Now comes a story from Florida that is tragically similar to dozens of others on Photography Is Not A Crime.
On August 26, a permanently disabled U.S. veteran named Jim Duffy who uses a collator walker sat in a public park in Tampa recording video of MacDill Air Force Base from nearby Gadsden Park.
Before long, Duffy was illegally detained by Tampa police for recording in public – which is, of course, not a crime.
The following quotes are sadly stereotypical of the encounters that end up on PINAC, in another shocking case of routine police abuse.
“How you doin’?” asked Officer Larry Yeoman of the Tampa police.
“I don’t answer questions,” Duffy said.
“Any ID on you?” Yeoman asked without justification.
“Did I break any laws? Am I free to go or am I being detained?” responded the veteran.
“You are definitely being detained.”
“What law did I break?”
“You were taking pictures of the military base.”
“Is it against the law?”
“Yes sir, it is.”
When Duffy continued to ask what law he had broken, Yeoman just went silent, likely knowing that the photographer had broken no laws.
However, this encounter soon devolved into a despicable back and forth, with Officer Yeoman displaying the professionalism of a six-year-old.
“Yeah, I see your brain is disabled,” the officer remarked. “I would knock you out.”
Police apologists will note that Duffy was also less than pleasant with the officer, failing to see that the officer is using the force of his gun and badge to detain the man and tacitly threaten him with arrest while being generally rude to a man for asserting his rights.
The police claim to serve and protect, but this type of service would get an employee fired at any professional business. Police forces that want to live up to their motto – such as the NYPD’s “Courtesy Professionalism Respect” would severely reprimand or fire officers that behaved this way.
Duffy said he has reached out to attorneys, but they have refused to take his case. He is hoping to find one that would take his case.
In an interview with Photography is Not a Crime, Duffy stated the following in a Facebook message:
I come from a LEO family.. My dad was with the NYPD and I have many family and friends that were either on the job or have retired… IDK if it matters but I’m a WTC survivor which is the reason for my disability and a main reason I can’t stand them using the terrorism excuse.
If you’re an attorney and would like to take his case, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, who will forward Duffy your information.
Duffy said he has been contacted by an internal affairs officer from the Tampa Police Department but he does not feel comfortable speaking with them without an attorney.
The four videos below include his altercation with Yeomon along with three videos documenting everything from that day.