A tiny Texas town is trying to ban photography inside city hall because, you know, public officials have an expectation of privacy while performing their public duties.
Violators of this proposed ordinance would be slapped with a $2,000 fine if the ordinance is approved during Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Richland Hills Mayor David Ragan told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that it’s important to ban cameras because they make the city secretary nervous.
“Basically what it is, we’ve had folks come in and do video on the city secretary,” Mayor David Ragan said. “That kind of made her nervous.”
But it looks as if they are really trying to prevent citizens from expressing their First Amendment right to protest.
Gerrit Spieker, treasurer of Consolidate Now, believes that he, Michael Logan and David White inspired the city to consider the proposal. In January, they delivered a petition to City Secretary Linda Cantu requesting that a proposition to consolidate Richland Hills with North Richland Hills be placed on the May 12 ballot.
“We were in the lobby and videotaped delivering the petition to the city secretary,” Spieker said. “I think [the proposed recording ban] is trumped-up paranoia.”
The proposal would not have prevented what the group did because it happened in the City Hall lobby.
“That’s what’s so silly about it,” Spieker said. “What do we have down there — a nuclear command post with security that must be protected, or a City Hall for the people?”
If passed, I hope these same activists gather as many people as possible to conduct a photo protest inside city hall.
But in a town of 7,800, it might not be that easy.
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CARLOS MILLER’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.
My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.
So if you would like to contribute, please click on the “donate” button below and contribute whatever you can afford.
You can also contribute to my Legal Defense Fund by purchasing a photographer rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag.Please write “carlos3” in the comments section of the Paypal transaction to ensure I receive a portion of the sale.