02/11/2005: Yet Another Entrepreneur Stifled By Onerous Legislation....
in this case, the Oklahoma criminal statutes.
Via our pals at the Smoking Gun, we learn of the heartrending story of Brian Bates, the "Video Vigilante" (WARNING: probably not work-safe), who's got a little cottage industry going on in Oklahoma City. Bates, a crusader against street prostitution, wanders OKC with a video camera "busting" street hookers and their johns in the act. In addition to parlaying that schtick into recurring guest spots on the TV talk shows with very poor taste (He seems to make a lot of appearances on The Maury Show (it's sad to think that Shirley Povich's son has stooped to be something as low or lower than Jerry Springer)), and he also sells some of his video productions from his website.
Until, apparently, Bates got a bit too proactive in his war on crime. According to TSG:
An Oklahoma man who has gained national exposure for his "video vigilante" campaign to expose street prostitution in his hometown was arrested yesterday for allegedly paying hookers to ensure that they serviced customers in an area where he could easily film the illicit trysts. According to the below Oklahoma City Police Department report, Brian Bates, 34, orchestrated the public encounters so he could peddle the resulting videotape to media outlets (some of Bates's surveillance tapes are offered for sale on his web site). In his dealings with prostitutes, Bates was choosy, investigators contend. For example, if a john was a "regular," Bates asked prostitutes to give "specific signals" so he would know not to bother rolling tape. Investigators also noted that, like any good auteur, Bates "gave direction to the prostitutes on how to complete the act with a high probability of success," as well as tips on how to spot an undercover cop. Bates was hit with a felony pandering charge and a misdemeanor count of aiding in prostitution. The pandering rap, which is usually reserved for pimps, carries a minimum two-year jail term, and a maximum of 20 years in the stir. In a statement posted this morning on his web site, Bates called his bust a "shock to me and my family," adding--rather hopefully, we think--"I hope this will all be worked out in the coming days or weeks."Additional material at the website of The Oklahoman:
Brian Bates, an Oklahoma City man nationally known for shooting videotapes to drive prostitutes away from inner-city neighborhoods, is accused himself of arranging a transaction between a prostitute and customer so he could videotape the incident, authorities said Tuesday.A four month investigation? Apparently, Bates really pissed off the DA. Not surprising though, since the Video Vigilante website has a few criticisms of the Oklahoma City DA and police for failure to follow through on his alleged "busts".
He was arrested late Tuesday on complaints of pandering and aiding and abetting prostitution, police Capt. Jeffrey Becker said.
Becker said Bates' arrest ended a four-month joint investigation by the Oklahoma County district attorney's office and city police.
Debra Forshee, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma County district attorney's office, acknowledged Bates' arrest Tuesday.
Forshee said the district attorney will review the investigative reports and make a filing decision later this week.
"The investigation alleges that Bates paid a prostitute to have sex with a john at a predetermined location so that he could film the act," Forshee said.
Len on 02.11.05 @ 08:20 AM CST