Michael Burns, of Central Florida CopBlock & the man that wore a “Fuck the Police Shirt” to court, was recently arrested by Polk County Sheriff’s for a trespassing violation. It seems that Polk County Sheriff’s have much going on these days as they came to arrest Burns over a video he posted nearly three months ago. I guess there are no violent crimes to work on in Florida? According to Burns:
On July 25th 2015 Five Polk County Sheriff’s surrounded my moms house to serve an arrest warrant on me. Two police in the back and one on the side, two more made contact with my mom down stairs. She confirmed I was at her house and upstairs though strangely, the officers allowed her to call me to come down stairs and did not bully their way up. My mom did tell me on the phone they said if I did not come down they were coming up so at that point I knew they were going to arrest me and did not only want to talk as they told my mom and attempted to tell me when I first opened the door.
As the video shows, I was baffled at the reason for arrest. I had never been arrested for trespassing. I knew I hadn’t been so when they said it was a warrant for missing court on trespassing I was thinking they had the wrong Michael Burns. Quickly they confirmed it with my date of birth and middle name. I still had no idea what they were talking about and after a few activist turning up dead in police custody, I had made sure to tell my mom I had a feeling this was going to be that. It was not for almost 30 minutes in custody at a Polk County Substation I was briefly showed a report that mentioned a YouTube video and a parking lot. This narrowed it down for me and I at least knew what they were talking about. A Butt-hurt Lakeland Police officer (still nameless to me but updates to come) that gave me a half-ass order to leave a parking lot while I was filming a chaotic scene in Lakeland between the LPD and rowdy and intoxicated club-goers. Two police officers (one with stripes) had already told me I was okay to be there filming. The security officer posted in the parking lot by the property management had told me he did not mind me filming either.
VIDEO OF THE “TRESPASSING” BURNS WAS ARRESTED FOR:
After all this, one police officer decided to tell me to leave. He claimed they had been given trespassing powers for the night. I talked to the security officer and found out this was not given by him. I am going to be talking with the property management Monday but I highly doubt anyone called them that night and gave them that power specifically. I have my doubts but there is also a chance the property manager has already been contacted by the police and agreed to be a witness for them.
I spent roughly 23 hours in police custody and driven nearly 120 miles round trip between substations, booking in Bartow, and the holding facility in Frostproof. All filthy holding cells filled with dirt, bugs & toenail clippings… and a overload of nonviolent offenders with no victims to speak of. The Polk County Sheriff stole 42 dollars from my wallet in the form of a booking fee and daily housing fee though otherwise I must say… everyone in the Polk Sheriff’s office I dealt with during my 23 hours between 3 buildings acted professionally and seemingly walked on eggshells with me. Most Officers from the Bartow Booking jail knew who I was and one even apologized for a previous encounter/video he had starred in. One LPD officer that happened to be in booking saw me being taken out of the van and said, “We Finally Got You?” I reminded him the last time they “got me” they ended up on the news not looking so good. I plan to do that again!
– Michael Burns
If you watch the video the Polk Co Sheriff’s claims is the reason for the arrest you can see that Burns was told to leave the property by a security guard and then told he could stay according to a lieutenant of the Lakeland Police. Even I was confused after watching the video if the property is public or private. Nevertheless, I wonder if this will be a common practice for the police when targeting CopBlockers or Police Watchers.
Consider calling the Lakeland Police & Polk Sheriff at (863) 834-6900.
VIDEO COMPILATION OF MICHAEL TELL OFF COPS: