*The post below was sent to CopBlock.org via the submission tab by Larry Freeman. It’s posted in its entirety with minimal editing for publication.*
Date of Incident: April 24th, 2015
Individuals Involved: Unidentified U.S. Marshal
LOCATION: 1125 Chapline St, Wheeling, WV 26003
Phone: (304) 232-2980
On Friday April 24, 2014 I decided to do a First Amendment audit of the Federal Building in downtown Wheeling, WV. The Federal Building is located on the corner of 12th and Chapline street. I arrived at around 1:30 pm and began taking video footage of the building. I started at the corner of the building and did a couple still shots and pan shots, before moving directly across the street from the front entrance.
I took several shots of the glass on the building as it had some cool art on it. I moved around to the 10th street side and took more video. I then walked along the sidewalk right in front of the Federal Building and walked end to end with the camera. I saw security watching me, but they never came out to inquire as to what I was doing. To be honest, they didn’t really seem all that interested in what I was doing.
I was actually feeling pretty good about how the audit went and thought those security guys had their shit together by recognizing that I was doing NOTHING ILLEGAL. I decided to walk down Chapline St. to the Ohio County Courthouse/Wheeling Police Department and do the same audit. Within minutes of arriving for the second audit, I was approached by a US Marshal that would only identify himself as a Marshal and only flashed a badge and no id.
You will see from the footage that he was professional and courteous in his interaction with me. He also replied that my walking around the Federal Building and taking video was not illegal. My problem with the interaction is that it should never have taken place to begin with. His refusal to give me his name was counter productive on his part. Had he provided his name, I may have been more inclined to have a more voluntary interaction with him.
After he refused to give me his name, I simply asked if I was being detained. He said, “You are not.” So I bid him a good day and he walked away. He walked across the street to the PD to tell them I was outside recording. When he came back out I told him to look at YouTube if he wanted to see what the video was about. I then followed him back down the street to the Federal Building where he jay walked for the second time after our interaction. As a big F you, I walked right back to the front of the Federal Building and shot some more video just for spite.
Contact US Marshal Gary Gaskins at the Northern District office and ask about their policy of marshals identifying themselves. Ask why they would bother someone videotaping a building when the same footage is readily available from google maps and google street view.
Northern District of West Virginia (N/WV)
U.S. Marshal: Gary M. Gaskins
500 W. Pike Street
P.O. Box 2807
Clarksburg, WV 26302
– Larry Freeman