RULE 1: Never File a complaint THEN ask for records! REMEMBER THIS! They’ll lock your records up in an investigation exemption

Agencies will do what is in their power to either swiftly provide you the record, or make it harder for you to get. There are ways to combat their denials without having to sue. Sometimes there is a requirement to sue. Florida only allows attorney fees to be recovered as part of the settlement if the city is found “at fault” or in violation of not providing the record. The reciprocal is true for them also; except they will bill you an outrageous amount of money to defend and protect the record they are denying.

After all, the records are incoming forms, data, emails, reports, and other things that the public should be able to see. The stuff they DON’T want you to see is what is damaging to them and they will protect those records if they can. You would imagine that anything should be able to be inspected, but it is NOT! There is a 375 page manual that gives the clerks what they can and can’t do. Use it to your advantage and arm yourself with knowledge.



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2021 Sunshine Manual for Public Records Requests

What can be requested

Anything and everything can be requested and you may be provided something that otherwise wouldn’t be released if an uneducated record holder has it in their possession. So even though it’s exempt, don’t hesitate to ask for it.  Here are several types of records I receive and ask for. Below is a short list of items that can be requested. There are many more that are capable of being requested but this should give you an idea. You literally can ask for anything but it is up to the clerk to check to see if they can legally withhold it for any exemption. Remember there’s no statutory penalty for releasing an exempted record. I will go over exempted records later. The following are releasable record examples:

Beat The System!

Government may try to prohibit your request, delay it, and then not even fulfill it. The following is the best practice when doing a request. Keep it short, sweet, get one item fulfilled and then request another. This will allow for free fulfillment and faster reply. There are several other things you can do to get them to comply faster and provide more information. Remember, at the other end of the computer, phone or desk is a person who will like you or hate you. The first line of the 119.01 FSS states “It is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records are open for personal inspection and copying by any person. Providing access to public records is a duty of each agency.” This is similar to the Bill of Rights. In fact, the public records are listed in the Constitution of Florida Section 24.

Eric McDonough who runs True Homestead and Facebook page has been a huge inspiration at learning about public records. Doc Justice as he is known has several lawsuits and some pending, one in which he just won out of the south Florida area. He has lost some cases but as crafty as he is those cases he lost in helps his future cases by rulings of judges. I’d hate to play chess with this guy. We’ll do an interview with him in the future. You must see his work! Go give him a follow.

Basics of your request

·         Submit in writing (keep description concise)

·         Request receipt confirmation (accountability)

·         Phone call follow-up and get name of call taker (if no reply)

·         Request one item at a time (this triggers a fast response)

·         Once first request fulfilled submit another (second items will come slower)

·         Request for previously released items (body cameras, reports, etc.) These have already been redacted for someone else

·         Build a rapport with the record holder

·         Ask to be put on the media list for release

Tips to get it fast and free!

One way to prevent you from a record is to charge you a lot of money for it. These costs can be justified if you ask for a ton of records. Most departments in Florida provide a set amount of time they are willing to provide records for free.

That’s why I mention using a short and sweet method. This will allow for free fulfillment and faster reply.

Slamming 20 requests into one email will have them tally up the total time to get ALL of your records While I do not believe this is legal, since each record may only take 5-10 minutes to get, they combine the total request into time and bill you for that. The bill should be for the lowest paid person who can handle those requests. Most of the time it is $15-30/hr. Doing one single request will get it done quicker and they usually fulfill it pretty fast. But don’t trust them!

If you get a bill, you can combat the fee in several ways. Question the cost, submit a second request for the hourly rate of the person they are citing is preparing it, request the cost of materials such as DVD, Thumb Drive etc. Public records is not a profit generating service. Florida statutes 119.07 (4)3 Cover fees, specifically states for copies “For all other copies, the actual cost of duplication of the public record.” Speaking of DVD’s specifically a copy of an existing record copied to DVD shall only be the cost of the disc itself. You will find several agencies in violation already charging no charge for the review of a 5 minute body camera but charging $10.00 for the DVD. This is a violation of the statute. The 100 Pack of Verbatim DVD is $24.99 or $0.25 each.

Law Suits for 119 statute violations is not difficult, but difficult.

