Think of the cell phone as unleashing a million Rodney King videos.
As citizens grab their cell phones to make YouTube-ready copies of bureaucrats’ unconstitutional imposition of force, the bureaucrats are going on the defensive.
There is a kind of cold war going on. Every time the bureaucrats impose new restrictions on cell phones, cell phone users escalate.
In Austin, Texas, there is an organization known as Peaceful Streets. It advocates the use of cell phone videos to place limits on local police.
The police have imposed a 50-foot barrier on anyone taking a video of a police officer.
The problem is telephoto lenses and software. The police do not have a solution to it yet.
Following the third arrest this year of Peaceful Streets Project founder Antonio Buehler for legally filming police activity Friday, Sept. 21st, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has issued a statement calling the Austin Police Department’s policy on “interference with public duties” unconstitutional. The policy was issued August 28, immediately following Buehler’s second arrest.
On Monday, Sept. 24th, NPPA General Counsel Mickey Osterreicher wrote a letter to Austin Chief of Police Art Acevedo on this matter.
“Aside from being overly broad and vague the APD policy leaves far too much to the discretion of its officers, whereby they can construe almost anything as ‘interference,’” said Osterreicher in the statement. “Under these rules officers are free to create a chilling effect upon far more speech (photography/recording is deemed a form of speech for First Amendment protections) than is necessary to achieve a substantial government interest—that being actual interference with a police officer in the execution of his duties—and would thus be held to be unconstitutional.”
Buehler and Peaceful Streets volunteer Sarah Dickerson were arrested early Friday morning while videotaping a DUI stop in progress on West 6th Street and charged with interference with public duties. They were approximately 30 feet away from the officers and suspect when Officer Patrick Oborski, who arrested Buehler last New Year’s in the controversial incident that spearheaded the Peaceful Streets Project, shined a light in Buehler’s face and yelled at him to back up. Both Buehler and Dickerson moved backwards while Buehler repeatedly asked “how far?” receiving no reply. Sgt. Adam Johnson then illogically ordered them to walk to the rear of the parked police cars, meaning they would have to walk toward Oborski and the suspect rather than away from them. Buehler and Dickerson continued moving backwards while Buehler asked for clarification on where they could stand, until they were approximately 90 feet away from the suspect. Johnson told them to join the Peaceful Streets volunteers standing on the other side of Oborski and the suspect or leave, to which Buehler replied they were leaving when Johnson arrested both Buehler and Dickerson.
Technology tends to decentralize power. As it gets cheaper, more people can afford it.
Bureaucrats fear pubic exposure. A YouTube video that goes viral is a terror to bureaucrats.
A smart phone is the Saturday night special for people who resist bureaucrats.