The Saint Augustine Tea Party will hold an open meeting on November 26th featuring special guest speaker, Jeff Gray; a noted free speech advocate and Internet publisher whose work has focused on the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment to ordinary citizens who demand accountability in government.
Members and guests are invited to attend, starting at 6:30 p.m., in the back dining room of the Village Inn restaurant, located at 900 North Ponce de Leon Boulevard in St Augustine.
Some of the material that Gray will present includes common-sense instructions on how to engage law enforcement relevant to your rights. “I had some encounters with some not so friendly law enforcement officers,” Gray reveals, as he recounts his early days exposing “speed traps” that he had discovered as a tractor-trailer driver across the southeast. “From these encounters, I have learned how important it is to know your rights; know how to assert your rights, and to document the encounters with multiple recording devices.”
Over the years, the Marietta, Georgia native’s, activism has expanded beyond exposing speed traps, to holding government officials accountable on many different levels. The 43-year-old photographer moved to Florida in 1989. He and his wife, Teresa, were married in 1998 and now make their home in St Johns County. He is best known for a website he started where he airs video images of policemen around the state when he believes they are overstepping their authority. He is a staunch First Amendment activist and knows what he can and cannot say or do; which pits him against law enforcement officers who don’t like photojournalists tailing them and documenting their actions.
For example, in early April 2012, he was standing on the side of US-301, holding up a “speed trap” sign to warn drivers before police could ticket them. Two officers pulled over, obviously peeved and asked him for identification. Because he wasn’t committing a crime, he refused. The Lawtey police officer cuffed Gray and charged him with opposing an officer without violence, according to court records, but the state attorney soon thereafter dismissed the charge.
He also took an interest in the Saint Augustine Tea Party’s encounter with National Park Service officers over the July 4th weekend this year; when David Heimbold was issued a citation as he walked back to his parked vehicle, across the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument grounds, while carrying a hand-held sign bearing a political protest message. Following a flurry of media attention, including coverage by Historic City News, those charges were later dropped. Learn more about Gray at http://www.facebook.com/HonorYourOathJeffGray or watch some of his videos on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/honoryouroath