[imc-rochester] more info on videotapes
knight0440 at yahoo.com
knight0440 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 24 09:58:23 PDT 2009
Jerry is a lawyer in Chicago and has worked with the national lawyers guild on numerous occasions.
I don't know of any statute which forbids videotaping anything which you can see in public. There would be constitutional problems with any such statute.
But, as we both know, the constitution matters little to cops on the street.
Realize that a camera is a weapon, and inherently confrontational when used politically. We don't like Big Brother watching us. Big Brother likes it even less when we watch back.
The silver lining of the surveillance culture we are living in is that it is beginning to reveal that the cops routinely violate the most basic law of all -- the constitution.
Use of cameras is sort of like that naked activist group I belonged to. It's a very powerful tactic but, unless you want to get arrested, you have to use it very deliberately, with much forethought and calculation. Anticipate their resistance, and neutralize it. Here's an example:
Some years ago, the feds grabbed Sean Adams (brother of Gerry -- this was before either of them were allowed to enter U.S.) just as he was heading to give a speech to some activists. There was a demonstration at the fed lock-up. I dressed like the FBI agents used to dress in the 60s -- jacket, tie, dark glasses, camera. When I arrived, the protesters were on the sidewalk. The Feds (from multiple agencies) were on the steps, watching. I said nothing to anyone, and just walked up and started taking close-up photos of the feds. They were confused at first. Then, some of the protesters greeted me ('though I did not respond.) I could practically read the minds of the feds -- "Oh, this guy's with them. But they're terrorists! What's he going to do with these photos? I have a family. . . ." Within five minutes, I cleared the steps. I pinned them inside the building -- one guy had somewhere to go but, every time he stuck his head out the door, I pointed my
camera at him, and he withdrew.
Every aspect of that action was very carefully thought out, so it would work, and so I wouldn't get busted. There was one aspect I didn't fully appreciate until afterwards, when I caught a cab to go home, and the driver told me: "I almost didn't want to pick you up. You look like a hit man." Personal appearance and dress are powerful weapons.
You can outsmart them, if you use your smarts. The possibilities are limited only by your own creativity, which is considerable.
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