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Arrested for recording a Public meeting???

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posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:26 PM
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Guys I have to ask, there are good cops right? I know there are but why do we have more and more of these guys?

It doesn't make sense to me.

Official Account of what happened from Pete Tucker:



Yesterday, Jim Epstein of Reason TV and I were arrested at a public meeting of the D.C. Taxicab Commission (DCTC). The meeting was held at the U.S. Park Police headquarters. Somehow, Park Police officers got roped into becoming the DCTC’s armed security and both Epstein and I have been charged by the Park Police with “Unlawful Entry/Remaining” and “Disorderly Conduct.” Our “crime”? Taking pictures or video.

Less than an hour into the public meeting, a hack (taxi) inspector – with “K. Bears #17″ written on his shirt – told me I couldn’t take pictures. He stood in my way to ensure that I didn’t photograph the DCTC commissioners on the dais. I settled on taking a photo of him instead. Not long after, things went haywire.

“I am troubled by actions taken by the [DCTC],” wrote Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells in a strongly worded letter to Attorney General Irvin Nathan. “While the details are unclear, following a request of DCTC members or staff, two armed Park Police officers entered the auditorium, put a reporter in handcuffs, and removed him from the room. This was reportedly for taking photographs or making a video recording of the proceedings at an open and public meeting.”

As I sat in the front row recording the testimony of Jim Dickson of the American Association of People with Disabilities, two Park Police officers approached me. “You can come with me or you can get locked up,” said one.

“You cannot stop a reporter from [recording]. That’s outrageous,” responded Dickson. Despite the protests of the approximately 200 people in attendance, I was hauled away. Washington Post columnist John Kelly, who was present, wrote, “suddenly, a clot of Park Police officers frogmarched Tucker out of the auditorium.” Epstein caught it all on video, which led to his being placed in the jail cell next to me.

“The folks at the D.C. Taxicab Commission and the U.S. Park Police have got some splainin’ to do [regarding the arrest of] two reporters… during a DCTC meeting for, you know, reporting,” wrote City Paper‘s Alan Suderman. “Is it a public meeting or not?” asked NBC4 reporter Tom Sherwood.

Speaking to Martin Austermuhle of dcist.com, Johnny Barnes, executive director of the ALCU of the Nation’s Capital, said, “We find the actions of the Taxicab Commission to be kind of strange.”

The DCTC has a history of doing strange things, particularly Interim Chair Dena Reed. At DCTC’s March meeting, then-General Counsel Reed attempted to ban Fox5 photojournalist Jason Smith from recording. “If the cameras don’t leave the room, we’re not going to have the meeting,” said Reed, who was overruled by then-Chair Leon Swain.

As interim chair, with no one above her, Reed has gone even further. A notice posted on the DCTC walls before the May meeting read, “NO TELEVISION CAMERAS. NO VIDEO TAPING. NO AUDIO TAPING. ” The subject of the hearing was Ms. Reed’s attempted rewrite of Title 31, the regulatory code that governs the taxicab industry.

Drivers, concerned that the proposed changes to Title 31 will put many of them out of business, attempted to submit a petition with more than 900 signatures. Instead of accepting it, the DCTC pushed drivers out, locked the doors, turned the lights off, called the police, and referred to the drivers as “a mob.”

The DCTC is badly in need of reform. And it’s not just the leadership. Taxi drivers describe widespread mistreatment by hack inspectors, who appear to face little to no consequences for their actions.

The answer, though, is not to abolish the DCTC, as some have called for. Instead, the DCTC should be strengthened and brought into compliance with the 1985 Taxicab Commission Establishment Act which calls for three industry representatives to be on the DCTC. Presently, there are none.

If drivers are included in the political process many issues can be solved before they erupt into a public spectacle. Take, for example, drivers’ response to Dickson’s testimony. The Small Business Association of DC Taxicab Drivers, an umbrella organization representing some 4,000 drivers, is setting up a meeting with Dickson to figure out how to deal with the serious problem of drivers not stopping for those with service animals.

Lastly, there’s no way to explain how so many hard-working, decent people can be excluded from the political process – at times targeted by it – without talking about racism and xenophobia. It took two reporters being arrested to draw attention to the DCTC’s misdeeds. But for years, countless drivers have been raising these concerns.

Maybe it’s time we listen.


From Jim Epstein:



On June 22, 2011, I attended a meeting of the D.C. Taxi Commission for a story I'm currently working on about a proposed medallion system in the district.

