our previous adventures with other agencies in Miami-Dade County.

The Florida public records law is pretty basic. Any citizen can walk into any government agency and make a verbal request to inspect and photograph records.

But government officials tend to force citizens to jump through a series of bureaucratic hoops to obtain the records, usually insisting the requests be made in writing, allowing them to throw the request on a back burner and go back to their usual business of whatever it is they don’t want us to see, which is why they go into a panic when they see us walk in with cameras.

Each of these examples represent the typical governmental response anyone should anticipate when trying to gain public records.   Laws vary from state to state, so before you begin such an endeavor you should become intimately familiar with exactly what the laws are, and what rights you have.

patriotThese are trying times we live in.   There are bigger discussion issues at stake, but one thing is certain, the larger the government becomes – the more emboldened they feel to keep you from knowing what they are doing.

For them, “Sunlight” is considered a RISK.


This entry was posted in Angela Corey, Ben Kruidbos, BGI - Black Grievance Industry, Day By Day Trayvon Lies - The Story, Dept Of Justice, M-DSPD, Police action, Typical Prog Behavior, Uncategorized, Zimmerman Post Trial Threads. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Requesting Public Records – A Dangerous Endeavor…. Not For The Faint Of Heart

  1. AdukeLAXobserver says:

    Why is it 17-year-old’s with their own websites are having to do FOIA? Where are those “real reporters”, that Feinstein and the rest of the Senate want to protect? Furthermore reporting on governmental malfeasance shouldn’t just be left to the “real reporters”. Because those “real reporters” won’t do it. They have been intentionally ignoring stories for years. The legacy media has been exposed. How many “real reporters” have any integrity? Long live those that report in their pajamas!


  2. sangell says:

    There are no ‘public’ buildings, just government buildings and they belong to those who work in them. You go to D.C. now and government offices are completely inaccessible. Most have been moved out to the suburbs surrounded by steel fencing with a single entry point manned by armed security ( not rent a cops either but real police as every government agency now has its own uniformed police division). If you don’t have an appointment, you don’t get in.


  3. When on the guys asked the cop why they were there or why they were “detaining” them he told him it was because people felt intimidated – nothing to do with the cameras. He mentioned “this day and age”. That is the exact same “logic” that the police used on the Vet who was on a 10 mile Eagle Scout hike with his son in Texas. The cop physically disarmed him of his rifle and then they placed him under arrest. It is completely legal to carry a rifle openly in Texas as long as it is not being displayed in a threatening manner. This guy was out in the country walked and the rifle was on a strap around his chest. The reason for the disarming? “People felt threatened.” Not because he was pointing it at anyone or anything, just because he had it. The reason for arresting him? He argued about what the law is with the police officer – basically, like the guys in the video above just did. The official reason was “resisting arrest.”

    The police in the country are not educated and most of them know very little about the actual law, other than the criminal aspects they face day to day. They use their authority to intimidate and to repress. We have another case here in Houston going on now, where a Constable Sargent has been arrested and charged with official oppression. The incident occurred about 2 years ago and the Captain made a comment about why the victim did not come forward sooner. The reason, of course, is fear of retaliation. The Grand Jury has indicted the officer and his is on administrative leave, now, pending adjudication. The video is over the top of the cop running up, kicking the guy, who was already on the ground in handcuffs, 5 times in the ribs. He punched him and knee dropped his neck and back twice. The victim’s crime? He “rolled through” a stop sign on his street in his neighborhood. Before it was over, there were 10 police vehicles and they had arrested him, his mother, his father, his sister and his aunt. All charges against them were dismissed. Two of them were arrested for filming the incident.



  4. dws says:

    I admire anyone who risks themselves for FOIA. It’s like dealing with the mafia.


  5. czarowniczy says:

    Yep, I saw it in the federal government – stall, obfuscate, delay, drag feet and make the operation as expensive for the requester as you can – then send the two reams of paper that have more redactions than not. New Orleans is particularly bad about not providing public records that state law says are public, flat out not providing them and making the requester hire a lawyer and go to court to get them – and even if you win they’ll even more. A few years back the city DA, Jim Garrison, Kennedy conspiracy grand jury records were found in cardboard boxes and a clerk, with full belief they were public records, started releasing them to the press. City powers-that-be had a fit, even though the whole debacle clown-show was over 40 years old and decided. Records were stored in s secure place and if you ask for release you’ll be denied, told they can’t be found, and you’ll most likely get about $5000 in traffic tickets – even of you don’t drive – in one week. Remember the Miami police and the Miami River incident too and suddenly the relatively harassment by a more benign police enforcement agency doesn’t seem all that bed. The records may be ‘public’ but not your ‘public’.


  6. Angel King says:

    As for our dealings with the States Attorneys Office & the Jacksonville Beach Police & Sheriffs Office, Medical Examiners Office – ALL these agencies violate the laws but do not hesitate to point fingers & rat each other out in a heartbeat. We have documents to prove it. We have done many public records
    requests throughout agencies in Jacksonville Florida in relation to my daughters murder which was covered up by their own ignorance and stupidity.

    These agencies refused to admit they screwed up from the beginning. We retain fraudulant modified documents where they were trying to further dig the hole that they figured would bury their ignorance. In return these agencies never realized the hole they dug was their own that will be hard to get out of when ALL is exposed.


  7. nivico says:

    FOIA becomes somewhat of a moot issue when they take deliberate measures to ensure that the ‘information’ never exists in the first place…

    From the MDSPD’s falsifying reports on juvenile crimes in its schools, to undocumented depositions of and conversations with key state witnesses, to Kruidbos’s claims that SAO interoffice emails are intentionally vague and can’t be linked back to the case, to BDLR meeting with FDLE agents at a Burger King rather than through formal channels.

    Our criminal justice system relies heavily on trust, and when that trust is violated and taken advantage of there needs to be serious consequences for the offender(s).


  8. ZurichMike says:

    When I back in the US in the 1990’s, I needed information from a state agency (in collusion with some contractors getting preferential treatment and/or kickbacks), I called the state agency and said “Pursuant to law X, I am notifying you 24 hours in advance that I will avail myself of my rights under the FOIA and present myself to review Y documents”. Within one hour a state attorney called me and tried to browbeat me into not showing up. You know, a state attorney who is *obligated* to uphold the law, not prevent others from its protections and rights. Unbelievable. I went anyway. It was fun. Got what I needed, and the state agency was in a state of perpetual pants-wetting the entire time I was there.


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