Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Orlando CopWatch activist not guilty, goes to jail anyway

Orlando CopWatch founder John Kurtz announced on July 7 that he is appealing his sentence of 30 days in jail and one year probation after being found not guilty of his felony charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.

The quixotic outcome is the result of a June 30 trial in Orlando FL.

Kurtz was arrested in the early hours of New Years Day in downtown Orlando while filming police officers who were making "a violent arrest," according to a news release from Orlando Copwatch.

Refusing to accept a plea bargain, Kurtz went to trial. He was subsequently found not guilty on the felony charge, due primarily to video evidence from a street corner surveillance camera that "effectively disproves all three versions of arresting officer Adam Gruler's story as to where, when and how the supposed battery took place."

However, no one in America is ever arrested on a single charge anymore, and Kurtz was found guilty of an accompanying misdemeanor charge of Resisting Arrest Without Violence.

The "resisting" consisted of John Kurtz pointing his camera at officers and speaking the words, "calm down, I am filming you" which is usually considered protected free speech under the US and Florida Constitutions, but evidently not in Orlando.

Apparently, in Orlando, as explained in the news release, "that act by itself was interfering, obstructing or opposing a police officer, and thus, the form of resisting arrest without violence."

Kurtz has no expectation of getting out of jail before serving the full 30 days. "The reason I seek appeal is primarily because of the unreasonable probation conditions of Judge Alan Apte, which for the next 12 months doesn't allow me within 100 feet of a Law Enforcement Officer, effectively ending my participation in Orlando Copwatch," Kurtz said in a statement.

His appeal could cost between $10,000 and $15,000. Kurtz will cover some of the cost but needs significant donations from the community. He is also seeking assistance from the ACLU and is petitioning pro-bono help. If he is able to raise $5,000 by July 25 he will commit to appealing his case.

The Libertarian News Examiner was unable to determine whether Adam Gruler suffered any legal consequences after "all three versions" of his "battery on a law enforcement officer" testimony proved to be false.

Original report here

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some people deserve not to see their child or children Mr. Apte and I agree with you 100 percent. BUT NOT ME!!!! Look at the other side making these allegations and their motivation to make these allegations your honor. Give me back my only child. I promise you that is the right decision and I promise you that you will be appalled at the other side for taking my son away from me for this long. This story will go public I assure you that your honor because the system doesn't work, it is flawed and it takes an innocent father away from his child. Anyone can get an injunction against anyone these days. The first judge made a huge mistake by taking my son away from me, please do not do the same here. My ex's attorney knowingly lied to the court to get what he wants and this is being exposed right now as we speak with the Florida Bar. Trust me when I tell you I am all in, I AM ALL IN. I want justice and I want the truth to come out ASAP. THe more you wait and extend this injunction the more unjust this becomes. . You can take my life for all I care your honor , just as long as my son knows the truth.