I’m not oblivious to the fact that the South is the butt of many jokes from both sides of the political spectrum. So stumbling upon this video of a Lowndes County Deputy doing his job and doing it right was incredibly refreshing. Many have seen the growing reports of police officers refusing citizens the right to photograph or film them on duty. We’ve even seen law enforcement abuse their power over this subject but not Lowndes County Staff Sgt. Guthrie.
Jeff Gray with Photography Is Not A Crime (PINAC) *link* came down to Valdosta, Georgia to check out the validity of reports of photographers being hassled by law enforcement in the area. Standing outside the Moody Air Force Base, Gray took pictures from the sidewalk until federal officers approached him.
Despite offering a reasonable excuse that he was photographing the railroad crossing, federal officers called the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department. When asked if he was being detained, Gray was told by the federal officer he was not and was free to leave. However when walking off, he was told he in fact was being detained for taking pictures of the gate shack. After asking for a badge number and name, the federal officer is quoted as saying a few minutes later:
?Come to think about it, I’m not going to sit here and hold you hold you. I can’t do that.?
After walking off, Gray was followed by federal police until the Lowndes County Sergeant pulled up.
If you’ve watched the video, you can see Staff Sgt. Guthrie introduced himself, shook hands and asked what was going on.
After Gray’s explanation, that’s when Guthrie took everyone, including the PINAC team, by surprise (link) by stating this:
?Well, I understand. They need to go back and read the Constitution I believe.?
Who would have thought, right?
Although there are some detractors in comments, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Dept. has been flooded with e-mails and calls commending Staff Sgt. Guthrie for upholding the law and not abusing his power in this instance.
I have written about the Sheriff’s Department’s handling of the Kendrick Johnson case yes, but this is an awesome officer upholding the Constitution who should be recognized for doing so. It’s unfortunate though that this is such a big deal. This should be an everyday occurrence and a non-issue.
Check out the video below!
h/t to On The Lake Front.