Cops Called on Former Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris in Camera Incident

Franco Harris


Former Pittsburgh Steeler running back Franco Harris had the cops called on him today in Los Angeles after members of his entourage refused to turn off their cameras while he attempted to interview the president of the NCAA on the controversial Jerry Sandusky affair.

Harris attended Penn State University, the same school where Sandusky coached while molesting countless boys before he was convicted and sent to prison this year.

His questions were in defense of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, considered a legend in parts of Pennsylvania, who coached the Nittany Lions for 45 years before he was forced to resign in 2011 amidst the Sandusky sex scandal.

He had traveled from Pittsburgh with John Ziegler, who maintains Framing Paterno, a site attempting to clear Paterno’s name in the scandal, even though evidence suggests that he knew about the molestations for years but didn’t do anything about it.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The watch commander for the Rampart Community Police of the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed officers from his department visited the site, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, to respond to a disturbance and that no one was arrested. The NCAA did not immediately return a call seeking comment, nor did a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

The watch commander said the police were called after the Chamber of Commerce asked Ziegler and others with him to stop recording the event. Ziegler said he was told in advance he could bring handheld cameras. He said four people had cameras and that Harris didn’t.

A Chamber of Commerce web page said Emmert was to speak on the NCAA’s efforts to embrace academics and to protect and sustain the collegiate student-athlete model. During the question and answer portion of the event, Ziegler said Harris asked Emmert a question about Penn State, along the lines of “why Joe Paterno didn’t get any due process.” Ziegler said he was asked to stop recording by NCAA representatives after Harris asked that question.

After Emmert was done speaking for the event, Ziegler said, Harris approached him to ask a follow-up question about suggesting Emmert speak to the committee on infractions regarding the Penn State sanctions. Ziegler said Emmert gave a quick response and then immediately left through a back door. He said NCAA representatives attempted to block him from recording the follow-up question. The police, Ziegler said, didn’t arrive until after Emmert had left.


About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • Photoriety

    ” . . . the same school where Sandusky coached while molesting countless boys before he was convicted and sent to prison this year.”

    Just to clarify, the number who have come forward is nine. Of the nine, one testified that his molestation occurred while Sandusky was a coach at Penn State (in 1998, the year Sandusky retired). The rest occurred after he retired.

    • Carlos_Miller

      Many occurred on campus even after he retired but ok, I guess he wasn’t technically coaching. He just had the same access to the campus as he did when he did coach.

      • Gordon Freeman

        AND used that access to help support his ‘charity’ where he groomed boys and selected his victims. So, yeah, Penn State had NOTHING to do with it.

        • $910553

          Penn State did INDEED have everything to do with it. But Paterno did NOT. He had no control over Sandusky’s access to the University once he had fired Sandusky.

          • Jeffrey Simons

            matism, Paterno did not fire Sandusky (unless you consider he told Sandusky he would never be head coach a subversive means of persuading him to retire), however you are correct in that Paterno was not responsible for his former employee, nor Sandusky’s access to University facilities.

        • Photoriety

          G. Freeman, I don’t see anyone claiming that Penn State had nothing to do with it. Penn State gave him professor emeritus status, which provided an office and facilities access. He was nominated for that status by the President’s Office and it was approved by the Board of Trustees. That’s where the criticism should be directed.

        • Jeffrey Simons

          You have to wonder why the Attorney General did not subpoena the records of the charity (which have mysteriously disappeared) until more than 2 years into the investigation.

      • $910553

        See above, As soon as the first report was made, Paterno FIRED Sandusky. Sandusky was then allowed to return to campus, and given access to the locker room and facilities courtesy of the Athletic Director and the President of the University. Paterno worked for them. Not the other way around.

        • ExCop-Lawyer

          Not true.

          The first allegation against Sandusky came to light in 1998.

          Sandusky retired in June of 1998.

          JoPa didn’t fire Sandusky, he covered for him.

          • Photoriety

            Incorrect. The first allegation in 1998 was investigated by the police, Child Youth Services, and the Centre County District Attorney — who decided not to file charges. That is not a cover up.

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            What part of “Paterno FIRED Sandusky” is true? Not a bit of it.

            The claim was made that Sandusky was fired as soon as Paterno found out. Sandusky didn’t retire from PSU until over half a year had passed. It is also clearly established that Paterno covered for Sandusky.

            “When the statue came down in July, 12 days after a scathing report
            accused Paterno and top administrators of covering up the early signs of
            Jerry Sandusky’s crimes….” NY Times, Nov. 24, 2012

            “Freeh Report: Penn State Administration, Joe Paterno Covered Up Jerry Sandusky’s Child Abuse” Huffington Post, July 12, 2012

            “Paterno knew that a mother had reported in 1998 that assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had showered with her son in a Penn State locker room. Years later, Paterno lied about that to a grand jury. Days before his death this spring, he repeated the lie to a reporter.” Newsday, July 23, 2012

            “Joe Paterno’s role in covering up Jerry Sandusky’s child molestations grows as evidence is leaked” YahooNews, June 30, 2012

          • $910553

            Yet the police, and the grand jury, and McQueary all say Paterno did NOT lie. But then I’m sure the Media, especially THOSE Media, are far more reliable.

