An Alabama man recorded his illegal arrest Thursday in Birmingham for recording outside of a federal building, after the officer asserts that they do not care about the Supreme Court.
Lynwood Keith Golden was out exercising his First Amendment rights and recording on June 9, when a pair of Birmingham Police Officers confronted him, alleging that federal agents had told him to leave the area.
Golden maintains that he has evidence that this is untrue, but is hesitant to release it before his court appearance.
Golden recently retired from the Army after 23 years, including serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and told PINAC that it hurts seeing rights violations in his own country.
“FBI questioned me and I got the usual intimidation ie ‘terrorist threat’, ‘worried about their security,’ etc. I just invoked my rights and eventually told them I was not there ‘to incite violence or anything like that’. Was then told that I have a right to film. I continued filming and walked back up 18th street north.” Golden stated.
He was soon approached by the officers who began to demand his identification. Golden did not have his identification card with him, but gave the officers identifying info.
“There’s a terrorist act, where you cannot be filming federal buildings,” an uninformed Birmingham police sergeant tells Golden.
In 2010, the right to film federal buildings was upheld in a settlement between the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service and the New York Civil Liberties Union. Restating that “there are currently no general security regulations prohibiting exterior photography by individuals from publicly accessible spaces, absent a written local rule, regulation or order.”
The settlement “clarifies that protecting public safety is fully compatible with the need to grant public access to federal facilities, including photography of the exterior of federal buildings,” Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service spokesman Michael Keegan told the Washington Post in 2010.
These officers weren’t about to let little things like the First Amendment, The Supreme Court, or the Department of Homeland Security tell them what to do though!
“But the Supreme Court says-” Golden begins.
“WE AIN’T CONCERNED ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT!” The clearly agitated officer asserts.
It is important to note that recording in public has never actually made it to the supreme court because numerous lower courts have already established that it is a First Amendment right.
“I had an iPad and while I was arrested, the plain clothes officer said for me to give him the code… my response: ‘I am going to remain silent, I want to speak to my lawyer.’ None of my electronics were tampered with,” Golden told PINAC. “I was driven to the jail, arrived between 4 or 5 and stayed in cuffs for a few hours, was put in prison clothes, photo and fingerprinted. Was not locked up, stayed in a holding cell with the door open and paid my own bond of $356. Left the jail about 10pm. I have no clue what is in the police report…I tried to do a public records request for video/audio and police report, but was told that I had to subpoena them.”