Michael Burns, of CopBlock Central Florida, submitted this post, via the Cop Block submissions page. This consists of an update on the arrest of Tommy Jackson, supposedly for obstruction but really for filming the police. That arrest was reported previously on CopBlock.org in this post. In addition, a first update was posted here regarding the refusal of the police to return his cell phone with the video he recorded on it.
Date of Incident: July 2015
Department Involved: Polk County Sheriff’s Office
Department’s Phone No.: (863) 298-6200
Back in Late July, I was called by a long-time subscriber and frequent subject of my personal videos with the Lakeland Police & Polk County Sheriffs. He had attempted to film someone being arrested by the po-lice (sic) and told me an officer had grabbed his arm and forced him to ID himself. He was going to call the supervisor to attempt to have that officer arrested. I gave him the non-emergency number and took about 20 minutes to get to where he was…I have 25 minutes of video from that night that was posted in late July.
When the supervisor showed, rather than watching the video in question they arrested Tommy. First for “misuse of 911,” but then switching it to obstruction when they figured out he did not actually call 911. Tommy sat in jail for 60 days and then took a plead on something (not verified, but I think resisting arrest) to get out of jail.
After getting out of jail and picking up his property. He noticed the property bag had been cut open and his phone was missing. He asked everyone and finally figured out that a deputy had checked it out for evidence.
Well, days passed and he was shuffled from department to department, no one knowing where his phone was. He finally reached out to me and I attempted to call the Polk County Sheriff to get the phone back. I was given the name of someone who had it and was told I would get an email. That never happened…it had been a month now since he has been out…
Finally, I wrote about it…within two days of a story on CopBlock.org asking people to call the department, they tracked him down and got him is phone back!
Strangely, they did not delete the footage and the footage shows Tommy was falsely arrested. He never got “4 feet” away from anyone 15 feet would be liberal. but he immediately backed up when he was asked to. The officer decided to escalate the situation, not Tommy. And if you have seen past videos of Tommy, you know he is usually the one to escalate. (As he did later that night, later in the video.)
The deputy still lied to his supervisor about what happened. Tommy did fully comply with being told to back up. The deputy used force to gain ID when Tommy actually correctly articulated that they had no crime to investigate. The Deputy called filming a crime. The Sheriff’s department obviously had the phone and saw the video however nothing has been done to rectify the situation. Tommy spent 60 days in jail over this officer’s misuse of authority and out-right lies about Tommy “obstructing.”
– Michael Burns