Lawsuits are a possibility when it comes to being denied a record. Many attorneys may not take your case since the damages are insignificant to those of injury lawsuits. A smart attorney will take this on contingency if he or she is knowledgeable and then get their monies repaid on the backside plus a multiplier allowed by law.The attorney can not share the attorney fees with you but they can share a settlement with you. If you do find an attorney that will sue, try your hardest for a settlement so that your time and effort will be compensated by the settlement otherwise the attorney will retain the costs of his work with the courts awarding of the fees.

A writ of mandamus must be filled to get attorney costs.

A person who has been denied the right to inspect or copy public records may bring a civil action against the agency. In almost all cases, a person should bring this civil action by filing a petition for a writ of mandamus in circuit court. This is an extraordinary writ that commands a government official or entity to perform an act. In cases involving the requested production of public records, the writ of mandamus would command the custodian of the requested records within the state agency to turn over the requested records. If a writ is issued, the court may also award reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees to the petitioner.

In order to get attorney fees awarded you must prove:
The agency unlawfully refused a record to be inspected copied or provided and the person initiating the lawsuit provided written notice to the custodian of public records 5 days before filing the suit.

This goes back to the fundamentals – use e-mail, a written letter or their form to submit your record. While the forms and written requests are not required, it is if you’re going to sue. In order to sue you must give the records custodian that written notice. Do it, don’t argue that you don’t have to put records requests in writing. It fortifies your case and shows a paper trail.

Mediation is part of the process that is an informal program with the office of the attorney general. It’s an alternative to the courts involvement. If you are set on getting the record then mediation is your next option. Please note the mediator can provide a recommendation but the agency can ignore that recommendation all together. You can reach that division at Open Government Mediation or call  (850) 245-0140.

I am currently in the process of initiating a lawsuit with the City of Sanford. I wanted to see body camera footage of an incident that was involving The Armed Fisherman and his open carry activism. There were 5-6 officers on scene and I wanted to see the shortest one which was around 7-8 minutes long. Not expecting to be denied the video without first paying a $150.00 fee to begin the work. This fee is claimed to be a deposit to begin the redaction. I am extremely familiar with their redaction software as you all know with my law enforcement background. The clerk handling the request,  Alisha, stood by their policy. In fact, provided me a policy and procedure to take these $150.00 fees for body camera requests. I felt they were unreasonable, calling her and explaining with the human element behind it and they still have not provided the body camera footage. I have an attorney representing me in this. I just want to view these videos. They are in public, and with real time redacting as you view there should not be any cost according to the cities 15 minute free policy.

I will update this post as I determine more information is beneficial. Here’s the form she had provided to me. This form establishes pattern of practice of what I believe is a violation of Florida Statute §119. This is a special fee for the record and is excessive to me preventing me from obtaining an otherwise record that almost ALL law enforcement have provided at no charge or the actual cost of duplicating it. I have asked for an estimate but as of 8/20/2021 have not recevied the estimate.

You can see more about the City of Sanfords records here: Remember this is not legal advice. If you’d like to help support the cause visit the support page

City Privatizes Park in Effort to Eliminate Citizen’s Normal Civil Rights

If this sort of thing is unchallenged, it’ll continue and grow. Cities will lease public parks and even sidewalks to private companies, and then pay the private companies to maintain them. Thus, they’ll be able to control who can be on that property and what protests or speech will be allowed.
This is definitely their way of trying to get around our First Amendment rights. The city owns the land, but it’s managed by a private company!!! This must be challenged in court.

Just saw a press conference where the officials said they would crack down on visitors for anything they deem unwanted, not illegal, because they can.

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If anyone would be willing to upvote this in hopes of increasing the likelihood of Jeff responding, I would be incredibly grateful.


Can’t wait to hear the rest of this story. I’m trying hard to imagine the relationship of the citizens to a future Urban State where all property is leased to businesses.


Interesting trickery to keep out what they consider to be undesirables. Can’t wait for the follow up. Its a sad day when God blessing someone gets you trespassed and possibly arrested. Appreciate all you do.
A small point which may be irrelevant. You’ve requested copies of contracts, but only contracts. (This might be the irrelevant bit – ) I used to work with IBM, and whilst there was a lot of detail in the contracts (aka schedules), the most important docs were Documents of Understanding (DOUs) which were arguably not contracts, but agreements on how the contract would be operated on a day to day basis – i.e. incredible detail. If this system (or similar) is used, you will get a great deal more insight from these DOUs (and other ancillary documents) than you will from the contract, which is normally set out more lofty wording. Hope this helps. More power to you, sir!
I have a feeling that a law firm probably provided a legal opinion stating that they would be legally allowed to trespass for this stuff – so the law firm will need to fight Jeff in order to avoid getting sued by the city and the private company.
They force you to pay for the park while paying for the cops to force you out of the park..
A perfect example of “Privately Managed – Public Property” was Washington, DC’s Union Station. A historical and national landmark. Everyday tourists and commuters would arrive to Washington’s Union Station by train and walk through the station. Since it’s architechture is ornate and historic, visitors would always snap photos of the inside of the building especially it’s ornate domed ceiling. A private company that manages the retail/restaurant vendors inside union station decided shortly after 9-11 that they would prohibit any photographs inside Union Station. They employed a private security force and instructed them to stop anybody they saw taking photos, and if you refused they would escort you out or have DC’s Metro Police or the Amtrak Police forcibly escort you out or arrest you. Word of this unconstitutional restriction reached Eleanor Holmes Norton, a DC delegate to the House of Representatives. She personally sought out the private property managers and convinced them to rescind this ridiculous policy. She explained that just because you’re leasing publically accessible public property, you cannot ban individual constitutional rights. The day after the unconstitutional policy was lifted, a local news crew showed up to interview the property manager in the public corridors of the station about the lifting of the photo ban. As soon as the interview began, two security guards walked up and interrupted the interview and told the local news crew that there’s no photography allowed in Union Station. They had no idea that the rules had been changed and they didn’t even know that the local news crew was interviewing their boss. You simply cannot make this shit up. The video about this was somewhere here on YouTube.
Big insurance company across the street from a public park. They don’t like seeing “undesirables” using it, so they engage with the city in some kind of corrupt semi-privatization scheme so it’s still essentially a public park, but they get top-down power over it like it’s private property. Rest assured that if this model isn’t successfully challenged, you’ll see more and more of it in the future.
Your definitely doing this the smart way, I probably would have taken the arrest on this one. What your doing is of great Service to the community. Thank you from all that value freedom.
This has become a small loophole that a number of cities have used to “control” the homeless.. I ask though, with this particular assessment the city officials say their estimated yearly maintenance of the park is 1.5 million, in which they have always paid from their budget.. Now leasing that land to a corporate institution for $800k a year, cutting “WE THE PEOPLE”s expenses (for this property) by over half.. If homelessness is such an issue in their eyes, will that NOW FREE $800k a year from the city budget, now go to assistance to the homeless.. I venture to say not a single dime has increased in housing, food, or programs for those in need..
“No longer have to put up with homeless populations” Wow what a disgusting way to treat other human beings
“You’re not trespassed, but if you come back you will be arrested.” “Sarge told me to make you leave, but not to trespass to avoid a lawsuit.”
Guy says “You’re making people uncomfortable.” While also saying that he respects it and he’s happy he’s doing it. So who is saying they’re uncomfortable? What exactly is supposedly making people uncomfortable? If he were to go back and just stand without the sign? To walk with it in his hands but say nothing? To walk with it in his hand but down at his side? What if having to watch out for a golf cart makes me uncomfortable?

Good job identifying this problem, Jeff. Please challenge it.

To anyone who thinks this is okay, it may seem like a small matter for some private company to “manage” a public park, but it is still a public park. It is still owned by the city and is still being funded with public money even as members of the public are capriciously denied access to it. If a company wants to put money into making it better, great! We should welcome investment into our communities, just like we would from a volunteer group doing clean-up work or whatever. But at no point should the company or the volunteers become empowered to decide who can and can’t use the park.

If a company wants to own a park, it can make its own park on truly private property. There’s no rule against it. What’s happening here is some kind of unholy alliance between corporations and local authorities who want to be able to do things they’re prohibited from doing under the law. Normally the cops can’t kick Jeff (or any homeless person, or any person period who’s acting lawfully) out of the park, but now all of a sudden they have this new authority thanks to some questionable public-private deal.


This is wildly unacceptable. Do we have to worry soon about corporations “managing” public sidewalks and other city services so that they can exclude people at their pleasure?


“We appreciate with what you are doing but we are still going to stomp on your rights.” What kind of person prostitutes themselves in this manner? How does a city lease public property out to a private entity specifically to restrict public access to public property? I’d love to see how this works through the courts.


How offensive that the city thinks it can ignore the constitution by entering into a public private partnership or that a corporation like Brown and Brown who could use their significant resources to compassionately assist people experiencing homelessness instead choose to bribe the city to allow them to instead banish them. This isn’t just unconstitutional, it’s morally wrong. The city can’t outsource its unconstitutional actions. Their intent was clear in the statements made in advance. They should be ashamed of themselves and be held legally accountable for their egregious violations of the constitution.


Privately managed doesn’t make it private property. It’s still public land ☺️ “I understand that’s not your intent…” Intent madders a lot!
“You’re not even being trespassed.” Immediately followed up by: “If you go back on there, you’re going to jail.”
“It’s technically like city property and private property”. That’s some extremely efficient Bee Ess, right there. The security thing should consider a career in energy/physics.

A cop tried to keep him from recording a traffic stop, but now he’s fighting back to change the law

The battle over the right to record police is far from over. That’s because a case pending over a routine traffic stop in Lakewood, Colorado, where police interfered with a citizen journalist recording, could have a huge impact on a controversial legal precedent which shields cops from legal liability.

End Qulified Immunity Protections, & Civil Asset Forfeiture. Hold Cops Accountable.

Cops who break the law must be held accountable for their illegal actions !!!

This is also why you need to tell the cop that he is about to violate your rights and will lose his qualified immunity. Otherwise he can claim he didn’t know that law or right and use the qualified immunity as a defense.

Get it right in your heads people. “To protect and serve” means themselves.

Qualified immunity isn’t a matter that will be addressed by police reform. It’s part of the holding accountable of elected officials.

If cops didn’t break the law. These people who record them would not need to record the cops

In “this day and age…” Why do cops NOT know the law?

That cop who try to obstruct them from recording definitely has more issues under the radar and he’s a ticking bomb.

this is America cops should lose their pensions three strikes and they’re out!!😎

That would be three justice systems.
One for police, one for the wealthy, one for the rest of us.

And PlEASE leave a comment for copwatcher Abade aka Liberty Freak, his law suit may become case law that protects your right to record the police! So make sure to give him some kindness and support as he will be turning himself into law enforcement and will be incarcerated for a few months. So this is your chance to share your thoughts with him before he goes inside. Thank you! -taya

What an incredible episode!!!​​ I especially love it when you break things down and illustrate clearly​ how our system has “run amuck” and been abused to undermine & sabotage itself.

“Qualified Impunity” is such a clever, creative and accurate play on words. I would love to see that term widely adopted because I would hope that this shift might become a catalyst for reform by bringing a better understanding of just how broken our system is; and how close we may be to losing our democracy itself! It is being attacked and undermined in so many ways right now from so many sides…

If ignorance of the law is no excuse for civilians ignorance of our rights should be no excuse for the law!

Since this video was from Colorado it would make sense to mention that, at the time of this report, a new police accountability law was about to go into effect. Since then several cops, notably Loveland PD, have been held accountable with this law. As for my opinion I would like to say, no one has done more to end qualified immunity than corrupt cops all over the US.

If cleaning up neighborhoods changes the culture by changing the way people feel, then cities have an interest in leaving them neglected to justify dumping more money into police presence. It’s business as usual.

There are three types of versions of laws, the one for the poor aka the “criminal class” and then the one for government officials/LEOs, and finally the one for the elites/the rich who line the pockets of said govt officials & LEOs

I think we now know why the police are no longer required to learn the law before claiming to “enforce the law”.
Not knowing the law lets the police officers claim “I didn’t know the law” and the courts say it was an “honest mistake” and let them off with a warning to do better.

Oh and…….”qualified immunity” sounds like a “Jim Crow” law. It’s sickening that such a perversion of our Constitutional Rights is allowed!

Something to keep in mind. Until privatized, for profit, publicly traded prisons are done away with none of this tyranny will end.

I’ve always said that one of the main goals of 1st Amendment auditor’s is to remove the sovereign from the state 👍💯👍

Driver: I’m just defending myself here. You really have nothing to fear from me. I’m not out to get you. So can you kindly just cite or warn me and we can go on our way?

Wait, qualified immunity gets it’s power by proving that the law enforcement officer was ignorant of the law? Make it make sense somebody please.