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DEATH OF AMERICA - 'Why I Was Arrested At A Public Commission Meeting In Washington D.C.' (SHOCK VIDEO)

Jefferson, I think we're lost...

All you need to watch is the first 90 seconds of this clip.  Details and more video inside.


Reason.tv 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 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.


Reason TV - The government's war on cameras...

Who will watch the watchers? In a world of ubiquitous, hand-held digital cameras, that's not an abstract philosophical question. Police everywhere are cracking down on citizens using cameras to capture breaking news and law enforcement in action.

In 2009, police arrested blogger and freelance photographer Antonio Musumeci on the steps of a New York federal courthouse. His alleged crime? Unauthorized photography on federal property.

Police cuffed and arrested Musumeci, ultimately issuing him a citation. With the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union, he forced a settlement in which the federal government agreed to issue a memo acknowledging that it is totally legal to film or photograph on federal property. 

Although the legal right to film on federal property now seems to be firmly established, many other questions about public photography still remain and place journalists and citizens in harm's way. Can you record a police encounter? Can you film on city or state property? What are a photographer's rights in so-called public spaces?

These questions will remain unanswered until a case reaches the Supreme Court, says UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh, founder of the popular law blog The Volokh Conspiracy. Until then, it's up to people to know their rights and test the limits of free speech, even at the risk of harassment and arrest.

Who will watch the watchers? All of us, it turns out, but only if we're willing to fight for our rights.

Produced by Hawk Jensen and Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Jim Epstein and Jensen. About 7.30 minutes.

Go to http://reason.com/blog/2011/05/26/reasontv-the-governments-war for links and more articles, including Reason magazine's January 2011 cover story, "The War on Cameras" and the companion piece "How to Record the Cops."



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Reader Comments (5)

Very disturbing to say the least. This comes off the heals of another story in which a person was arrested for filming someone getting a citation while standing on her front yard.
Jun 24, 2011 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterCris Ronk
Hey Cris,

It seems that it a common thing these days. I find it quite disturbing indeed. It is only a matter of time of what we write now before we are arrested. Scary time indeed. I support Ron Paul limited government. Government is way out of line these days. Power corrupts absolutely.
Jun 24, 2011 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered Commentersmither
The reporter was arrested for tapeing the meeting. What is odd is the whole arrest was taped and what went on after it happened. Why wasn't the other fellow arrested also????

Another vote for the tards in blue.
Jun 24, 2011 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterInurface
There isn't a public meeting in place that isn't infiltrated by undercover informants. Photos of any kind are a no no as they can be compared with other photos and easily identify informants that are often times playing the role of activists or agent provocateurs. This is especially true in meetings of ordinary citizens who might have some cause they want to bring attention to.
Jun 25, 2011 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterphotosidentifyplants
If they're not doing anything wrong why do they mind being taped? These sheep will grumble but let the perps get away with thatever they want. At some point, the sheep take a stand- or they get sheared. I fear our neutered, passive stupid dunces will go to the slaughter thinking that a few bah bahs will change things. Only thing to stop this horseshit is RESISTANCE.
Jun 25, 2011 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterios

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