Photography is Not a Crime aka PINAC was launched in 2007 after Miami multimedia journalist Carlos Miller was arrested for taking photos of five Miami police officers while working on an article for a local news site.Here's Gray's story:
Charged with nine misdemeanors, Miller created the blog to document his trial, thinking he would run it for a few months at the most.
But as his trial was prolonged for longer than a year in a series of rejected plea deals, judicial resignations and prosecutorial scandals, the blog grew in popularity with readers from around the country sending him stories of photographers getting arrested, which he documented on the blog, revealing an epidemic crackdown against citizens with cameras.
By the time he went to trial a year later, he was acquitted of all charges except resisting arrest, a conviction he had overturned on appeal by representing himself.
The Department of Homeland Security apparently felt Gray was enough of a "threat" that it opened an investigation on him. After scrutinizing publicly-available information (like Gray's own YouTube account), it came to the conclusion that his activities were completely protected… it just didn't like the way he acted[...]Gray wanted to see where his First Amendment rights stood.
Despite the DHS declaring Gray's actions perfectly fine, local law enforcement officers still took it upon themselves to send social services to his home (after being "tipped" that Gray owned guns) and interviewing his kids at school without his knowledge.
After several years of auditing police departments across Florida to determine whether their officers uphold the First Amendment and the law of the land, Photography Is Not A Crime’s Jeff Gray has had his driver’s license and vehicle tag information searched by police well over 200 times.An example of how this works:
Gray’s request for the record of who accessed his information on the state-operated Driver and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID) turned up police officer after police officer running Gray’s vehicle plate and driver’s license.
On October 22, 2013, Gray, along with PINAC Publisher Carlos Miller and public records guru Joel Chandler, were detained by Coral Gables police after making a public records request as you can see in the above photo. The following day, Gray was arrested by Brevard County deputies for recording a traffic stop.But don't worry. Gray doesn't have anything to hide. So we don't need to get worried about this abuse of power.