Getting arrested for breaking no law? – all on film

policeby Bruce R

Two Reporters Arrested For Daring To Photograph/Videotape Public DC Taxi Commission Meeting
[Via Techdirt]

It really is quite amazing how so many authority types these days can’t seem to comprehend the idea that people can and will take phones and record public events. Sinan Unur alerts us to the news of how two reporters were arrested in Washington DC while attending a public meeting of the DC Taxi Commission, which was meeting over a planned medallion system for taxis (used in many other cities, but somewhat controversial due to the ability to artificially restrict the market). Apparently, a reporter by the name of Pete Tucker was arrested for taking a photograph, and then Reason’s Jim Epstein filmed the arrest and subsequent outrage by pretty much everyone in attendance. He then tried to leave, and the police tried to get his camera and then arrested him as well. You don’t see him arrested in the video, but the woman at the end who declares that he has no right to film her (false, since this is a public place) apparently is told by a police officer that Epstein’s phone would be turned over to her, which raises questions as to why police would be handing a phone over to someone else.

[More]

And the nice way to get around the First Amendment – a cop stating they will arrest you for not following a direct order to leave, even if nothing illegal was done. Then you are not arrested for taking pictures but for refusing to obey an officer.

Of course, it will all be cleared up in court after a lot of money but the cop will never be censored and the government’s ability to crush your First Amendment rights can continue unabated.

We will continue to go through these things until everyone realizes that cameras at an open public meeting will always be there and that there is no reason to keep them out.  THey are not disruptive in any real sense of the word. The law will eventually get settled. But I do love what the immediate response of authority is.

That never changes, no matter which party is in power.

One thought on “Getting arrested for breaking no law? – all on film

  1. I came to the same conclusion independently, that laws against such recordings (and even consent laws for telephone recordings) go against the First Amendment. But consent laws do exist and have stood for telephone recordings and I can see either a conservative or a liberal court doing the same thing for public video recordings by phone. That is indeed sad. Then again, what about copyright issues? I am against copyright also: see http://ram.org/ramblings/philosophy/fmp/

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