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            Except the grand jury did not say that he didn’t lie, they just didn’t indict him – likely because they didn’t have the evidence before them.

            A former FBI director did a painstaking 267 page report that clearly showed that Paterno knew of the 1998 allegations of sexual abuse, but he testified to the grand jury that the first he knew of anything was in 2001. The only reason he hasn’t been indicted is that he’s dead.

            I’ve read the report, and I’ll take Freeh’s word over a bunch of fans with blinders on any day.

            “Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the
            safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior
            leaders at Penn State. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to
            take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky
            victimized. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never
            demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and
            well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.” Freeh

          • $910553

            Suck that lying Freeh. That POS protected Horiuchi from the prison he deserves, and you’re spitting on Paterno? Yup. You’re a “Law Enforcement” officer alright. Bless your heart!

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            But I’m not a law enforcement officer. Used to be one. Not anymore.

            I’m not spitting on Paterno–but by the same token, I’m not going to ignore what he failed to do to protect children.

            What I find really sad is the number of apologists for Paterno & Penn State. His own words describe it best:

            “It’s unbelievable to think that kind of corruption came right from the
            top of the power structure.”

            That power structure included JoPa.

          • Jeffrey Simons

            Freeh is still under investigation for falsifying FBI reports. I would not give him the credence you have. Also consider his last case investigating an alleged FIFA scandal was roundly rejected and had all findings vacated by a Swiss court.

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            Like I said, it’s really sad to see how far the apologists will go to protect the name of a man who didn’t even care about how many kids were being molested, so long as no one found out about it.

          • Jeffrey Simons

            kind of sad how far the Paterno haters will go to condemn a man who followed the law and reported a second hand incident to his superiors, based solely on one vague email out of context. You cannot ignore 61 years of success with honor.

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            What honor?

            JoPa pretty much lost any honor when he was exposed as one who enabled a child molester, and covered it up to protect his football program.

            That’s why the statue is gone, that’s why schools have painted over his portrait, and that’s why the American public has lost respect for him.

          • Jeffrey Simons

            you’ve been misled, sir. Maybe you should look more closely at the people who removed the statue. He was exposed? Based on one vague email that did not refer to him by name? I hope when your life and legacy are shredded, there will be more than that to justify it.

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            Perhaps JoPa should have considered his legacy before he gave up caring about the victims.

          • Jeffrey Simons

            and what information proves that he did? enlighten me.

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            “Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.” Freeh

            “Spanier, Curley, Schultz and Paterno then spent the next month debating
            what they would do and whether to report Sandusky to authorities. During
            this same period, Curley said he met with executive director of the
            Second Mile and “shared the information we had with him.” The Second
            Mile leadership concludes the matter was a “non‐incident.” Eventually,
            they decided not to report Sandusky at the insistence of Paterno.” Huffington

            I assume you did learn that after the Freeh report was released, Spanier was charged with perjury, based on the information in that report, and the indications are that Paterno, were he still alive, would be in court next to him, as a co-defendant.

          • Jeffrey Simons

            kind of scary that someone who goes by the moniker “excop-lawstudent” believes an allegation proves guilt.

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            I don’t believe in allegations, I believe in facts and evidence. There’s plenty to show that JoPa likely committed perjury in front of the grand jury. That’s enough for probable cause, and in this case, I believe that there would be enough to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

            I find it interesting that for all the concern about JoPa’s tarnished name, you’ve said nothing about the victims of Sandusky. How dare they bring up this issue, that cast doubt on JoPa…

          • Jeffrey Simons

            where are the facts and evidence? Not Freeh’s “reasonable” conclusions. I find it interesting that the victims of Sandusky had their day in court and will win settlements from the University, but when weak minds present weak arguments, they use the victims as a last ditch effort to distract from their weak argument.

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            Hey, if you want to ignore the facts, that’s fine with me.

            Just another apologist.

          • Jeffrey Simons

            lol spoken like a cop who has no answers. You should call that nancy perez in miami.

          • Jeffrey Simons

            by your logic, Carlos Miller is a serial criminal who belongs in jail.

          • ExCop-Lawyer

            Nope, nothing of the kind. Carlos has been arrested, falsely in my opinion, several times by officers that didn’t want their activities photographed, who had something to hide (or thought they did). Carlos was exercising his First Amendment rights–and did nothing of the type of crime that it appears that Paterno was committing.

            They are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Carlos was trying to bring things into the public eye, to raise awareness. JoPa was trying to cover things up, to hide them, so that there would be no public accountability or awareness of what was happening at Penn State.

