A group of anti-abortion activists were arrested in Birmingham, Alabama last week for refusing to leave a public sidewalk from which they were dispersing their information.
The group, which calls itself “The Survivors”, were standing on the sidewalk outside Parker High School when its members were confronted by several cops who ordered them to leave.
One of the activists was armed with a video camera and documented the exchange, which gets heated up in the sixth minute of the video, ending in the arrest of the videographer, Tara Shaver.
Nine group members ended up spending 14 hours in jail on criminal trespassing charges.
According to the press release, police confiscated four cameras and refused to return them until Monday, four days later, minutes before the group was going to hold a press conference in front of the Birmingham Police Department.
The activists who are obviously well-versed in their Constitutional rights do a good job on standing up for themselves, especially when the school principal claims the sidewalk is part of school property.
In an email interview with Photography is Not a Crime Tuesday night, Survivor member Kortney Blythe said they frequent about 200 schools a year, including high schools and colleges, and are frequently harassed by cops.
We are definitely harassed by cops often, but usually we are able to talk to them and assure them that we are within our rights.
This story is similar to one I reported on last year where a Local10 reporter was arrested for trespassing while standing on a public sidewalk in front of a school. Police tried to argue that he was on school property. After witnessing the video, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office determined that he was on the sidewalk and dropped all charges against him.
I am a multimedia journalist who has been fighting a lengthy legal battle after having photographed Miami police against their wishes in Feb. 2007. Please help the fight by donating to my Legal Defense Fund in the top left sidebar. And join my Facebook blog network to keep updated on the latest articles.