Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The D.C. Park Police Violate the First Amendment

"Why I Was Arrested at a D.C. Taxi Commission Meeting"

Here's Producer Jim Epstein's account of what happened:

"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 half-an-hour 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 iphone.

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 blond female 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. I was released at about 4PM."

Read more here and here (letter from legal counsel for Jim Epstein and Reason).   


At 7/06/2011 6:09 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

From the legal counsel (Davis, Wright, Tremaine)letter to the local and federal authorities:

"The arrest and detention of journalists for reporting and documenting the meeting of a public body plainly violates the first amendment of the United States Constitution as well as Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments."

Yep, and the those taxi medallions must be a motherload of big money to violate basic rights, to ensure medallions become policy by suppressing public knowledge.

The taxi commission needs to take taxis to visit, read and try and understand the Consitution, located nearby on the DC Mall.

At 7/06/2011 8:33 PM, Blogger Robert Kafarski said...

The Police State creeps softly upon us....

At 7/06/2011 8:53 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The taxi commission needs to take taxis to visit, read and try and understand the Consitution, located nearby on the DC Mall."

...or maybe they could just ask to borrow the pocket copies the journalists are reading from as they explain their rights.

The understanding part might be a lot harder.

At 7/07/2011 6:58 AM, Blogger Frozen in the North said...

MY favorite remains the arrest of people caught talking picture of Amtrack trains in NY a few years ago, turns out that this was a contest organized by Amtrack.

So as a train buff, you receive notification of a contest by Amtrack for the best train picture, and then you get arrested, your camera confiscated (probably placed on a terrorist watch list) just because Amtrack decided to have a photo contest.

Admit it America, you destroyed the USSR, and recreated it at home!

At 7/07/2011 7:28 AM, Blogger Free Truman said...

The police behavior is outrageous and disturbing. They violated your rights and we deserve an explanation, but calling them "gestapo" is offensive hyperbole. At any point, did you feel your life was in danger, and they might have tortured and executed you?

At 7/07/2011 9:25 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Police state.

At 7/07/2011 5:46 PM, Blogger bix1951 said...

This shows why we must be in Africa defending the oppressed people there and working for human rights!


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