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Monthly Archives: November 2010

New Mexico Official to be Charged for Assaulting News Videographer

A New Mexico state employee assaulted a news videographer who was standing on public property attempting to document a breaking story involving skeletal remains.

KOB-TV cameraman Gadi Schwartz showed up to the Public Employees Retirement Association building in downtown Santa Fe last week, only to be ordered to leave the area by a state employee.

Schwartz, 27,  asserted his right to videotape on public property, which prompted the man - who was more than twice his age - to assault him.

The entire incident was caught on camera, but KOB-TV news director Julie Szulczewski chose not to air the incident - probably because Schwartz was openly mocking the employees' attempts to clamp down on his First Amendment rights, which might have not come across too well by its conservative viewers.

The video was obtained by the Santa Fe New Mexican, which uploaded it to its Youtube account. But earlier tonight, the video was made private.

I had the foresight of downloading the video to my computer when I had the chance, so now I've uploaded it to my own Youtube account. We'll see how long it takes KOB-TV's news director to try to get me to remove the video. I recommend everybody download the video.

New Mexico State Police, who viewed the video, said charges of assault and battery will be filed against the state employee, so there is clearly a news story here, even if Szulczewski failed to see that.

Meanwhile, investigators are trying to determine if the bones are even human.

The story Schwartz was working on involved the discovery Monday of bones by a construction crew working outside the PERA building. Pictures of the bones have been forwarded to the Office of the Medical Investigator and the state's Historic Preservation Division for identification.

Garcia said it is not clear if the bones are human remains.

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Libertarian Activist to Stand Trial for Videotaping Cops in Mississippi

Adam Mueller, who has been making headlines on Photography is Not a Crime lately, is on his way to Mississippi for a trial regarding his arrest last year for videotaping police.

The evidence, including statements from the arresting office as well as the sheriff of Jones County - not to mention the above video - should have cleared him long ago, but common sense never seems to apply in our legal system.

Mueller elaborates on the case on Cop Block.

The lesson here is that if you have video evidence that shows you were wrongly arrested, it should be posted online immediately rather than wait for the lawyers, prosecutors and judges to do the right thing because they won't.

The video shows Mueller was cooperating fully with the officer who made the initial traffic stop, but then a second officer pulls up to the scene and demands that he turn the video camera off (just over 12 minutes into the video).

When Mueller continued videotaping, the officer arrested him.

The video was deleted, but eventually recovered through software.

However, James Atkins, the arresting deputy, stated in his report that Mueller was charged with disorderly conduct for "not putting the video camera up when told to do so."

Sheriff Alex Hodge then sent an email to one of Mueller's friends stating that he was not arrested for videotaping, which shows that Hodge did not even bother to read the arrest report.

Hodge also went as far as to say that videotaping public officials is not illegal in Mississippi.

In a prior interview with PINAC, Mueller stated that he was acting on the advice of lawyers by not posting the video online.

My experience with lawyers is that they never want anything posted online because they prefer to fight the battle in the legal arena. Perhaps it's ego or perhaps it's their conditioned strategy.

But as a journalist with more than 15 years of professional experience, the truth should always be brought before the arena of public opinion.

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DC Photo Activist Once Again Detained for Photography

 

Once again, teenage photo activist Jerome Vorus found himself educating - and embarrassing - police about basic Constitutional rights.

The 19-year-old Washington DC-based student who has proven countless times that he is no match for some dimwitted law enforcement officers was detained last week for taking photos of a transit facility from a public sidewalk in Alexandria.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority police officer T.R. Dyke confronted him about the photos, prompting Vorus to quickly ask him if he was being detained.

The officer told him to turn the camera off, which he refused to do. The officer then demanded his identification, which he refused to hand over.

The officer, obviously not accustomed to dealing with people who know their rights, then seemed at a loss of what to do, but did confirm that he was being detained, even though he was unable to state the reason behind the detainment.

Vorus demanded that he call a supervisor, which he did. Unfortunately, the supervisor was just as clueless.

Lt. Earl P. Brown ended up detaining Vorus for more than an hour.

This is how Vorus explained it in a Facebook message interview with Photography is Not a Crime.

The LT never informed me of why I was being detained. He only stated that it was a cause for concern and that gives him the right to detain me and ask for all of my information.

I continued to ask him could he give me a real reason of detainment and his answer was basically, photography.

Vorus has since fired off a letter to the WMATA Office of Inspector General complaining about his unlawful detainment.

The above video is both comical and educational.

Update: Below is the second video that Vorus just uploaded, which shows the continuation of the incident.

 

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San Francisco CopWatch Member Assaulted for Videotaping Cop



A San Francisco CopWatch member was assaulted by an undercover cop he was videotaping on a public street this month.

The incident was not only caught on his own video camera, but on another video camera carried by a fellow CopWatch member.

In the above video, Jacob Crawford can be heard confronting a female undercover cop, asking for her name and badge number.

