A Florida activist has said that he discovered that he was framed for public masturbation by one officer who did not like the idea of police being recorded on video.
In a video posted to his YouTube channel late last week, Cop Block Central Florida activist Michael Burns explains that he was watching Lakeland police officer Javier Perez as he worked an off-duty shift at Hookah Palace in January.
During the filming, an on-duty police officer arrives, and tells him that he has been reported for doing something in his vehicle that he "should be doing in private." That officer releases Burns after quickly concluding that he was only recording police.
Burns later obtained an audio recording of the person who reported him, who tells the dispatcher that he thinks a "suspicious person" is "masturbating." He also obtains the telephone number of the caller. An Internet search determined that the number belonged to officer Perez.
“I did a Spokeo search and it came back to a Javier Perez,” Burns told the Photography Is Not A Crime Blog.
Perez's sergeant also confirmed to Burns on camera that an officer was being investigated for making false reports, but he refused to give the officer's name.
Photography Is Not A Crime's Carlos Miller, however, doubted that an internal investigation would result in justice.
"But we already know that when cops investigate cops, it usually leads to cops protecting cops," he wrote. "But since it’s already been confirmed the calls were made to the department’s non-emergency line, we can already see where they are going with this; essentially preparing to sweep this under the carpet by informing Burns that no law or policy was broken because the calls were not made to 911."
Burns pointed out that Florida Statute 817.49 does not limit false reports to the 911 emergency line.
Burns was scheduled to meet with the sergeant who was conducting the internal investigation on Tuesday night, and he planned to record the meeting.
Watch this video from Michael Burns.