Vero Beach, FL — Stalking is defined as a criminal activity consisting of the repeated following and harassing of another person. Stalking is a distinctive form of criminal activity composed of a series of actions that taken individually might constitute legal behavior, like writing notes or sending flowers. However, when they are compounded to instill fear or intimidation, these actions become illegal. Because of anti-stalking laws, people who are victims of stalking are told to call the police. But what happens when the stalkers are the police?
An Indian River County man is finding out how tough it can be to get justice as a victim of stalking — because his stalkers are cops. This innocent man, who we will refer to as Smokey had committed no crime, had harmed no one, yet he still became the victim of police stalking.
In August of last year, multiple officers showed up at Smokey’s home while he was at work. Having been burglarized the week prior, Smokey had just installed video cameras on his home which captured the most unscrupulous actions of Vero Beach Police Officers.
When police showed up, Smokey was at work. He then got a call from his neighbors to alert him to the fact that police were at his house, so he hurried home. When Smokey arrived home 45 minutes later, he noticed that his video camera on his front porch had been disabled.
When he went back to the video to see what had happened, Smokey realized that it was the cops who took out his camera. Police left no note to say they had been there, no notice that they had tampered with his property, and made no mention of it to their superiors.
What’s more, once the police department was made aware of the video on Facebook, they condoned the actions of the stalking cops and claimed they destroyed private property at an innocent person’s home—for officer safety.
“We went there for a felony warrant. We were also advised there may be firearms in the house,” Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey said.
The only problem with police showing up at Smokey’s home, however, is that no one in the home had committed a crime, no one had outstanding warrants, and the only people at his home to violate the law were the cops who showed up and messed with his private property.
As the video shows, the officers are seen knocking at the door before one of them notices he’s on camera. He then reaches up toward the camera and the video goes black.
“When I saw that I had no idea what they were up to. What their intentions were,” Smokey said.
Regardless of evidence of stalking caught on video, Currey is standing by his cops.
“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,” Currey said.
Conveniently for the officers, however, not a single one of them made mention in their reports that they had disabled the camera and the chief only found out this week.
In spite of this omission from the report, Currey still stands by his officers noting that they could’ve been worried about possible weapons in the home—because some anonymous person allegedly reported this house.
Smokey brings up a good point when he says, “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.”
Not right, indeed. Just ask the family of Andrew Finch, 28, who was shot and killed for the crime of opening his front door when a slew of SWAT team members arrived at his home and claimed that he “reached towards his waistband.” They’d been dispatched to his home on false information.
It is also important to point out that the chief’s claim about officer safety during the initial visit holds no water as Smokey recorded more police officers stalking his home in the middle of the night as he slept.
After news of the stalking began to pick up steam on Facebook, the Vero Beach Police Department began getting flooded with negative feedback. However, this department is apparently experienced in covering their tracks and made sure to turn back the clock on their negative reviews—but not before the internet recorded it forever.