Police have again determined that it is illegal to record them making arrests even when you are not up close or in any way interfering. From such an event in Boston, things have spiraled way out of control, as described to me by STL photographer Ed Crim, who read of this travesty and has issued this invitation to protest:
“Carlos Miller, of Miami, Florida, has been charged with witness intimidation by the Boston Massachusetts Police Department because he urged readers of his web site, Photography Is Not A Crime (PINAC) to call the Public Relations Officer of the Boston PD and protest the arrest of a videographer whose only offense was recording a public arrest. If you believe, as I do, that a Public Relations Officer should be willing to talk to the public about police policy, take a look at the petition and help protect our rights as photographers.”
There is a lot of ignorance of the U.S. Constitution out on the streets. Consider this video made by a driver who committed the crime of asserting his Constitutional rights at a DUI checkpoint.
Serious journalism has always been a dangerous business. It continues to be dangerous now, even for folks who want to make a record of how law enforce officers are cracking down on people reporting on protestors expressing their First Amendment rights.
Tim Karr of Free Press reports:
While it’s important to take a day to recognize our right to speak and share information, threats to our First Amendment freedoms happen all the time, everywhere. It’s a threat that will become very real on the streets of Chicago this weekend as a new breed of journalists and onlookers attempt to cover the protests surrounding the NATO summit.
Just ask Carlos Miller. The photojournalist has been arrested three times. His “crime?” Attempting to photograph police actions in the U.S. Most recently, in January, Miller was filming the eviction of Occupy Wall Street activists from a park in downtown Miami.
In a twist that’s become too familiar to many, the journalist became the story as police focused their crackdown on the scrum of reporters there to cover the eviction. Miller came face to face with Officer Nancy Perez, who confiscated his camera and placed him under arrest.
Long Island police make mother of three pay for taking photos of decorative helicopter in front of airport.
This case involving Nancy Genovese is but one of many cases where law enforcement officers have been exposed for harassing and hurting people who are guilty of absolutely nothing.
It’s a long trend here in the United States. The government can spy all it wants, while the people are increasingly prohibited from expressing themselves or even from being curious. A lot of people are squeamish about Wikileaks, but it Wikileaks is an organization that does nothing different than the New York Times claims to be doing, yet the United States has illegally forced it into submission.
And although Nancy Genovese did not claim to be doing serious investigative journalism, the American Vision News reports that she was was acting as a citizen journalist:
Nancy Genovese stopped her car on the side of the road across the street from the airport in an area that is open and accessible to the public, and crossed over the road to the airport entryway that is also open and accessible to the public to take a picture of the helicopter display. While still in her car, she took a picture of the decorative helicopter shell with the intention of posting it on her personal “Support Our Troops” web page.
Illinois Republicans voted down a bill that would have allowed people to record public police activities in Illinois. What are they afraid of?
Even without the legislation, however, the law’s days might be numbered. Two judges, one in Cook County and the other in Crawford County, have declared it unconstitutional in recent months.