About 30 minutes into the meeting, I witnessed journalist Pete Tucker snap a still photo of the proceedings on his camera phone. A few minutes later, two police officers arrested Tucker. I filmed Tucker's arrest and the audience's subsequent outrage using my cell phone.

A few minutes later, as I was attempting to leave the building, I overheard the female officer who had arrested Tucker promise a woman, who I presumed to be an employee of the Taxi Commission, that she would confiscate my phone. Reason intern Kyle Blaine, overheard her say, "Do you want his phone? I can get his phone."

(The woman who was given assurances by the officer that she could have my phone can be seen at the end of the video telling me, "You do not have permission to record this!")

As I tried to leave, I was told by the same officer to "stay put." I told her I was leaving and attempted to exit the building. I was then surrounded by officers, and told to remain still or I would be arrested.

I didn't move, but I tried to get the attention of a group of cab drivers who were standing nearby. At this point I was arrested.

I spent the remainder of the day in a cell in the basement of the building. In the late afternoon, I was released.

We will be reporting more on this as it unfolds. Scroll down for downloadable versions of this video.

edit on 6/23/2011 by drew1749 because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:33 PM
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reply to post by drew1749
 


Is there a link we can check out telling more of what is going on here?
I dont understand why the reporter was arrested or what the meeting was for that matter.
Thanks.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:34 PM
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reply to post by DIDtm
 


I updated the post. Sorry I didnt read the decription on the video.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:34 PM
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Originally posted by drew1749


Guys I have to ask, there are good cops right?


A minority of cops are good, yes. There are good cops.

They might not arrest the criminals they work with, but since they don't brutalize everyone they can for no reason; they qualify as good.

Such is life in 21st century USA.


*You know there was a time in the country when people didn't get an adrenaline rush when they saw those flashing lights behind their car? It's true. Hard to believe though, ain't it?



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:37 PM
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reply to post by Exuberant1
 


I keep telling people that we aren't America anymore. More like "America 2"

Obviously the police were insane in this video although they weren't horrible to the guy (as he was released the same day) they were really stupid even trying to arrest him.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:39 PM
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According to Reddit (Where I find a lot of a "news") the guy posted an article on his website detailing what happened:

thefightback.org...-2530

The site seems suspiciously anti-cop. Although I'm not sure and don't want to judge.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:45 PM
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I'm sorry but did I miss something? Did this guy have an ulterior motive? Was he being noisy and disrupting the meeting? What did he do? As someone who is a Journalism major with aspirations to be a reporter, and someone who just bought a new video camera, I have to ask what the hell he was doing wrong. The last video I saw on here about the girl being arrested for video taping the police on her front lawn could have been explained as obstructing justice, but this is absurd!

Did he not have clearance to be there? In many cases it is law to have some sort of identification saying you are a journalist, but....
edit on 23-6-2011 by SubPop79 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:47 PM
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reply to post by drew1749
 


Do you know what this meeting was about? If it was a public meeting, I think the reporter was in his rights to be able to video and record it. This is really sad that this is going on in America.

The lady was saying it wasn't the right way to act by walking out of the meeting? Nobody from that panel went up to the arresting officer and told him not to arrest the reporter. I wouldn't trust any public official who would let that happen.

Public meeting are just that, open to the public. We've had closed door school board meetings and city council meetings where I live. Closed door meetings should be illegal. These are all public servants paid with our tax dollars. The public has every right to know what kind of decisions are being made on their behalf.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:48 PM
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reply to post by SubPop79
 


I posted a little fast. Check the main post now. Two reporters were arrested. Two different people and both have accounts that I've posted above. I didn't understand it the first time I read it. Now I think I do?

Anyways let's discuss this ATS.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:49 PM
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reply to post by WeRpeons
 


I've updated my post. Once again I'm sorry. I posted before I had the facts. I just knew the video was kinda insane.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:50 PM
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First of all those were security people, not sure if they were cops.

What you need to remember is that these cops, or security people, don't make the laws, they just have to enforce them. Obviously someone told them someone was filming ,and maybe there is a rule about where ever they were at, and the security guy gave him a lot of warnings before cuffing him.

I find it puzzling that you would ask , are these good cops or bad cops...because I'm sure a lot of cops would love to just let some stuff slide, but if they have complaints ,they have to enforce the rules. How a cop handles a confrontation , and exercises his power to enforce the laws , is the true measure of how skilled he is at his job. Good cops, that show some dignity on the job, probably have to put up with less hassle ,and belligerence.


The person (leo) in this video did not use excessive force...and he politely asked a number of times.
edit on 23-6-2011 by gabby2011 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:52 PM
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If I'm not mistaken there's only two questions you need to remember when the police tell you to "Stay put"

1) Am I being detained?
2) Am I free to leave?

