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Reason.tv's Jim Epstein Talks to Judge Napolitano About Being Arrested for Filming a Public Meeting

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Yesterday, June 23, on Judge Andrew Napolitano's Freedom Watch program, Reason.tv producer Jim Epstein talked about the experience of being arrested for filming a portion of a public meeting in Washington, D.C.:

Meanwhile, the Washington Post today published a withering editorial about the incident. Excerpt:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray's administration has organized an "Executive Media Skills Seminar" for the city's agency heads and senior staff. The goal for Friday's event is to "build effective working relationships between reporters and government agency directors." Here's a tip: Try not to arrest people who are covering a public meeting.

More reporting from the Daily Caller. Local news station WTOP has discovered that the incident hasn't exactly led to a new spirit of openness:

In an effort to get an explanation about the incident, WTOP's Mark Segraves went to the commission office Friday and was thrown out by security. The door to the office was subsequently locked, and the lights turned off—leaving the entire cab commission office in the dark.

Charming. On his Twitter feed, however, WTOP's Segraves is reporting more welcome news:

DC City Administrator Allen Lew says the AG has decided not to pursue any charges against reporters arrested by Park Police at taxi meeting.

We'll share more as we hear it.

NEXT: No Cigars in Cigar City

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  1. They locked the doors and turned out the lights….

    HA! Ha! I say that is just too deliscious.

    Quick call SWAT! It’s obviously a hostage situation!

    1. Denial of service?
      If enough reporters are sent, they won’t be able to do any work.

      1. But if the taxi commission cant work…

        I actually cant think of any thing bad that would happen..

  2. Can we apply “We had to bomb the city in order to save it” to D.C.?

    1. I think D.C. is more of an “it’s the only way to be sure” situation.

  3. FUCKING REPORTERS! Respect the nice officer’s authoritah.

  4. I think if the police arrest you and then don’t charge you with anything you should get money for it. Preferably from the salary of the arresting officer. I guess police would simply use that as an excuse to charge everyone they bring in with something even when they shouldn’t, but this is getting ridiculous.

    1. Maybe you should think before you type.

    2. What is the basis for arresting you if they have nothing to charge you with? How can they even justify arresting you and then not charging you?

      “Uh…we arrested you because, uh, well, we felt like it”

      1. “Uh…we arrested you because, uh, well, we felt like it”

        Disorderly conduct is a good, all-purpose, “because-we-felt-like-it” charge.

        1. That’s less surreal than being arrested for resisting arrest.

  5. DC City Administrator Allen Lew says the AG has decided not to pursue any charges against reporters arrested by Park Police at taxi meeting.

    That’s mighty white of ’em.

    1. Damn! I was going to say that!

  6. DC City Administrator Allen Lew says the AG has decided not to pursue any charges against reporters arrested by Park Police at taxi meeting.

    Is the AG going to pursue charges against the officers who acted criminally?

    This is ridiculous.

    1. Outlook not good.

    2. It’s always popular in these parts to blame the cops, but they were acting under the direction of the Commissioners present, weren’t they? Are cops supposed to be Constitutionalists? Should they have cited a Supreme Court ruling or two and declined to do as they were asked by the Commissioners? Do the Park Police have that discretion? Or are they bound to follow orders from their superiors (if indeed the Commissioners have authority over them)?

      1. “Should they have cited a Supreme Court ruling or two and declined to do as they were asked by the Commissioners?”

        If they can’t cite the laws in which their sole existence is to enforce, then absolutely.

        “Do the Park Police have that discretion? Or are they bound to follow orders from their superiors (if indeed the Commissioners have authority over them)?”

        If they’re too stupid to figure out unlawful orders, then they’re in the long line of work.

        Nuremburg, Hitler, Godwin, blah blah blah..

        1. Seems to me that you don’t blame the messenger. The Commissioners are at fault here, not their subordinates.

          1. Not that being charged (then released uncharged) is not akin to Nazi attrocities.

          2. The Commissioners are not their superiors any way. Sure they fear the political retribution that would come their way if the Commissioners called their actual superiors but that is not an excuse. Ultimately we the people are their employers and they could have and should have refused to arrest people unlawfully.

