While the First Amendment guarantees free speech to everyone inside the United States, that right has been increasingly compromised in recent years, as we have witnessed firsthand in our journalistic endeavors.
Nowhere has this trend become more apparent than in the case of people attempting to document the actions of officialdom, particularly in those case of those empowered to use deadly force on behalf of the state.
We experienced firsthand that use of force when working here in Berkeley as a reporter for the local print newspaper, as we reported 18 June 2008:
This Berkeley Daily Planet reporter was threatened with arrest after he questioned an officer’s order to leave the rim of the stadium, the only place where activities of the officers could be monitored.
As the reporter was leaving, he was shoved in the back by a university officer and would have fallen down the concrete stairs had not he been grabbed by Doug Buckwald, one of the long-time supporters of the tree-sit.
Officer C. Chichester, badge 36, told this reporter, who was carrying valuable camera gear, that if he were arrested, “Who knows what would happen to your camera equipment when you’re in jail?”
The stadium rim was the only place from which a journalist could have a view of the events unfolding in the grove below. It was from the rim that the reporter saw one of the cranes brush a support line, from which a tree-sitter was suspended between two evergreens at least 50 feet apart.
Millipede, the treesitters suspended from the line, screamed in terror. She was the same tree-sitter arrested hours later. University spokesperson Dan Mogulof said she had bitten one of the workers.
Zachary Running Wolf, the first of the tree-sitters, said she and other protesters had been terrified when the arborists placed a saw next to the lines from which the tree-sitters were suspended between the trees.
We’ve posted repeatedly about the ongoing law enforcement efforts to supress the power of the lens, indelibly demonstrated by the Rodney King beating video, so powerful that after officers involved were acquitted, Los Angeles erupted in flames.
We’ve followed Photography is Not a Crime for several years, a website devoted to covering confrontations between law enforcement and photographers, both amateur and professional. And so it was with considerable interest we discovered this video report from WeAreChange:
The Amazing Accidental Start of Photography Is Not A Crime!
In this video Luke Rudkowski of WeAreChange sits down with the one and only epic story teller Carlos Miller from Photography Is Not A Crime (PINAC). Carlos recounts a story in which he was assaulted simply for taking pictures. WeAreChange learns more about what inspired Carlos to create PINAC and the subsequent evolution of the blog. Film power tripping Police officers & know your rights Learn more about PINAC @ http://photographyisnotacrime.com