If 1 is yes, 2 will be no.
If 1 is no, 2 must be yes; any other answer and the officer is acting unlawfully. You are either being detained as a "person of interest" or you are not.

If it is a public meeting, recording should be legal (don't quote me on that though), so in theory the only thing that you could be detained for is recording someone without their permission, at which point you simply need to ask them for permission and then blur their face if they were to say no.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:53 PM
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Originally posted by drew1749
reply to post by SubPop79
 


I posted a little fast. Check the main post now. Two reporters were arrested. Two different people and both have accounts that I've posted above. I didn't understand it the first time I read it. Now I think I do?

Anyways let's discuss this ATS.


I saw those. Their word choices show bias (no kidding) and it is strictly their point of view. I want to see the laws that pertain to not being able to record a public taxi driver's meeting. They should be available online, probably on that local government's website. Let me check.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:53 PM
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How long is it going to be before it is illegal to own a camera?



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:54 PM
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reply to post by gabby2011
 





The person (leo) in this video did not use excessive force...and he politely asked a number of times.


A cop can arrest me without giving me a good reason?

All the cop said was "Give me your camera and come with me or go to jail" (I think?) he didn't say why he couldn't record the meeting at all.

Perhaps I'm miss informed on my rights...and have an ideal view of the way our laws should work.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:57 PM
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Originally posted by WeRpeons
reply to post by drew1749
 


Do you know what this meeting was about? If it was a public meeting, I think the reporter was in his rights to be able to video and record it. This is really sad that this is going on in America.

The lady was saying it wasn't the right way to act by walking out of the meeting? Nobody from that panel went up to the arresting officer and told him not to arrest the reporter. I wouldn't trust any public official who would let that happen.

Public meeting are just that, open to the public. We've had closed door school board meetings and city council meetings where I live. Closed door meetings should be illegal. These are all public servants paid with our tax dollars. The public has every right to know what kind of decisions are being made on their behalf.


ok..so where are the laws on it? and how can they arrest someone if it isn't against the law. I'm sure these officers were asked to tell this guy to stop, so I don't see them as the bad guys here. If this is a public place, and it is legal to video meetings, then someone who is in administration needs to be giving their employees a wake up call, on what are the rights of the citizens.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 10:58 PM
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You know what this whole idea of "Obey me or go to jail" idea reminds me of? The first level in a game called Half Life 2. Not sure how many of you are gamers so I'll post a video below.



City 17. It's safer here.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 11:00 PM
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reply to post by gabby2011
 





ok..so where are the laws on it? and how can they arrest someone if it isn't against the law.


The reporters said in their articles what they were arrested for.

Let me find the quotes.




Epstein and I have been charged by the Park Police with “Unlawful Entry/Remaining” and “Disorderly Conduct.” Our “crime”? Taking pictures or video.



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 11:00 PM
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OK. Found the law, in another article about this situation.


D.C. Open Meetings Act


D.C. Taxicab Commission says it banned ‘disruptive’ videotaping

"In another statement today, Reed said that the commission has indeed banned videotaping of its proceedings, explaining that the commission has ”found television cameras to be disruptive to meetings” due to factors including “the size of the Commission hearing room, the fact that cameramen must move around and place cameras in the faces of Commissioners and guests and that some attendees have demonstrated a tendency to act in a more disruptive manner when cameras are present.”

I'm sorry. Disruptive? The only disruption I saw was that in the voices of the other people in the room, who were clearly perturbed that a reported was being escorted out of the room. In a land whose sole principles include freedom of speech and freedom of the press, I have to ask who in God's name let this happen. Yea, maybe news reporters can be disruptive. So are our kids and so are your neighbors dogs. That doesn't mean it is ethical to escort a reported out simply because of the size of a camera.

What about war reporting. You don't think military journalist's or any journalist on the battlefield are disruptive to the soldiers shooting at their enemies? If reprters can be put on a battlefield, they should DEFINITELY be allowed in a public hearing.
edit on 23-6-2011 by SubPop79 because: (no reason given)

edit on 23-6-2011 by SubPop79 because: (no reason given)

edit on 23-6-2011 by SubPop79 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 11:02 PM
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Originally posted by drew1749
reply to post by Exuberant1
 


I keep telling people that we aren't America anymore. More like "America 2"

Obviously the police were insane in this video although they weren't horrible to the guy (as he was released the same day) they were really stupid even trying to arrest him.

Putting handcuffs one someone is very aggressive, so the policemen didn't act nicely.



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