UPDATED: September 17, 2015.
It’s been six years since I called out Rick Sanchez on PINAC for dropping the ball on a segment he did back when he worked for CNN and reported on a photographer getting harassed by Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies for taking photos in the subway.
The photographer was Shawn Nee, who is now a PINAC correspondent, writing this piece which we published earlier this week.
Sanchez had vigorously defended the deputies, calling them “heroes,” and calling Nee a “self-styled civil rights activist” out to “provoke” the deputies.
But Nee ended up receiving a hefty settlement from that and other incidents where the Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies violated his First Amendment rights to take photos.
Tomorrow, I will be sitting on a panel with Sanchez titled ironically enough, Advocacy Journalism in the Digital, so I will bring this story up because I don’t think he ever read it.
Video of Sanchez’s report does not appear to be online anymore, but here is a transcript of the show.
Earlier this year in April, Sanchez interviewed me after the Walter Scott shooting, in which a South Carolina deputy was arrested after he was caught on video shooting a fleeing man in the back.
However, Sanchez came across much less apologetic towards police.
Truth is, the Walter Scott video changed a lot of people’s perspectives towards police.
Below is the article I wrote back in the 2009, followed by videos of the Nee incident, and a video of Sanchez’s interview with me about the Scott shooting.
If you’re in the Miami area, come check out the panel tomorrow, Friday, at 2:30 p.m. Details here.
Original comments have been wiped out for having switched platforms multiple times over the years.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez normally makes sense but he blew it on Wednesday when he discussed the recent confrontation between a cop and a photographer inside the Los Angeles subway system.
But at least Sanchez, a fellow Miami native, admitted his bias. His brother is a cop.
CNN has not yet posted the video of Sanchez discussing the incident, but here is the transcript.
After showing the video of the confrontation between photographer Shawn Nee and Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy Richard Gylfie, Sanchez states the following:
This — this is hard to watch. This guys, a guy who calls himself a photographers rights activist goes on to have a conversation, tells the officer that he’s out shooting the L.A. subway because he wants to, like he’s never heard of the London rail attacks, the Madrid train bombings, or the recent alleged plot against the subway system in New York City?
Actually, it is Sanchez who hasn’t done his research because there is no evidence in any of those incidents that terrorists took pictures of their targets before the attacks.
As Bruce Schneir wrote in The Guardian last year, this type of ideology is nothing but movie-plot nonsense.
The 9/11 terrorists didn’t photograph anything. Nor did the London transport bombers, the Madrid bombers, or the liquid bombers arrested in 2006. Timothy McVeigh didn’t photograph the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The Unabomber didn’t photograph anything; neither did shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Photographs aren’t being found amongst the papers of Palestinian suicide bombers. The IRA wasn’t known for its photography. Even those manufactured terrorist plots that the US government likes to talk about — the Ft. Dix terrorists, the JFK airport bombers, the Miami 7, the Lackawanna 6 — no photography.
In fact, the incident in question took place in Hollywood, one of the most popular tourist spots in the world. Is it really that unusual to see a man taking photos in that area?
Does it really call for a police investigation?
Maybe in Cuba, the country Sanchez’s family fled in the early 1960s after Fidel Castro seized power, but not in the United States where numerous court rulings have determined that photography is protected by the First Amendment.
Sanchez accuses Nee of provoking Gylfie because he happened to film the incident with a video camera he wears around his neck.
But it was Gylfie who confronted Nee first. Nee wasn’t even taking pictures of the cop, which wouldn’t be illegal anyway.
Sanchez goes on to call Gylfie a “hero”, neglecting to mention that Gylfie started off by lying to Nee about photography being illegal in the subway, then tried to intimidate Nee by threatening to place his name on the FBI terrorist watch list.
All because Nee asserted his Constitutional right to take pictures?
What’s next, being placed on the terrorist watch list because you refuse to sign a speeding ticket?
That’s how out of touch this photographer/blogger seems to be on this video. He posts the officer’s name as if the officer is guilty of, well, doing his job. You know what? The L.A. County’s sheriff’s deputy, Richard Gylfie, it seems to me he is a hero. He is doing what we’re paying him to do.
It is obvious that Sanchez is the one who is out of touch. We are not paying the cops to lie and to intimidate and to make empty threats against us. We are paying them to protect us. There is a difference.
How would Sanchez like it if he were standing inside the subway station scribbling notes in his notepad – as reporters do sometimes – and a cop walked up to him, demanding to know what he was scribbling? For all we know, Sanchez could be sketching the turnstiles to give to Al Qaeda.
The truth is, Gylfie acted like cops do under certain dictatorships, including the one Sanchez’s family fled when he was a child, which allowed him to become a professional in an industry that relies on the First Amendment.
And that is what makes this segment even more appalling.
Here is Sanchez’s Facebook page in case you want to drop him a note. You need to become his “fan” first.