PINAC New York City correspondent Shawn Randall Thomas, part of our quickly growing network of contributors, once again schooled authorities on the law and his right to right from public.
The man who has been arrested multiple times over the years without a single conviction was recording the Metropolitan Correctional Center Friday, a federal prison in Manhattan, when he was confronted by an armed guard who told him it was against the law because it was a “secure area,” even though he was standing in an area open to the public.
“I appreciate if you don’t film my federal building,” the captain said.
“Could you just leave our area,” he also said.
Meanwhile, a growing number of armed guards began surrounding him in an intimidating fashion. Thomas eventually walked off after daring them to attempt to enforce whatever law they were claiming.
“By Title 18, we can actually confiscate what you have,” the captain said.
“No, you can’t,” Thomas repeatedly told him.
USC Title 18 is the federal crime and criminal procedure section in federal law, which essentially includes every crime in the book.
But it doesn’t include anything against photographing a federal building from public.
In fact, in 2010, the Department of Homeland Security agreed to a settlement where specifically stated recording on federal property was not only allowed from outside, but in “entrances, lobbies, foyers, corridors and auditoriums for news purposes.”
But even an internal bulletin dated there months before the settlement stated that officers are not allowed to confiscate cameras unless they have enough probable cause for an arrest, which would not be the case for citizens merely recording a federal buildings from public.