The cop asks him why he needs that info. He tells her he is part of CopWatch. She tells him they are "protecting the community."

The woman suddenly strikes out at his camera, knocking it downard. Crawford then takes off running, only to be chased down by several cops who plant him face-first into the pavement.

"You can't film people that don't want to be filmed, dear," the cop tells him as he is being manhandled by two male cops.

The cops lift him up and sit him on a bench and eventually release him without handcuffing him or asking for his identification.

In a Facebook message interview with Photography is Not a Crime, Crawford said he believes the cops were not aware they were being videotaped by a second person until after they brought him down, which might explain why they decided to release him with no charges.

Otherwise, they probably would have claimed he assaulted them with his camera.

the lady fucked her whole game up by saying " you can't film people who don't want to be filmed dear" , i argued that point and literally was lifted, brought to the bench, the superior put his hand on my shoulder in a comforting gesture and he asks me what happened. at one point the lady came back again to explain her second reason for the attack (seeing that i was right about my right to film her) she said i was assaulting her or something of that effect with the camera, but either way whether she felt that way, she never told me to step away or any other official order, the one thing i'm trying to figure out is, what this her decision or was this a collective decision to come at me.

Crawford said he did not get the woman's name but did get the name of her supervisor and he plans to file a complaint.

In 2003, Crawford was arrested in Cinncinatti for felony obstruction when he was videotaping police officers driving through a CopWatch block party.

That video is below. This is how he explained it in the interview.

The police ran through our copwatch party in cincinnati and then started to run after me. I was charged with fel obstruction in this particular case, but because my video camera was left on in the front seat of the cop car, everything was recorded included them setting up my charges against me, fixing their story and really letting loose on me. They were pissed off. I went to trial and i was found not guilty.

 

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Whoopi Goldberg Displays Ignorance and Hypocrisy in Denouncing Opt-Out Activists

 

Whoopi Goldberg displayed sheer ignorance by stating that anybody who opts-out of the see-through scanners at airports are commiting acts of terrorism.

Then Goldberg's co-hosts on The View named George Donnelly and James Babb, creators of the We Won't Fly campaign, as prime terrorists who should be placed on the terrorist watch list.

It's probably easy for Goldberg to dismiss those who opt-out as terrorists because she has such an intense fear of flying, that she only travels by bus, according to Wikipedia.

As a result of several bad experiences, Goldberg had not flown on an airplane since the mid-late 1990s, instead traveling via a personal bus.[41] She admitted to Jay Leno that it takes 42 hours of non-stop travel to get from New York City to Los Angeles this way.[42] In April 2009, Goldberg flew to London for the first time as a result of taking a ten hour course with Virgin Atlantic Airways. On Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, she said she may now fly more in the future.[43]

Even though she took a ten-hour course with Virgin Atlantic to prepare for her trip to London last year, she ended up flying by private jet accompanied by a private doctor who was ready to sedate her with pills and injections.

And at the age of 55, she most likely has begun menopause, so she probably will never have the horrid experience one woman described in an email to Glad Rags, a company that creates reusable panty liners and menstrual pads (motto: "Safe. Simple. Smart. Period.")

But what ultimately happened is that I was subjected to search so invasive that I was left crying and dealing with memories that I thought had been dealt with years ago of prior sexual assualts. Why? Because of my flannel panty-liner. These new scans are so horrible that if you are wearing something unusual (like a piece of cloth on your panties) then you will be subjected to a search where a woman repeatedly has to check your "groin" while another woman watches on (two in my case - they were training in a new girl - awesome). So please, please, tell the ladies not to wear their liners at the airport (I didn't even have an insert in).

So Goldberg not only proved to be ignorant, she proved to be hypocritcal in how she denounced those who are trying to "cripple" the airline industry (she doesn't even fly commercial), not to mention the fact that she has no sensitivy towards women who have been sexually abused and/or happen to be breast cancer survivors.

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TSA Confiscates Nail Clippers From Heavily Armed Soldiers Returning From War

A soldier returning from Afghanistan had his nail clippers confiscated even though he was traveling with more than 200 other soldiers who were allowed to board with assault rifles, pistols and machine guns.

The weapons were not loaded, but the soldiers and their luggage had already been screened by U.S. Customs at Baghram Air Field in Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, when they landed in Indianapolis to allow members of the Indiana National Guard to deboard the plane, all the soldiers were forced off the plane to go through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint.

According to Red State:

This is probably another good time to remind you all that all of us were carrying actual assault rifles, and some of us were also carrying pistols.

 So we’re in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers. The conversation went something like this:

TSA Guy: You can’t take those on the plane.

Soldier: What? I’ve had them since we left country.

TSA Guy: You’re not suppose to have them.

Soldier: Why?

TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.

Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.

TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.

Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?

TSA Guy: [awkward silence]

Me: Dude, just give him your damn nail clippers so we can get the f**k out of here. I’ll buy you a new set.

Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]

Remember, when nail clippers are outlawed, only outlaws will have short nails.

