BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – UPDATE: The state attorney’s office filed no information which effectively drops the case against Michael Taylor. Below is the story from when he was originally arrested by Titusville police:
A YouTube creator known for posting pro-gun videos faces charges in Brevard County after police say he illegally recorded a phone conversation with the county parks and recreation operations manager.
Michael Taylor, 41, was booked into the Brevard County jail early Thursday morning.
According to investigators, Taylor post videos on his two YouTube pages, Soloyaker and The Armed Fisherman, where he conducts “First Amendment and Second Amendment Audits” around the state — which entails him open carrying a gun and a fishing pole and then filming the response from police.
According to Titusville Police, Taylor was recently asked to leave Parrish Park along A. Max Brewer Memorial Parkway, where he was “fishing” with a rifle. Police included the quotes around the word fishing in their report.
Officers said the man then made multiple calls to the police department and the county parks and recreation department. Police said, during one of these calls Taylor recorded the conversation he had with Jeff Davis, the operations manager for Brevard County Parks and Recreation.
The conversation was included in a video uploaded March 3 on The Armed Fisherman YouTube page titled “Someone is Lying!!! Titusville PD O Board OF Commissioners Or Is It Conspiracy,” according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant.
Police said Davis was never informed that he was being recorded and did not give permission for the call to be recorded. Florida law requires that both parties consent for a conversation to be recorded.
The First Amendment does allow for individuals to record public officials in the course of their duties while they are in public — such as recording a police officer during an arrest — and sometimes in private settings. However, News 6 legal expert Steve Kramer said that Florida’s two-party consent law doesn’t allow an individual to record a private phone call with a public official without their consent, even if that public official is on the job at the time of the recording. An exception to this would be if the phone call were made on a line that is always recorded, similar to a customer service line.
Taylor now faces a charge of unlawful interception of an oral communication.