          • Jeffrey Simons

            Paterno has been accused, falsely, by powerful people in Pennsylvania who are trying to hide THEIR crimes. If Joe was trying to cover things up, why even report what McQueary told him to his boss? Why not just tell McQueary to drop it, or lie and say he would take it from there and then do nothing??

            See what I did there? I used your own logic!

          • Jeffrey Simons

            Attorney General Linda Kelley told the public that Paterno was not under investigation, and was considered a cooperative witness for the state in her first press conference. Moments later, PA’s top state trooper Noonan – a political stooge for Governor Tom Corbett – went out back of the courthouse and initiated the smear campaign on Paterno. Guess which sound bite the media ran with?

          • $910553

            Sandusky leaves the coaching staff and you say JoPa covered for him? Yep, you’re a cop!

          • Jeffrey Simons

            just to clarify . . . the only evidence Paterno was aware of the 1998 investigation (which the local DA refused to prosecute) is one cryptic email from Athletic Director Tim Curley to VP of Operations Gary Schultz. That is it. There is no “proof”, just an assumption based on what Freeh believes the email to mean. It is not even known of the “coach” in the email is referring to Paterno. By PA law, Curley may have known Sandusky was under investigation, but it would have been illegal for anyone to disclose the nature of the investigation since it was a sexual allegation involving a minor.

            Paterno gave Sandusky and ultimatum in 1998. He told Sandusky he would not be the next head coach of Penn State because he spent too much time with The Second Mile, the charity from which Sandusky was selecting his victims. Sandusky was given a generous retirement package by the University President Graham Spanier and Provost Rodney Erickson (who is the current President and signed the consent decree with the NCAA leveling the sanctions against the university and vacating Paterno’s wins). In fact, included in the Freeh report were Paterno’s notes objecting to the conditions of Sandusky’s retirement, including allowing Second Mile children on campus.

            The Freeh report has been analyzed and criticized by multiple independent groups. I suggest you read those criticisms before giving Freeh a pass on peer review. He did not have subpoena power, did not interview any of the key players (including Mike McQueary), and was essentially hired by the Board of trustees on THEIR behalf, not the University (or more specifically Paterno)

            Ray Blehar has done some great investigative work, I recommend for clarity’s sake his chronological timeline of victims and locations:


          • Jeffrey Simons

            I find it interesting that the ex cop has not once mentioned The Second Mile . . . the charity from which Sandusky selected his victims, the charity whose major contributors represent board members at Penn State (and have an axe to grind with Paterno), the charity whose members contributed over $600,000 to Tom Corbett’s campaign for Governor as he was investigating Sandusky for sex crimes, the charity whose paperwork has mysteriously disappeared, the charity whose director was aware of the allegations against Sandusky in 1998 and 2001 yet failed to report to his board or the police . . . . but watch ex cop get his knickers in a twist about Paterno, a football coach who reported a watered down second hand account of something he did not witness.

      • Photoriety

        Who granted that access is key, however.

        • Jeffrey Simons

          Rod Erickson, current President of Penn State who just got an $80K raise from the Board of trustees for doing their bidding.

  • Mike Ross

    “…the site, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce”

    OK that makes it easy. Their site, their rules. If they allowed photography, Mr. Emmert had a choice of being photographed, or leaving. If their rules prohibited photography, Mr. Harris had a choice between putting his camera away, or leaving.

    Of course the third option is if Mr. Emmert had *rented* the facility under terms which allowed him to make his *own* rules about photography for that event, in which case the situation is, again, clear.

    The story tells us nothing about any of the above, so it’s rather pointless.


    • Carlos_Miller

      A chamber of commerce that wouldn’t allow photography? They thrive on photography. They love seeing pictures of themselves but only in a positive light.

    • Jeffrey Simons

      Ziegler addressed this on his blog:

      It appears that in the email announcing the event, they were told cameras and recording were allowed. When Ziegler made his intentions known, he was told “large cameras” would not be allowed. The presentation was recorded on small cameras, and later recorded on a cell phone.

  • $910553

    Actually, Paterno had FIRED Sandusky when the first incident occurred, back in ?2002? Sandusky only returned to the campus courtesy of the Athletic Director and the President of the University. “Framing Paterno” is FAR more accurate than the story the Media has only been too glad to spread.

    Also note that, in that first incident, the local police and prosecutor had been investigating Sandusky following the report. The prosecutor then “committed suicide”, and the hard drive to his computer “disappeared”. The cops and his replacement prosecutor said “Well, that’s the end of that!” and closed the investigation. You decide what was going on…

    • ExCop-Lawyer

      Except that everything shows that Paterno did not FIRE Sandusky, but allowed him to RETIRE and then covered up the incident.

      I have no sympathy for a man that was aware of the type of monster that Sandusky was, and who allowed him use of team facilities, to bring victims onto campus, and to make trips to bowl games with victims. Even if he was not the one to make the decision to allow him on campus, he should have spoken up.