Andrew Sheets, candidate for Charlotte County Sheriff, could face arrest if he visits the Punta Gorda Police Department within the next year.
He was trespassed from the government building on Wednesday, after six incidents dating back to July that were documented in a trespass warning obtained by the Sun.
“This is nuts,” Sheets said. “What they did is completely outrageous, illegal …”
In July, Sheets caused a disturbance inside the Public Safety Building by screaming obscenities at officers, the report states. Several employees, civilian and sworn, reported hearing the commotion because Sheets was screaming so loudly.
A Punta Gorda city ordinance bans all audio and video recording unless the recording is of a publicly noticed public meeting, if the recording is of law enforcement activities, or if the actual consent of everyone present has been obtained. Charlotte County added a similar restriction last year.
After each incident that Sheets recorded in the police department building, he posted the video on his YouTube channel, thus proving that he was recording inside a government facility.
Multiple times, Sheets recorded video of civilians inside the police building, and when asked if he was recording, stated that he was not, the report says. Once, when a lieutenant asked if he was recording, Sheets said, “Of course not. That would be racist.”
He received a trespass warning from the Punta Gorda Police Department on Wednesday and cannot return to the building at 1410 Tamiami Trail for one year, or else he could face arrest.
“It’s insane. It’s like we don’t live in America anymore,” Sheets said. “I don’t know what is going on with Punta Gorda, but it does not feel like freedom to me at all.”
Sheets is running for Charlotte County Sheriff as a write-in candidate. His platform focuses on ending the “war on drugs,” firing and arresting “bad cops,” and ending “policing for profit.” He also owns a cleaning company and runs the Charlotte County Copwatch YouTube and Facebook accounts.
This is the sixth time in two years that Sheets has been trespassed from a public place in Punta Gorda, police records show. He has been trespassed from the Old Court House and the Downtown Farmer’s Market. He also has been trespassed multiple times from City Hall and the City Hall Annex.
Sheets told the Sun that he plans to sue over the most recent incident.
He filed a lawsuit against the city of Punta Gorda last year regarding its ordinance banning recording in government buildings, but it was ultimately dropped.
“All I do is go in there to make a records request. I film myself,” he said. “It’s a public police lobby and yet they supposedly made an ordinance that I can’t record the police in a police lobby.”