In a typical show of lies and intimidation, federal officers arrested Antonio Musumeci for videotaping in front of a federal courthouse in Manhattan last November.
Now the 29-year-old man is suing the Department of Homeland Security for false arrest.
Considering he was able to videotape the arrest with a pinhole spy camera – after they confiscated his main camera – he has a strong chance of winning because it shows he was not breaking the law when he was arrested.
It shows how he was videotaping the arrest of activist Julian Heicklen, whom I wrote about recently in the Philadelphia incident, when a pair of Federal Protective Service officers turned on him.
First they told him that he was not allowed to videotape on federal property.
Then, when he refused to identify himself, they said that he is legally required to do so because he was on federal property.
In other words, the Constitution does not apply on federal property.
He was arrested for supposedly violating the following federal law.
Code of Federal Regulations
Subpart C — Conduct on Federal Property
Photographs for News, Advertising or Commercial Purposes
§ 102-74.420 What is the policy concerning photographs for news, advertising or commercial purposes?
Except where security regulations, rules, orders, or directives apply or a Federal court order or rule prohibits it, persons entering in or on Federal property may take photographs of–
(a) Space occupied by a tenant agency for non-commercial purposes only with the permission of the occupying agency concerned;
(b) Space occupied by a tenant agency for commercial purposes only with written permission of an authorized official of the occupying agency concerned; and
(c) Building entrances, lobbies, foyers, corridors, or auditoriums for news purposes.
The officers were trying to convince him that because he was shooting for an independent news site, Free Talk Live, that he was shooting for “commercial purposes” and therefore needed to have written permission.
Clearly, they don’t understand the difference between “editorial” and “commercial.” The law even states that photography is permitted in “building entrances, lobbies, foyers, corridors, or auditoriums for news purposes.”
In fact, the charges against him were eventually dropped. However, the feds have yet to return his memory card to him.
It must kill them to learn that he still managed to get a video of the arrest online. I really need to get me one of those spy cameras.
The New York Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on his behalf on Thursday.