Earlier today, I added three incidents to my “War on Cameras” map. Two of the incidents occurred last year. The third occurred just last month.
Below, I’ve included the full text of the additions:
Texas state trooper harasses reporter, strikes his camera
In February, 2010, Aaron Dykes, a reporter for the website Infowars.com, was filming outside the state capitol while working on a story about the Fausto Cardenas shooting.
Dykes was approached by a state trooper who ordered him to show ID. The trooper ordered Dykes to “point the camera some other direction” and struck it with his hand. Dykes asked why the officer was asking him to show ID and he responded “Suspicious person, how’s that?”
Dykes continued refusing to show ID and the officer called a supervisor to deal with the situation. While waiting, the officer used his hat to block Dykes’ camera and told Dykes that he was being detained. Dykes asked if he was suspected of a crime, but the officer ignored the question.
When the supervisor showed up, Dykes explained what happened. The supervisor quickly allowed him to leave without showing ID.
- Aaron Dykes, “‘Papers please’ for reporter at Texas capitol shooting investigation” (Jan. 22nd, 2010), Infowars.com
Philadelphia airport police and TSA agent harass man for filming four times in one day
On December 23rd, 2010, activist James Babb was filming TSA checkpoints as part of an anti-TSA protest at the Philadelphia International Airport. Two police officers and one TSA agent told Babb that he was not allowed to film. The second officer even threatened to seize Babb’s camera if Babb filmed him. In each case, Babb asserted his right to film and was eventually left alone.
In a fourth incident outside the airport, Babb filmed a police officer standing in the middle of the street for no apparent reason. The officer then pulled out a bright flashlight and shined in in Babb’s direction to interfere with the video camera. The officer continued to do this for about a minute and a half before losing interest and leaving without explanation.
Warminster, PA police officers harass reporter for filming protest, seize second videographer’s phone and laptop
On February 22, 2011, an animal rights group was protesting a “pigeon shoot” on a public sidewalk.
Minutes after the demonstration started, a police officer confronted a reporter filming and ordered him to shut off his camera. The officer accused him of violating state wiretapping law. When the reporter told the officer that wiretapping law does not make it illegal to film people in public places, the officer decided that he was merely “asking” the reporter to stop filming “just as a courtesy.”
Later, protester Steve Hindi had an angry exchange with a man in an SUV whom he said was following him. Hindi and his girlfriend decided to follow the man and take down his license plate number. The man stopped on a side street, stepped out of his car, and threatened them with a gun. The altercation was captured by Hindi on a cell phone camera.
Hindi saved the video to his laptop and brought it to the police station to show the police. The police seized both Hindi’s phone and laptop. Hindi was angry with the police and said that they should have just taken the phone. The police said they will not return any of Hindi’s property until they are done with their investigation.
- Matt Coughlin, “Protestors: man pulled gun” (Feb. 22nd, 2011), PhillyBlurbs.com