The D.C. Taxicab Commission claims videographers are banned from recording its public meetings because they tend to be “disruptive” with their cameras.
So they had two reporters arrested yesterday who insisted on videotaping the meetings.
The result was disruptive, if not disastrous.
About 30 taxi drivers stormed out in protest after reporters Peter Tucker of The Fight Back and Jim Epstein of Reason TV were arrested.
Reason TV posted the above video today showing just reluctant these officials were to having their public meeting recorded and just how obstrusive police were in arresting them.
According to The Washington Post, taxicab commission officials are claiming they had nothing to do with the arrest, which is typical political hogwash.
Last night, Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s office issued a statement from the commission’s interim chairwoman, Dena C. Reed, saying that she did not order their arrests. But the decision of U.S. Park Police to detain the reporters followed a dispute with Reed and commission staff over whether they were allowed to photograph or otherwise record the proceedings.
He accused the commission of violating D.C.’s Open Meetings law by attempting to prevent the reporters from recording the meeting, regardless whether they ordered the arrests or not.
And he accused police of abusing their authority by charging the men with disorderly conduct and illegal entry, pointing out that D.C.’s disorderly conduct statute had recently been amended, most likely to prevent cops from using it as a catch-all charge for contempt of cop.