By Nic Corbett - DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER
Robert Brayshaw accused of publishing details about TPD officer on RateMyCop.com
A Tallahassee man has been charged with a misdemeanor after police say he posted personal information about a Tallahassee Police Department officer on the Web site RateMyCop.com.
_____, 33, is facing a charge of publishing the name and address of a law-enforcement officer. According to a police report, it is a violation of state law to maliciously publish the residential address or telephone number of a law-enforcement officer without the agency's permission.
Prosecutors said _____ in early 2008 posted Officer Annette Garrett's personal cell-phone number, residential address, age, personal e-mail address; her parents' names, address and home phone number; and links to Web sites with photos of Garrett and her children. RateMyCop.com allows users to post reviews of individual officers at agencies across the country.
He was arrested and booked into the Leon County Jail in May 2008.
The incident is raising concern among free-speech advocates.
"The statute punishing the publication of that information by a private citizen is clearly at odds with the First Amendment," said Jon Kaney, general counsel for the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee. "If the restriction is narrowly tailored and is designed to serve a compelling governmental interest and actually would further that interest, it may be upheld, but the burden is on the state."
Law-enforcement officials say the statute protects them and their families from criminals seeking revenge.
- Well, any criminal can go to the many online records sites, and find this information just as easily. Isn't it hypocritical, how if it's a RSO, it's fine, but when it's a celebrity, police or some other person in government, then it's a crime. If it's ok for sex offenders, then anybody should be able to post your personal information online as well.
"We all accept the inherent dangers and risks when we're performing our duties and being in the public eye," said Officer David McCranie, TPD spokesman. "But it doesn't and should not extend to our family members and put them in danger as well."
- Amen, now, apply that same logic to the sex offender registry!
It's the second time _____'s been charged with the crime for the same incident, according to court records. The charge was dropped Dec. 9 but refiled 10 days later. Assistant State Attorney Brian Chojnowski would not explain why the charge was dropped. _____'s assistant public defender declined to comment.
In court documents, _____ wrote that Garrett in May 2007 investigated allegations that he was trespassing at the Dakota Apartments, where he worked as a property manager. No charges were filed.
In October 2008, _____ sued the city of Tallahassee because of bruises to his fingers when he stopped a suspect fleeing from TPD officers in late August 2007. He was paid $1,500 in a settlement. _____ said he filed the lawsuit to express his displeasure with TPD, which promised him an award he never received.