War on Drugs

Concord Cop Threatens Camera-Wielding Lemonade Stand Operator With Wiretapping Charges


A Concord man giving away lemonade at a farmer's market was threatened with wiretapping charges last Saturday when he refused to stop filming a police officer and a fellow vendor. Garret Ean didn't have a permit to sell lemonade, which drew the ire of the president of the Concord Farmer's Market. Ean filmed the confrontation, and continued to film when a Concord cop showed up and threatened to arrest him for wiretapping. Photojournalist Carlos Miller (who we interviewed for the November issue of Reason about the war on photography) has the story

The man, whom Ean identified as Steve Blasdell, ordered Ean to turn off the camera.

Ean instead engaged him in a debate about what constitutes vending.

At 2:48, Blasdell shut down Ean's camera, but Ean turns it right back on.

That was when Ean turned from lemonade activist into  photography rights activist, claiming he was now "a member of the press."

And that was when Blasdell tried to grab the camera from him after first trying to grab his cooler of lemonade.

The two men squared off with Ean accusing him of assault while Blasdell said it was not assault because he was only trying to swipe the camera without touching any part of his body.

 Blasdell then ran off to call police while Ean announced he is giving away "free lemonade."

Police arrived ten minutes later and wrongly told Ean he is violating the state's wiretapping law by recording them on a public sidewalk.

Ean offered to show him the actual law, which he has printed on a little card, but the cop refuses, saying he already familiar with the law.

But then he again threatens to arrest him on wiretapping charges if anybody else on the street complains

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