“You’re about to go to jail for being a dumb-ass,” said a Houston Federal Agent Calderon to PINAC citizen journalist David Warden.
Boy, was he wrong.
The Houston Federal Court Security Agent assaulted PINAC correspondent David Warden when he lawfully recorded outside of a Federal Courthouse on its sidewalk.
Just three minutes after Warden began recording in the video below which is going viral, a Federal “Court Security Agent” assaulted the citizen journalist on a public sidewalk, while demanding his identification.
“Can we help you?” the Agent Calderon asked twice at first as he approached Warden.
He immediately got agressive, crowding Warden away from his location for recording video.
“Please step back, you’re getting close,” said the citizen journalist who runs News Now Houston on YouTube.
“I am a federal officer, and I am telling you: What are you doing?” replied the agent.
“Step back please? Sir,” Warden gently requested.
“I am a federal officer and I will get in your face if I have to,” replied the slightly balding, dark haired agent who asked again, “What are you up to?”
Warden replied by asking, “What is your name?”
The agent tried to swipe the camera right then and there.
He swiped and stuttered, “Lemme see, lemme see your camera,” as Warden deftly retreated.
For a moment, the Agent looked like the boxer Manny Pacquiao charging in to attack Floyd Mayweather with high right inside crosses, but in this case, Warden, like Mayweather was too nimble for the agent’s blows.
The GoPro camera captured it all.
“Do not touch me sir.” snapped Warden, politely for the circumstance, while retreating.
“Who are you?” asked Agent Calderon
“Am I being detained?” asked Warden.
That’s when the agent declared, “You are about to go to jail!” without any readily visible probable cause of any crime being committed, which is also why they didn’t arrest Warden.
Because photography is not a crime, so Warden asked “Am I being detained!” again.
“You’re about to go to jail for being a dumb-ass,” said the still unidentified as of yet Federal agent, shamelessly ‘unaware’ that that doesn’t constitute a crime either, and just doesn’t sound right coming from the lips of any public servant.
For any reason.
“Am I being detained?” repeated Warden, and the agent replied “Let me see your driver’s license.”
“Am I being detained?” repeated Warden repeatedly without answer in the video you can see below.
The infamous court case Terry vs. Ohio determined the limits of detention for “stop and frisk” or “stop and identify” as being allowed only when a lawman can articulate reasonable suspicion of a crime.
This federal agent couldn’t say much more than “dumb-ass” so presumably, unless the law has changed in Texas, that would not be a crime either.
But Warden persisted, and eventually used his words to pry Agent Calderon’s name out of his mouth, which remained bereft of articulable suspicion of a crime or anything else articulate for that matter.
After another agent came around corner, David Warden expressly invoked his 5th amendment right to be silent under questioning and his 4th amendment right to be free of search and seizure, and his 6th amendment right to have an attorney present during all questioning.
Agent Calderon replied, “You’re not under arrest, so you don’t need an attorney.”
It was a wise time to speak about those civil rights, because doubtless, they’d have been violated otherwise.
Warden continued to work his way up to the 10th amendment, which I’m sure he’ll be explaining in YouTube comments, but proceeded directly to the heart of the rights blessedly handed down from the Founding Fathers of America directly to David Warden, the freedom of the press.
“[I’m going to exercise] my 1st Amendment rights to protest, out in public, what government officials do, and how they abuse…”
Why don’t you just get out of here.
You two idiots, just get out of here.
The agents tried to claim that the sidewalks were Federal property and clear out Warden and those who’d walked by and began recording on their own cellphones.
That’s when another Federal agent pushed Warden clear off the sidewalk and onto the street.
Luckily, no cars or trains rode by at that moment, but the dangerous assault and battery threw Warden at least 5-8 feet clear of the sidewalk.
Afterwards, the agent who assaulted Warden kept bothering a different onlooker, a young man who claimed to be a self-employed former Marine, derisively telling him to, “Get a job.”
And Warden stood his ground, yelled for a supervisor after the assault and continued video recording lawfully for another 10 minutes on the sidewalk after being assaulted by the Federal Courthouse Security Agent attempting to censor him in public.
He was near the “sally port” of the Federal Courthouse facility, which is by necessity an automobile entrance on a public street, and something that is publicly observable from any road or Google Maps.
Eventually five Federal courthouse officials blocked David Warden from recording anything, standing on the sidewalk and a couple of random passers bye who whipped out their smartphones on the public sidewalk, one of whom is recording the police in the side right of the photo below.
“We can’t have idiots filming government vehicles,” a Federal agent declared in the end of Warden’s video.
But apparently, that prohibition doesn’t extend to Federal agents who want to snatch cameras out of the hands of citizen journalists, like cover-boy.
“Let me ask you a question, alright?” said the dreadlocked man.
“Are you a special agent?”
“No,” said the lawman.
“Are you a Federal agent?”
“Yes,” replied the middle man of the bunch wearing nothing more uniformed than a gray sport coat and a white open-collared shirt without any badge or visible form of identification.
“You’re working for the government, right? You being a civil servant, he’s entitled; we’re all entitled, actually, to know your name,” said the man on the street.
The five assembled government employees invoked their own non-extant right to remain silent at that point.
If you think this looked like an attack by schoolyard bullies, well, you’re not alone in thinking that.
As for Warden? He’s not in jail, nor is he going.
In fact, he was just exonerated by Harris County Sheriffs last week too for an unlawful arrest, which happened while recording news video near the Shell Oil Deer Park Refinery, because photography is not a crime, it’s a 1st Amendment protected, constitutional right.