      2. It’s always popular in these parts to blame the cops, but they were acting under the direction of the Commissioners present, weren’t they? Are cops supposed to be Constitutionalists?

        They should know the law. Because I hear-a-tell ignorance of the law is no excuse.

      3. You know who else liked to use a Superior Orders defense?

      4. Look, a crime was committed. Either the cop is guilty, or the commissioner. And I doubt the commissioners have authority, in which case the situation would be no different from any random asshole coming up to a cop and demanding that they arrest someone for a non-criminal act. The cop says “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”, The End.

        1. Either the cop is guilty, or the commissioner.

          These are not mutually exclusive options.

          -jcr

      5. Are the DC taxi cab commissioners “Constitutionalists” ? Which of those people would you expect to understand basic rules about what you can and cannot arrest people for?

      6. if indeed the Commissioners have authority over them

        Why, no, they don’t. Reading comprehension fail.

        DC Taxicab Commission is an arm of a municipal government entity; the US Park Police are federal cops.

      7. Or are they bound to follow orders from their superiors (if indeed the Commissioners have authority over them)?

        No, they are not bound to violate someone’s civil rights or execute illegal orders. No. Duh.

        It doesn’t help your argument that we’re talking about taxi commissioners, of course.

    3. The only just outcome would be jail for the officers (and any responsible supervisors) for kidnapping (and whatever other crimes) as well as monetary damages awarded to the victims. Two innocent citizens were terrorized and held hostage for many hours – that is a terrible crime. I hope Reason does a follow up on the outcome of this case. Will there be any justice? Will the criminals face appropriate punishment? Will the victims be compensated?

      Without such an outcome, police and prosecutors have carte blanche to terrorize and unlawfully incarcerate innocents. Unfortunately, that appears to be the current state of affairs.

      I’m also puzzled by the mainstream media’s complete disregard for such stories. Without greater media coverage, we will never have any reasonable reform of our unjust justice system. One immediate reform should be the abolition of “absolute immunity” for prosecutors – nobody should be above the law.

  7. Has that reporter filed charges against the pig who violated his first amendment rights under color of authority?

    -jcr

    1. Time to shove 42 USC 1983 right up someones ass.

  8. “I can arrest you for not following an order”

    I didn’t realize local police can give “orders” to private citizens.

  9. Their liberty was violated, will they turn the tables?

    1. I turned the table last night, but only because the gravy was at the other end and I didn’t feel like getting up to get it.

      1. lol, Congrats, you finally made me laugh

  10. The door to the office was subsequently locked, and the lights turned off — leaving the entire cab commission office in the dark.

    The system works!

    Now, how do we apply this to the rest of the gubmint?

  11. Anyone who’s ever had to deal with the bureaucracy in DC in something as simple as paying a traffic ticket knows what a bunch of assholes there are running that city.

    1. I was stunned, when I moved from DC to NoVA, that I could conduct all my DMV business (license, car registration, payment, etc.) at one window. In DC you had to wait in a separate line for each individual transaction. And getting a “safety inspection” on a car in DC is an exercise in danger and futility.

  12. DC City Administrator Allen Lew says the AG has decided not to pursue any charges against reporters arrested by Park Police at taxi meeting.

    The AG may, however, be considering pursuing charges against the employers of reporters arrested by Park Police at the taxi meeting.

  13. DC City Administrator Allen Lew says the AG has decided not to pursue any charges against reporters arrested by Park Police at taxi meeting.

    In other news the mafia has decided they won’t burn down your business, provided you stay in line in the future.

  14. It is quite clear that there were large numbers, it seems to me a majority, of the audience protesting the arrest. They should be the Committee and the present knotheads running the show should be in jail awaiting trial.

  15. Thank you Mr. Epstein. Your arrest has inspired me to go to a public meeting in a nearby city on Tuesday night with a video camera. Pennsylvania law explicitly permits video recording, and I am greatly looking forward to calmly, kindly explaining the law if I am approached.

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