The Media

I’m definitely gonna want some kind of suspension and definitely a letter of apology.

Jeremy Charles Dewitte

This was a quote from Jeremy Dewitte during a broadcast interview with Orlando’s WESH Channel 2 News station on September 9, 2019.

The interview aired two days after Jeremy Dewitte’s September 7, 2019 arrest in Windermere, Florida. WESH reporter Greg Fox was given a tour of Metro-State Special Services and their new headquarters after the company was evicted from its old location.

Jeremy Dewitte showed Greg Fox footage of Metro-State Special Services joining a funeral procession for Lieutenant Debra Clayton and Deputy Norman Lewis. Lieutenant Clayton was a member of Orlando Police Department and Deputy Lewis was a member of Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the same Sheriff’s Office Jeremy Dewitte claimed had been harassing him since 2014.

In the interview Jeremy Dewitte went on to say he never should have been placed in handcuffs or stripped of his gear in public.

This was the first interview Jeremy Dewitte agreed to and it appeared he was eager to get in front of the story before the ink was dry on the police report.

During this case the media would play a large part in how Jeremy Dewitte was perceived, how reporters chose to broadcast the story and the way Jeremy Dewitte would use the media coverage to his own advantage.

In 1860 Joseph Pulitzer created a journalistic style of writing which focused on sensationalism or “fake news.” Pulitzer enjoyed writing about crime, sex and violence for attention-seeking headlines. The Pulitzer Prize is currently a prestigious award but during Joseph Pulitzer’s life his work was seen as nothing more than a tabloid.

With the rise in social media, opinionated journalism similar to Joseph Pulitzer’s style was accepted and the ability to remain impartial wavered.

Some publications like The Houston Chronicle went in the opposite direction and one of their biggest decisions was to stop posting mugshots of people who were charged but not convicted of a crime.

While this appeared to be admirable it also meant a story wasn’t being fully reported if the subject of the story was not a child or a victim and was being protected.

Jeremy Dewitte is a convicted sex offender and this information was used in many headlines. Some thought his sex offender case was irrelevant because the 15 year old girl consented to having sex.

However Florida law states a minor can’t consent to sex with an adult and it would be fair to say a 15 year old girl didn’t understand the gravity of a situation involving sex with an adult male.

Jeremy Dewitte sought out the media on more than one occasion and appeared to use the platform as a way to present his defense without taking the actual stand.

After his September 9, 2019 interview with WESH Jeremy Dewitte did another interview with an independent news company called Orange Observer.

He stated he may file a lawsuit against Windermere Police Department and he also planned to reach out to the Department of Justice as he believed he was wrongfully arrested. As of March 18, 2020 no suits have been filed.

On October 30, 2019 Jeremy Dewitte was arrested for a second time by Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Karla Ray of WFTV Channel 9 News was the only reporter who caught a glimpse of Jeremy arriving to the local jail. It was during this clip that Jeremy Dewitte claimed, as he was pulling away from officers and forced into the building, he had been harassed by Orange County Sheriff’s Office since 2014.

On October 31, 2019 Lauren Seabrook of WFTV Channel 9 News spoke to Jeremy Dewitte as he was bonded out of jail. Jeremy claimed some of the body camera footage was of an employee he fired. Jeremy Dewitte never revealed this person’s name nor did he reveal why the former employee’s voice was so similar to his.

Jeremy also stated an off-duty deputy tried to run him over and just like his brother Dylan Vogt, Jeremy Dewitte had to hit the hood of the car and step back. According to Lauren Seabrook there was video of this entire incident and Jeremy promised to send the video to her but Lauren never received it.

As far as the crime involving a victim named Heather whose phone conversations were placed on speakerphone and recorded by Jeremy Dewitte while his flock of employees watched and laughed:

Body cameras were rolling…they roll all day.

Jeremy Charles Dewitte

On October 31, 2019 Windermere Police Chief David Ogden gave an interview.

He spoke with Fox 35’s Valerie Boey. Chief Ogden stated it was clear Metro-State employees were trying to impersonate police officers and they were never allowed to use sirens or conduct traffic stops.

Chief Ogden also urged anyone in the public who was a victim of Metro-State Special Services to immediately contact the jurisdiction where it occurred.

One of the last interviews Jeremy Dewitte agreed to participate in was on November 18, 2019 with WESH Channel 2’s Greg Fox. This was after being released from jail for his third arrest in two months.

Looking pale and bewildered Jeremy Dewitte insisted he was an innocent man because he wasn’t working on the last day of August 2019 as the body camera suggested.

The State Attorney’s Office would later amend the information filed with the words, “approximately September 1, 2019.”

Jeremy Dewitte stated in the taped interview he didn’t understand why various law enforcement agencies seemed to be targeting him. He would then utter the infamous line:

The fact that we were running our business for 10 years with no problems and then all of the sudden now it keeps happening over and over, it’s a little confusing and very discerning.

It seemed Jeremy Dewitte used the media on September 9, 2019 to help his case. But the more he spoke the deeper reporters and the public looked into his past.

By November 2019 Jeremy Dewitte was no longer a business owner wrongfully targeted and arrested by police officers. He had turned into a felonious sex offender with multiple arrests for impersonating law enforcement who owned a business which wasn’t as squeaky clean as it initially seemed.

It appeared Jeremy Dewitte’s attempts to use the media and change the narrative of his criminal charges had simply backfired.