|Flickr/ photographer padawan *(xava du)|
Orlando Cop Watch activist, John Kurtz, has been ordered jailed for 30 days with 1 year probation for resisting arrest without violence.
Kurtz's case came to public attention in January after he was arrested for filming a case of police brutality administered at the hands of officer Adam Gruler, well known for his questionable conduct and liberal use of tasers and verbal abuse. Kurtz was facing a possible 6-year prison sentence for his audacity to film a public servant attacking a member of the public even after the person was restrained with handcuffs.
Kurtz's video camera was confiscated after his arrest and mysteriously went missing, destroying a key piece of evidence for his own defense, as well as to document exactly what happened that day. The evidence, therefore, relied upon the words of police officers attached to the event.
Despite the conflicting testimony of these officers -- including the arresting officer Adam Gruler himself saying that John did not resist -- Kurtz was still convicted of resisting his illegal arrest.
The pattern of lawlessness is reaching a fever pitch, as there is now an overt war by police on photojournalists. The use of intimidation, escalating brutality, and a permissive court system is now spiraling out of control. Kurtz's case is a clear violation of the 1st and 4th amendments, yet the conviction stands.
Similarly the charge of "resisting arrest" has become a mantra for officers, which is allowing for horrendous acts of police brutality, even of society's most vulnerable. YouTube is filled with examples of people lying face-down, cuffed, kneeled upon and pummeled as officers continue to shout "stop resisting!" This is done not only as a show of power, but it also reinforces the legal justification for their behavior and is intended to lead to convictions like those of John Kurtz. The result has a chilling effect on anti-police state activists, as well as photojournalists in general.
Please take action and call Judge Alan S. Apte, Orlando Police Department, and the Orange County Jail. Let them know that caging peaceful people will not be tolerated by the general public.
Circuit Judge Alan S. Apte
Address: 425 N Orange Ave, Courtroom 18A, Orlando, FL 32801
Judicial Assistant: Hale
Hale’s Email Address: email@example.com
Chief Judge Belvin Perry
Address: 425 N Orange Ave, Courtroom 19D, Orlando, FL 32801
Judicial Assistant: Gay
Orlando Police Department Headquarters
Address: 100 South Hughey Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32801-2501
Non-Emergency Complaint Desk: 321-235-5300
Information Desk: 407-246-2470
Community Relations: 407-246-2461
Orange County Corrections Jail Facilities
Address: P.O. Box 4970, Orlando, FL 32802
Source for this article: Orlando Cop Watch