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Reply to DART Police's Exoneration of Office Tolbert for attempting to prevent photography at a DART train / car incident

Reply to DART Police's Exoneration of Office Tolbert for attempting to prevent photography at a DART train / car incident

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Published by AviS.Adelman
Reply to DART Police's Exoneration of Office Tolbert for attempting to prevent photography at a DART train / car incident
Reply to DART Police's Exoneration of Office Tolbert for attempting to prevent photography at a DART train / car incident

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Published by: AviS.Adelman on Apr 11, 2014
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10/26/2014

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April 14, 2014Dallas, TexasJ. D. Spiller Chief of PoliceDART Police DepartmentP.O. Box 660163Dallas, Texas 75266-7268Copy to Gary C. Thomas President/Executive Director  Dallas Area Rapid Transit P.O. Box 660163 Dallas, Texas 75266-0163 Fax 214-749-0281Re Exoneration of DART Police of 
cer attempting to prohibit photography in public areasChief Spiller:On April 3rd, 2014, in reply to an Open Records Request, I received a copy of the Letter of Exoneration presented to Of 
cer LaToria Tolbert, DART Police Of 
cer Badge #100, by the DART Police Department upon the completion of their investigation into my complaint of March 17th, 2014.A copy of my original letters of complaint, including embedded photographs, is included on the CD disk accompanying this letter. A copy of the Letter of Exoneration is attached to this document. All photographs included in this letter are also included on the CD.After a detailed review of the Letter of Exoneration, I believe the investigating of 
cer did not conduct a proper investigation of the facts and events, reached a conclusion designed to  protect Of 
cer Tolbert before completing the investigation, and created a false description of events during the incident in order to validate that conclusion.Your investigator maliciously portrays me as a troublemaker who regularly disobeys law enforcement of 
cers. This description negatively impacts my reputation as a professional  photographer, a Dallas Police Department Volunteer in Patrol, and a member of the City of Dallas Community Emergency Response Team.Please
nd attached an outline of statements made in the Letter of Exoneration by the investigating of 
cer, followed by the true and accurate description of the facts on the ground, with photos showing same.
 
Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011)
was a case at the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that held that a private citizen has the right to record video and audio of public of 
cials in a public place, and that the arrest of the citizen for a wiretapping violation violated the citizen’s First and Fourth Amendment rights. These excerpts apply to the original DART incident and the actions of DART’s Police of 
cers.
 It is
 fi
rmly established that the First Amendment’s aegis extends further than the text’s proscription on laws “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” and encompasses a range of conduct related to the gathering and dissemination of information. As the Supreme Court has observed, “the First Amendment goes beyond protection of the press and the self-expression of individuals to prohibit government from limiting the stock of information from which members of the public may draw.” “It is . . . well established that the Constitution protects the right to receive information and ideas.”). An important corollary to this interest in protecting the stock of public information is that “[t]here is an undoubted right to gather news ‘from any source by means within the law.’The
 fi
lming of government of 
 fi
cials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police of 
 fi
cers performing their responsibilities,
 fi
ts comfortably within these principles. Gathering information about government of 
 fi
cials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in  protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.”
I am demanding a thorough and impartial review of this material by you and your administrative staff. If, upon completion of that review, you reach the same conclusion(s) as I did, then Of 
cer Tolbert should be disciplined for attempting to prevent me from taking photographs of the incident, including but not limited to the use of threatening and intimidating gestures, in violation of my First Amendment rights.The of 
cer(s) who conducted the investigation should be disciplined for conducting an unprofessional and biased investigation, and submitting a Letter of Exoneration based upon this faulty investigation.I demand a written apology for the offensive, accusatory and disparaging comments made  by the investigating of 
cer in the Letter of Exoneration, along with a written statement that clears me of any wrongdoing or unprofessional conduct during the incident.And
nally, DART and its police department must implement a policy that prevents aggressive and illegal action by DART Police Of 
cers and personnel when encountering the general public taking photographs/video of DART activities and personnel. A copy of the Baltimore, MD Police Department’s policy regarding photography by the general public is attached and included on the CD.
 
 It is the policy of the Baltimore Police Department to ensure the protection and  preservation of every person’s Constitutional rights. In furtherance of this policy, no member of the Baltimore Police Department may  prevent or prohibit any person’s ability to observe, photograph, and/or make a video recording (with or without a simultaneous audio recording) of police activity that occurs in the public domain, so long as the person’s location, actions, and/ or behavior do not create a legitimate, articulable threat to Of 
 fi
cer safety, or an unlawful hindrance to successful resolution of the police activity.
Respectfully submitted,Avi S. Adelman5620 East Side AvenueDallas, Texas 75214Telephone 214-923-3562Email Avi@AviAdelman.comcc: Mickey H. Osterreicher, Esq. General Counsel for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA)Attachments (print and CD)Letter of Complaint by Avi S. Adelman to DART Police, March 7, 2014 (with addendum)Response to Letter of Complaint by Avi S. Adelman from DART Police, March 17, 2014Letter of Exoneration, DART Police Department, March 20, 2014
Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011)
Baltimore Police Department, General Orders -
Video Recording of Police Activities
Photos embedded in this letter 

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