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Man Videotapes Himself Stripping Down to Speedos Before Entering TSA Checkpoint

 

Transportation Security Administration officials seem to prefer seeing us naked through their body scanners rather than in the flesh.

For the second time in a week, a traveler stipped down to almost nothing before entering the checkpoint, making TSA officials extremely uncomfortable.

This time it was a man who stripped down to a pair of Speedo swimming trunks with the words "Screw Big Sis" written on his back, a reference to United States Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

The TSA officials at first ordered him to place a shirt back on, but when he insisted he was not breaking any law by removing his shirt and pants, they allowed him to walk on through.

A few days ago, an internet porn model named Furry Girl stripped down to her underwear before entering the checkpoint and was ordered to place a jacket on.

 

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Airport Cop Confiscate Man's iPhone for Videotaping TSA Checkpoint

 

Police and Transportation Security Administration officials are proving to be clueless about TSA's policy regarding photography and videography at airport checkpoints.

The latest incident comes to us from Nashville International Airport where an airport police officer confronts a man who is openly videotaping the checkpoint area from a respectable distance, meaning he was not physically interfering.

"I believe it is a security violation and I can arrest you for it," the cop tells the man.

The man informs the cop that the policy is clearly stated on the TSA website; that you are allowed to photograph and film the checkpoint area as long as you do not interfere.

We don’t prohibit public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations. You can take pictures at our checkpoints as long as you’re not interfering with the screening process or slowing things down. We also ask that you do not film or take pictures of our monitors.

However… while the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might. Your best bet is to call ahead and see what that specific airport’s policy is.

The cop confiscates the man's iPhone, then walks over to a uniformed TSA official and asks about the policy.

Fortunately, that TSA official knew the policy, so the officers ended up having to return the camera and apologize to the man.

However, in another incident in Hartford, Conn., the TSA official did not know about the policy and had to be informed by the TSA public affairs office, which can be reached at (571) 227-2829, a number that should be plugged into your cell phone.

Also, in Salt Lake City, a man was harassed by TSA officials after videotaping them frisking a shirtless boy.

 

 

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San Francisco Cop Watch member Jacob Crawford was questioning an undercover cop on camera when she

On November 18th I was assaulted by Plain Clothes Officers. We started off our shift at 16th in Mission in Sf by seeing several strange people. I assumed them to be plain clothes officers because I could see vests under their shirts. When they refused to identify themselves I wondered whether indeed these were "on the job" cops. Many cities around the country are known for having rogue units that take the "law" into their own hands, or are involved in organized crime. As I questioned a woman on her involvement she grabbed my camera and ran at me. From all directions came men who neither identified themselves as cops or gave orders. I assumed I was getting attacked, and I was unsure of by who. As I ran into 16th street two cops cars pulled up with lights on, it was at that point that I stopped and let the arriving officers take me down. Within seconds they could see that the move was faulty, and they released me with no charge

 

 

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Man Detained After Photographing TSA Officials

A photographer who writes a blog about airline travel was wrongfully detained after photographing TSA officials at Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Conn. last week.

Steven Frischling, who pens Flying With Fish, had just finished taking photos when he was detained by a Connecticut State Trooper who told him it was a “federal offense” to take pictures of TSA officials.

That happens to be a lie as TSA confirmed on its own blog last year.

We don’t prohibit public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations. You can take pictures at our checkpoints as long as you’re not interfering with the screening process or slowing things down. We also ask that you do not film or take pictures of our monitors.

However… while the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might. Your best bet is to call ahead and see what that specific airport’s policy is.

As we learned this week, some airports do have a policy of forbidding photography of security areas, including San Diego International Airport.

It is likely that these ordinances are unconstitutional, only they haven’t been challenged yet. I imagine that might happen sooner than later with all the scrutiny TSA has been enduring this month since the introduction of the x-ray vision scanners that allow them to see through your clothing.

Frischling, who had written about TSA’s policy on photography in the past, informed the trooper that he was allowed to take photos before asking the trooper if he was free to go on his merry way.

’The trooper, of course, said no. A TSA cop then joined him.

I asked the Trooper if I was being detained and I was informed that in fact I was being detained and that I was not free to leave the terminal. The Trooper informed me that he was waiting on a representative from the TSA’s Office of Law Enforcement and reiterated that I was in “big trouble.” 

Moments later a plain clothes TSA agent, who I had encountered while shooting, but who never identified himself as a TSA agent, approached the Trooper. The TSA agent would not identify himself, or in what capacity he was employed by the TSA  when I enquired… so I was unable to determine if he was a Supervisor in plain clothes or in fact he was from the Office of Law Enforcement.

Frischling ended up calling TSA public affairs at (571) 227-2829, which in turn called the TSA cop, informing him that photography was, in deed, allowed at TSA checkpoints.

Frishling was free to go after being detained for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, TSA officials tried to intimidate a man who had videotaped a child being strip searched into deleting his video – prompting two Congressmen into writing letters demanding to know why he was harassed.

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