By now, I’m sure everybody has seen this video and I’m just late to the game, but I had to watch it several times to make sure I wasn’t imagining things.
And it’s a 13-minute video, which means it sat on my Facebook wall for 48 hours before I had the chance to view it.
But by then, I had heard all about it from several people, so I knew what to expect.
An Albany County Sheriff’s deputy named Stan Lenic is being celebrated throughout the internet as a Constitutional hero after standing up to a pair of activists inside the city’s airport, including one who was video recording.
While Lenic deserves all the praise he gets, the entire Albany County Sheriff’s Office deserves praise because it is obvious they have solid leadership.
The activists, videographer Jason Bermas and Ashley Jessica, were from Infowars and were passing out flyers urging passengers to video record TSA screeners while opting out of the controversial body scanners.
They were quickly confronted by the airport’s director of public affairs, a man named Douglas Myers who told them they were not allowed to record within the airport, which we know is false. Especially in an airport owned by Albany County.
When videographer Jason Berman stood up for his right to record, Myers called the sheriff.
I’ve been in that position many times whether it is inside an airport or not and it’s always a scary feeling because you just never know how the cops are going to react, even if you know you’re not breaking the law.
But the first deputy who arrived, whose names appears to be Weiss, actually took the time to find out what was happening instead of just following the orders from the public director as what would normally happen.
While Myers and the activists bickered over the camera, the deputy stayed quiet and read the actual flyer. And then he took the time to speak to each group individually.
He remained calm and professional, never once mentioning that he was bothered by the camera.
He then went to consult with Deputy Lenic who got on the phone with his superiors as to what to do because it was obvious they weren’t sure but it’s also refreshing that they didn’t try to pretend to know either.
Meanwhile, the public affairs wanker kept going off about the camera, telling the activists they needed a million dollar permit to record within the airport.
The key moment comes in at 5:22 when Lenic returns to the activists and tells them the following:
“Obviously, this is your Constitutional right. As far as we’re concerned, you’re not breaking any laws.”
He then went on to say that they were possibly violating some airport rules, but that was not up to him to enforce.
This, of course, flustered Myers who then went on to close off the entire second floor to non-ticketed passengers.
Meanwhile, the CEO of the airport, John O’Donnell, told Lenic that it was ok for them to continue recording but he didn’t want them passing out fliers.
And Myers kept going on about this insurance policy because they were shooting “commercially,” which, of course, they weren’t.
And when that didn’t get Berman to stop recording, Myers demanded his identification, which Berman refused to provide.
Another key moment is when Myers asks Lenic to get their names, winking at the detective to do him the favor, but Lenic refused, saying he had no authority to do that because they were not suspected of a crime.
“If I was to ask for his identification he does not have to give it to me because he’s not doing anything wrong,” he says.
By then, Myers had given up. With the deputies refusing to stop them, the activists continued handing out their fliers without interference.
The video has racked up more than 100,000 views since it was posted Tuesday and has also generated local news coverage as well as at least one meme. Not unlike the photo that went viral of a New York City police officer buying boots for a barefoot homeless man.
The photo of the NYPD cop tugged at the heartstrings of America because he didn’t have to buy the homeless man boots. That’s not even close to his job description but he did anyway, so he deserves our respect.
But here we have a case of an entire law enforcement agency abiding by the Constitution because it’s obvious that this professionalism stems from the top down.
We saw that in the manner the first deputy handled the situation upon arriving and in the way Lenic handled the situation after consulting with his superiors.
So we should also praise Sheriff Craig D. Apple and Undersheriff William Cox.
Apple, in fact, is the only sheriff I’ve come across that has his own website where he makes himself readily accessible to the community.
Three days ago when the Youtube video was posted, he tweeted it to his followers, congratulating his deputies for upholding the law.
Send stories, tips and videos to Carlos Miller.