(UPDATED) Central Florida CopBlocker Found Guilty of Trespassing; Sentenced to 60 Days in Jail
UPDATE (5.6.16 – 6:08PM): Today I was notified that Michael Burns’s legal team, the law firm of KJ Myllyn, was able to get him an appellate bond. Burns is expected to be released this afternoon and his current sentence is suspended, with time served as credit, pending his appeal. Myllyn stated to me that he was confident in their ability to win the appeal and that Burns will most likely be receiving a new trial.
Will update this post when more details are available. For now, welcome Burns back to the free(r) world and remember to always film the police!!
In yet another case of “police don’t like to be filmed” so they’ll put bogus charges on CopBlockers and sent them off to jail is the trespassing conviction of the Founder of Central Florida CopBlock on Thursday.
Michael Burns was sentenced to 60 days in jail and 12 months of probation for the horrendous crime of “trespassing.” Burns submitted a post about the charge back in August 2015 stating:
On April 12, 2015, myself and someone else that will remain nameless were recording about 30 police officers clearing a parking lot of about 200+ club goers. When we first arrived I spoke with the security guard who granted us permission to film what was going on. From there we spent about 10 minutes filming as police started clearing the club. One hot-headed 5′ tall bouncer had a problem with us filming however I reached out to two different police as they were passing, one of whom can be seen and heard on video saying we were good to be there filming.
Insert Officer Aaron Peterman of the Lakeland Police Department, coming to tell everyone they had to leave. He approached us and said “We have been asked to clear the lot.” I asked him if we can film as they are doing it and he gave a very half-ass comment of “as long as you are moving with us” or “them.” The last word is debatable, but either way it was not a direct order to leave and no threat of arrest had been made.
We spent the next 10 minutes filming as the crowd dwindled, but a few small fights happened. We watched a man hit a woman in the face and Officer Peterman did nothing, but walk them to their car. I made a few (quite a few) sarcastic and comedic (in my opinion) comments as to having to stay away from Officer Peterman during the last 10 minutes of filming. I knew what he had told me was not an actual order to leave the property under threat of arrest, but I did not want it to reach that point. So I did keep about a 50′ bumper area between myself and the officers as they were doing what they were doing. No other officer seemed to have a problem with me being there and again, in my opinion, Officer Peterman at the time was just going with the flow and said what he said never to be heard from again. I poked the bear with a few sarcastic comments that he ended up hearing two weeks later when he watched the video on my YouTube channel.
He set my arrest in motion by filing papers with the state saying my video showed me in the act of trespassing after being ordered to leave.
Below is the video from the April 12th incident that resulted in Burns’s trespassing charges. Note how a few dozen (Burn’s claims nearly 200) people are also technically trespassing in the exact same manner that Burns was and know that NO OTHER TRESPASSING tickets were issued that night. In fact, you’ll see that even Burns wasn’t arrested the day of the incident but several MONTHS later. IMO, that proves this is more about him filming the police than what he did that night.
As I mentioned above, nobody was actually issued a tresspassing ticket that night. In fact, this night never even made Burns’s YouTube channel until police came to arrest him over 6 months later for missing court. See video below.
VIDEO OF ARREST ON WARRANT
Once Burns was released from jail and fully aware of his charges he started to pick them apart.
Despite the points Burns made in the video above the state didn’t dismiss the charge. On Thursday he had a jury trial and, as you’ll see in his recap video below, he was hopeful that the judge wouldn’t sentence him to jail if found guilty. He noted that he really wasn’t the cause for concern that night but realizes that the prosecutor most likely wouldn’t just drop, so jail was a possibility. If you ask me, if you go to trial and lose, you will get the max. Especially if you’re a ‘CopBlocker’ and more so if you’re Michael Burns – who previously wore a “fuck the police” shirt to court (and won).
GOING TO COURT VIDEO:
Sadly, Burns was found guilty and called me from jail to confirm what I had already heard. He’s now the third CopBlocker this year to be given a stiff sentence over a victimless crime that are clearly due to their actions of filming the police and not the actual crimes they are convicted of. If you trespassed at someone else’s property and took it to trial you’d probably get probation but if you film the police you get 2 months in jail PLUS probation. The sentence was also more than the plea offers from the state and is another form of punishment in and of itself. If you refuse to take their deals they’ll give you more time for going to trial. The whole system, every last step, is corserive.
Burns is a seasoned CopBlocker though and has been to jail. He knows that the videos above, and the many others on his YouTube channel, are the only ‘wins’ that really matter. They show you the truth, wake people up and inspire others to do the same. No matter how hard they try to punish us, it cannot be stopped. When I talked to Burns yesterday he said everything is fine and that he’ll “see you in 50 days.” Yet, in his “On My Way to Court” video he said, “Call the Lakeland Police and tell them they suck for this.”
I figured that’s the least I could do.
LAKELAND POLICE Non Emergency Number: 863.834.6900
TELLING LAKELAND POLICE THEY SUCK: