Jeff Weinsier was arrested Tuesday outside an area High School. And that's about the only fact that the Herald got right.
It starts with the sensationalistic headline:
How can I know this? I've seen the video tape; the raw, unedited tape that shows the entire incident right up to Weinsier's arrest.
Go and watch the tape, then continue reading.
All right? Up to speed? Let's dissect the article:
WPLG-ABC 10 reporter Jeffrey Weinsier, a loaded .38 revolver tucked in his waistband, was arrested Tuesday at Miami Central High after he was repeatedly warned against trespassing on school property, police said.First, he wasn't warned about trespassing, because he wasn't trespassing. He was on a sidewalk. He was ordered to move across the street. No reason given. After he was taken into custody, it was revealed that he was indeed carrying a concealed weapon - and a concealed weapon permit. More on the gun later.
Weinsier, 40, was charged with trespassing on school property with a weapon, possession of a firearm on school grounds and resisting officers without violence.All this is true. Of course, he wasn't on school grounds at the time, so that charge is bogus, but that's what he was charged with. Moving on.
Other reporters had been at the school to report the story of a Central High School math teacher who was arrested for attacking Homestead Air Reserve Base in a failed ''suicide-by-cop'' attempt.
Schools police say Weinsier -- an investigative reporter -- repeatedly ignored warnings to not step on the school's grass, said Detective Ed Torrens, a spokesman.and further down:
Torrens said he believed other TV stations' cameramen only filmed Weinsier being arrested on the sidewalk, but failed to show footage of him stepping on the grass.As we see in the video, at no time was Weinsier on the grass: in fact, it would be impossible for him to get on the grass without climbing a pretty thick hedge, first. He wasn't on the grass when the cops approached him, and he wasn't on the grass when they finally arrested him.
And if, as the Police Department claims, he was standing on the grass, why didn't the police tell him that's why he was being asked to move across the street? Weinsier asked for a reason; the cops refused to give one. At no time did they cops say "we saw you on the grass, that's trespassing." Not once did they say that; all they would repeat is "We kindly ask that you move across the street!"
Weinsier was clearly on a public sidewalk, he clearly wasn't on the grass when the police asked him to leave, and he clearly wasn't on the grass when they arrested him.
No, he was on a sidewalk. And in fact, he was on a side walk full of PEOPLE. Hundreds of people, and only one person was arrested: the TV reporter.
And do you know what? Weinsier DID cross the street. It was after the cops demanded that his camera man turn off the camera. The cops are filmed grabbing the camera, and taking Weinsier's microphone away. The camerman starts moving across the street, and Weinsier points to the mic and says "You need to give that back. The cop does so, and Weinsier and his crew move across the street. We can hear Weinsier call the station while the camera rolls tape of the school letting out.
A few minutes later, Weinsier and the camera head back across the street, having been in contact with their station and the school's Public Information Officer. Again, the cops intercept him and tell him he must go across the street. Weinsier reports that his station manager just confirmed with Police Information Officer Ed Torrans that the crew could be on the sidewalk.
We just spoke to your public information officer, he says that we can be here. It's all right for us to be here..
My sargent is going to be here in a moment...you just
your officer, Ed Goren, said that we could...
I don't know any Ed Goran, Ed Goran's not the public information officer..
Yes, he is
...our p.i.o. is Ed TORRAN-
yeah, THAT guy.
The cops start pushing Weinsier, telling him that he has to go across the street. The reporter told the cops to stop touching him, that they didn't have the right to touch him and push him around.
You do realize, the camera's getting all of this.
do you know what Custodial touch is? I don't care about cameras, custodial custody, I can get you off my block if I want. ....I am telling you, ON THAT CAMERA, YOU are within 500 feet of a school, and I am giving you a lawful order to get off this sidewalk.
After FatCop blathers on for a few more minutes, Weinsier flatly states "I am not going." And the cops arrest him at that point.
Again, I must point out that at no time did the cop mention grass, or standing on it. He said a lot of other stuff; why not "Hey, you were on the grass, and that's trespassing!"
The only reason I can think of is that it was because Weinsier was never on the grass at all. Makes sense, doesn't it? None of the evidence puts him on the grass, so he wasn't on it. So much for the 'grass story.'
Now, about the gun: Weinsier had a carry permit. He got it after getting death threats in the aftermath of a story he covered earlier this year.
So what does the Herald say about it?
Weinsier holds a concealed weapons permit, but state law prohibits anyone from carrying a gun on school grounds, Torrens said.
''Miami-Dade Schools Police is a very effective force and they take any incident of anyone bringing a weapon to campus seriously,'' said Miami-Dade schools spokesman John Schuster.
Let's get back to the tape, because this is a serious charge: hmm, no, Weinsier was never on School Property at any time. Funny, the Herald doesn't point that out. You know what else we never see? The gun. We never see it, and the cops never once mention it.
No, instead of addressing the facts, they quote Schuster. And THAT quote makes it look like the School Cops caught Weinsier bringing a gun onto school grounds; neither of which is true: he wasn't on school grounds, and they didn't take him into custody because of the gun. The FACT is that they only found the gun AFTER they arrested him.
The Herald has been unforgivably sloppy with their work on this story. Frankly, I think it borders on slander.
And the cops? Wayyyy out of line.
A late update; all charges agains Weinsier were dismissed. Assistant State AttorneyMaggie Gerson reached the same conclusion as I did, upon viewing the tape.
"...due to the fact that the defendant was not on school property, it cannot be said that the defendant was trespassing. Since the defendant was not trespassing, anything that was found after he was arrested will be suppressed as a matter of law."
She also waved off a bunch of lesser charges the school cops had laid on Weinsier; since the orders he was given to go across the street were not lawful, he can't be charged with failure to obey a lawful order. The sidewalk isn't school property, and even though it's in the 500 foot safety zone, Weinsier had a legitimate reason to be inside of it. And even if the school police HAD a reason to keep him across the street (which they didn't), the fact that they weren't keeping EVERYONE across the street negates their action. Most damning: school had been dismissed by the time the cop illegally arrested Weinsier.