Photographers who document protests not only have to worry about getting arrested by police, they now have to worry about some of the activists themselves, specifically the Black Bloc Punks.
While I never recommend fighting back against the cops who arrest you because that is a battle you will always lose, I strongly recommend fighting against any activist who attacks you.
And if they are wearing masks, then unmask the assholes and expose them for the punks that they are.
I guarantee once that happens, they will be as vicious as those unmasked villains at the end of those old Scooby Doo Saturday morning cartoons.
Six Black Bloc members were arrested in New York City during the May Day protests, so if anybody up there wants to go through the trouble of making a public records request of their mugshots, I would be happy to run them on this blog along with their names.
In fact, I would imagine the NYPD has a whole collection of Black Bloc mugshots that they would be happy to share.
This is what they had to say on Anarchist News:
At least six arrests were made as the march tried to leave the park. Although a few de-arrests were successfully executed, the photographers that formed a line between the rest of the march and the front lines impeded the ability for either further de-arrests or a coordinated retreat. Comrades that were nearly pulled away from the pigs were lost as a direct result of the media’s interference. Concerned only with getting a decent photograph, their presence not only prevented the possibility of further de-arrests, but also put those in the front lines in potential legal danger by photographing close ups of their faces after they were unmasked by the pigs.
Photographers were continually confronted throughout the demo. These vultures not only put people at very serious legal risk by shooting their faces, but physically interfered with the march’s movement and the capacity for people, masked or not, to act. Most telling, however, was the fact that photographers in the midst of the bloc explicitly stated their intent to de-mask participants. This is indicative of their function in identifying those engaged in direct struggle – a role, whether sanctioned or not, that is imperative for police repression to be successful.
One photographer, who has yet to be identified, was confronted by a masked young woman. She told him to “get his fucking camera out of [her] face”. After repeating this several times, she pushed his camera away, and he promptly sucker punched her in the face. When she lunged for him, she was pulled back and restrained by another participant in the bloc who insisted it “wasn’t worth it”. While the individual that kept her from attacking her assailant surely had good intentions, he was sorely mistaken. We MUST attack those that both put us in immediate physical and legal danger and serve the same function as the police.
Demonstrative of this, only one block later, another photographer – Jeremy Sparig with Metro – was confronted about taking pictures within the bloc; when he refused to move outside of the bloc, he and a masked individual traded blows, which ended in two other masked assailants promptly retrieving their comrade whilst attacking and putting down the photographer. A number of cameras were nearly seized, and a few lenses were spray painted or paint bombed.
Such actions taken towards photographers demonstrate our intent to be neither incapacitated by the media, nor represented by an apparatus which we despise. Aggressively confronting photographers is an element shared by most of the major blocs which acted on Mayday, which is indicative of a clear desire to refuse the traditional, liberally-oriented paradigm of pandering to the media. While the bloc in NYC did not reach the level of physical destruction demonstrated in numerous other cities, its aggressive response towards those infiltrators from the media actualized an increase in militancy unprecedented within the context of recent demonstrations in the city. For anyone who is not acting in order to acquire social capital or to grace the cover of the Post, it must be made unequivocally clear: journalists are fucking enemies.
To our enemies: if we won’t hesitate to directly confront hundreds of cops and to destroy property, what makes you think we hold the lens of your camera to be sacred? You want to preserve your four thousand dollar camera to watch us break everything else? We are not doing this for you, and this is not a game. You clearly do not understand that there is no exception. We feel nothing but contempt for you cowardly spectators.
You’d better watch your necks next time.
the “did you know that a photographer’s camera could pay your rent?” collective
I imagine they will be attending the Republican National Convention protests in Tampa this August, so I hope they are aware that we have this controversial “Stand Your Ground” law that allows gun owners to kill anybody that is a perceived threat to them.
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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.
Petition the Obama Administration
I’ve launched a petition insisting President Obama protect the rights of citizens to record police in public without fear of getting arrested. We need to get 25,000 signatures in less than a month for them to review it.
It takes only five minutes to register and sign, so it’s worth the effort even if it goes nowhere.
Also, in an unrelated PINAC matter, I recently went through a hair transplant operation and I’m documenting my recovery on this blog if you are interested.