Police in Florida were caught on camera dismantling an innocent man’s home surveillance camera system.
Last August, officers with the Vero Beach Police Department allegedly received an anonymous tip that a man at a certain residence matched the description of a wanted criminal. When the officers arrived, they quickly went to work taking out the man’s closed-circuit video camera above his front door.
Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey defended those officers’ actions, saying, “We went there for a felony warrant. We were also advised there may be firearms in the house.”
The eventually-disabled surveillance cameras caught law enforcement’s arrival. In the brief video, two VBPD officers can be seen knocking on the man’s front door before one of the officers looks straight into the surveillance camera lens and reaches forward. Then, everything goes black.
The man, who has refused to be identified due to privacy concerns, said he received a call from his neighbor about police nosing around his home. In an on-air interview with local WPTV, he said, “I had returned to my house about 45 minutes later and noticed that [the cameras] were disconnected.”
Later, the man checked his surveillance tapes and found the tell-tale evidence of the dismantled security system. He said, “When I saw that I had no idea what they were up to. What their intentions were.”
As noted, the owner of the surveillance camera system turned out not to be the criminal police were after.
When further pressed by WPTV, Currey was unrepentant. He said, “In law enforcement, we don’t want to be at a disadvantage. We try to be at an advantage as best we can. If that was a safety precaution, and a tactical precaution to make them safer then I stand behind that.”
Still, the man whose property was disabled was none too pleased with the apparent invasion of privacy.
“If anybody can just make a report and then have the police show up and remove and tamper with things around your house, that’s not right,” he said.
[image via screengrab; video courtesy NBC 5 WPTV]
Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher
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