Charges Dropped Against Restaurateur

Rodney Mayo was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and robbery after being arrested outside of one of his own restaurants. Now, nearly six months later, the charges against Mayo have been dropped and the district attorney’s office will not proceed with a case against him.

The district attorney filed a one-sentence explanation that read something like this: “The evidence is not sufficient to support charges against the defendant.”

What Happened?

Mayo was arrested after two videographers reported that Mayo had destroyed some of their equipment in downtown West Palm Beach last November another man who was with Mayo at the time was also charged with the crimes. The charges against both men were dropped.

The videographers told police and reporters that they were shooting a video for a YouTube channel when the incident took place. As it turned out, the two videographers were “First Amendment Auditors”. While the First Amendment Auditors claim that they are just protecting citizens’ rights from government overreach, others seem to believe that they try to provoke the public and law enforcement in order to get more compelling content for their channels.

These two videographers had similar encounters with West Palm Beach police and the Palm Beach County’s Sheriff’s Office.

The two men showed up at Mayo’s restaurant, Sassafras on Narcissus Avenue. Mayo and his friend confronted the men outside the restaurant. Mayo alleges that one of the videographers pushed him and that’s when the confrontation began. Video showed Mayo knock the camera to the ground and then walk off with it. The camera was later returned when the police arrived. The videographers reported that there was over $1,000 worth of damage to the camera.

While Mayo denied instigating the issue, he and his friend were both arrested and charged with criminal mischief (a property crime) and robbery for taking the video camera.

Why Were the Charges Dropped?

The charges were likely dropped because the two videographers endeared themselves to no one on the police force or in the criminal justice system. Further, it would have been unclear who started the confrontation. In a state like Florida, your right to defend yourself is enshrined in law. We are the state with the most controversial “stand your ground” law on the books. If the behavior of an individual is aggressive or can be interpreted as a threat, a defendant has a right to defend himself.

In this case, the fight was between Mayo and the camera. While Mayo won the fight, destroying someone’s property is not any kind of action that can be construed as self-defense. It is unlikely that the prosecution would have lost this case, though the charges were unlikely to be severe. Nonetheless, if your primary goal is to harass people and law enforcement, you can’t then go begging them for help. The situation would be different if the videographers had been injured or killed.

Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged with a serious crime, contact the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. to learn more about how we can help.


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