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River Cities' Reader - Issue 852 - March 20, 2014

River Cities' Reader - Issue 852 - March 20, 2014

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River Cities' Reader - Issue 852 - March 20, 2014
River Cities' Reader - Issue 852 - March 20, 2014

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Published by: River Cities Reader on Mar 21, 2014
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River Cities’ Reader 
 • Vol.
21
 No. 852 • March 20 - April 2, 2014
2
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
 
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River Cities’ Reader 
 • Vol.
21
 No. 852 • March 20 - April 2, 2014
 3
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
Continued On Page 12
Lights, Camera, Arrested: Americans Thrown in Jail for Filming Police
O
nce again, the U.S. government is attempting to police the world when it should be policing its own law-enforcement agencies. We’ve got a warship cruising the Black Sea, fighter jets patrol-ling the Baltic skies, and a guided-missile destroyer searching the South China Sea for the downed Malaysia Airlines flight. All the while, back home in the U.S., our constitu-tional rights are going to hell in a handbasket, with homeowners being threatened with eviction for attempting to live off the grid, old women jailed for feeding crows, and citi-zens armed with little more than a cell phone arrested for daring to record police activities.Robin Speronis now finds herself threatened with eviction from her own Florida home for daring to live off the grid, independent of city utilities such as water and electricity. City officials insist the Cape Coral resident’s chosen way of life violates the international property-maintenance code and city ordinances. Mary Musselman, also a Florida resident, is being held in jail without bond for “feeding wild animals.” The 81-year-old Musselman, on probation after being charged with feeding bears near her home, was arrested after officers discovered her leaving bread out for crows. Meanwhile, Brandy Berning of Florida was forced to spend a night in jail after recording her conversation with an officer who pulled her over for a routine traffic stop.Welcome to the farce that passes for law and order in America today, where crime is low, militarized police activity is on the rise, and Americans are being penalized for living off the grid, feeding wild animals, holding Bible studies in their backyard, growing  vegetables in their front yard, collecting rainwater, and filming the police.This latter point should really stick in your craw. Consider the irony: The government insists it can carry out all manner of surveillance on us – listen in on our phone calls, read our e-mails and text messages, track our movements, photograph our license plates, even enter our biometric information into DNA databases – but if we dare to return the favor, even a little, we get roughed up by the police, arrested, charged with violating various and sundry laws, and forced to make restitution.For example, George Thompson of Boston was arrested after he used his cell phone to record a police officer he describes as being “out of control.” University of Texas college student Abie Kyle Ikhinmwi was arrested after recording a police speed trap with her cell phone. Kansas teen Addison Mikkelson was arrested after filming a patrol car allegedly speeding and failing to use a turn signal.Leon Rosby was filming a police standoff in June 2013 in Hawthorne, California, his cell phone in one hand and his dog’s leash in the other, when three officers approached him. Anticipating a problem, Rosby placed his two-year-old Rottweiler, Max, in his car. The
LA Times
 reports: “As officers cuffed Rosby, the dog escaped through an open window and began to bark and lunge at officers. One officer tried to grab the dog’s leash, then drew his gun and fired four shots, killing Max. Video of the incident went viral on YouTube, prompting a public outcry and drawing protesters to the police-department headquarters.” Rosby has now filed a civil-rights lawsuit against the city and the three police officers.And then there is the Baltimore man who was threatened by police after they discovered him filming them during an arrest last month. The local CBS station ran the footage of the ensuing confrontation.“I’m allowed to do this,” the man told the officer.“Get it out of my face,” the officer replied.“I have my rights,” the man said.“You have no rights,” the officer said.But the man didn’t stop rolling and was once again aggressively approached.“Do you see the police presence here? Do you see us all? We’re not f---ing around. Do you understand? Do not disrespect us and do not not listen to us,” the officer said. “Now walk away and shut your f---ing mouth or you’re going to jail, do you understand?”After backing away, the officer came at the man a third time, appearing to grab him.“I thought I had freedom of speech here,” the man said.“You don’t. You just lost it,” the officer replied.And that, in a nutshell, is what happens when law-enforcement officials – not just the police, but every agent of the government entrusted with enforcing laws, from the
by John W. Whitehead johnw@rutherford.org
GUEST COMMENTARY 

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