Austin police once again arrested a member of the Peaceful Streets Project, the activist organization that monitors police by video recording them in public.
This time, it was a 61-year-old man named Lynn Foster, who is described as the “most docile member” of the group.
As they’ve done on three previous occasions, police confiscated his camera and have refused to return it, even though the law states they need a subpoena to do so.
But Austin police have proven not to let petty distractions like subpoenas to prevent them from suppressing evidence.
“Austin police now has four of the 100 cameras we handed out to members of Peaceful Streets a couple of months ago,” said Antonio Buehler, founder of the organization who has been arrested three times this year for recording cops.
Foster was arrested while documenting the 2nd Annual Chalk the Police National Day of Action in Austin, a day of protest created by Cop Block where activists converge outside government buildings and use chalk to draw and write on the walls and pavement, expressing their anti-authoritative sentiments.
Because chalk washes away easily in rain, the sentiments are not permanent, but that doesn’t mean the activists do not get arrested.
Foster was not doing any chalking, but was only there to document how police handled the protest.
He was charged with failure to identify, which according to Texas law, is an offense if the suspect refuses to provide his name after he was lawfully arrested on another charge or if he refuses to provide his name if he is a witness to a crime.
The activists are using the Sony Bloggie, which does not have the capability to live stream video. There are several smart phone apps that allow live streaming, such as TapIn.TV, but then one would take a risk of having their smart phone confiscated, which could be a serious setback even if the video does make it online.
Here is a video of Foster after he was released from jail where he talks about how his camera was not returned to him.
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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.
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