Image result for Federal Court Rules Citizens Have No Right to Film Politicians & Police in PublicContradicting the rulings of six other federal courts, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals annihilated free speech rights in upholding a district court decision stating citizens do not have the right to film public officials — politicians, police, and others — in public.

In affirming the decision of the lower court to dismiss, the Eighth Circuit effectively ended free speech activist Matthew Akins’ challenge to the Columbia, Missouri, Police Department, which he accuses of unlawfully stopping and arresting him on multiple occasions — though nearly all charges were later dropped — as he filmed their encounters with the public, in public.

Akins says the spate of arrests and harassment from law enforcement is brazen retaliation for the nature of his activist work — filming officers on the job.

As a journalist and founder of Citizens for Justice in 2011, a group committed to monitoring police for accountability purposes, Akins frequently stopped to record officers’ interactions with the general public — a tactic employed by a plethora of civilian impartial observation groups to stem an epidemic of police violence and veritable impunity in courts, so common to law enforcement officers who misbehave.

Judge Nanette Laughrey penned in the stunning decision Columbia Police officers indeed had probable cause to arrest Akins each time, and — again, contrary to previous rulings from six circuit courts —that “he has no constitutional right to videotape any public proceeding he wishes to.”

Attorney Stephen Wyse already filed an appeal on Wednesday for the court to rehear the case — originally filed against Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight, two former Boone County assistant prosecuting attorneys, and several members of the Columbia Police Department — as he contended unequivocally, prior,

“You can’t target journalists because you don’t like their reporting.”

ABC affiliate KMIZ reports,

“Wyse took issue with Laughrey’s decision to stay on the case, despite his request she recuse herself. Laughrey’s husband, Chris Kelly, was the head of a city task force on infrastructure, which could have skewed her decisions in a case against the city, Wyse claimed. While federal law does call for a judge’s recusal, the appeals court said nothing in Akins’ case rose to the level of bias or prejudice against his case.”

While the topic of filming the police — of particular interest to law enforcement accountability activists, First Amendment advocates, and others concerned for decaying free speech rights — appeared in federal court before, Laughrey’s ruling goes against precedence established by the First, Third, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits, which decided the Constitution guarantees the right to film public officials in public settings, as long as recording does not interfere.

In fact, Judge Thomas Ambro wrote the decision for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in a similar casecomprised of separate instances in which Philadelphia law enforcement actively thwarted the efforts of two citizens, Amanda Geraci and Richard Fields, to film arrests. Both sued for violations of their civil rights, and — like many other litigants — won.

“The First Amendment protects the public’s right of access to information about their officials’ public activities,” Ambro clarified, adding that access “is particularly important because it leads to citizen discourse” on public and private issues — an exalted exercise of that preeminent protection. The government, ruled the judge, is prohibited constitutionally from “limiting the stock of information from which members of the public may draw.”

American law enforcement, on the whole, has not responded hat graciously to civilians whipping out cell phones and video cameras to record encounters in public — though filming police can indeed provide additional pictorial and audio evidence in the event of contention or disputation.

“Bystander videos provide different perspectives than police and dashboard cameras, portraying circumstances and surroundings that police videos often do not capture,” Ambro continued“Civilian video also fills the gaps created when police choose not to record video or withhold their footage from the public.”

Laughrey, however, broke ranks in a manner which could portend a precarious existence of certain First Amendment rights — rights which had previously been assumed by the public and averred in peer courts. States comprising the Eighth Circuit are Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota.

“The First Amendment is a core American value,” Wyse asserted in a press statement following the decision’s astonishing departure from precedent. “The right to free speech and a free press are central to our liberty and our ability to hold our government accountable. This holding of the 8th Circuit undermines the basic rights of Missourians and the citizens of the six other 8th Circuit states and undermines the First Amendment rights for all Americans.”

Reports indicate Akins — barring an unlikely rehearing in the Eighth Circuit Court — may indeed appeal his case to the Supreme Court. Because multiple federal judges have upheld the right to film police and public officials as a constitutionally-protected activity on multiple occasions, the ramifications of Laughrey’s ruling may not be as far-reaching and detrimental as appears now — but the ultimate litmus test seems inevitably poised for SCOTUS.

In the meantime, irascible law enforcement officers keen to prevent civilians from filming their activities would do well to remember two crucial points: recording public officials keeps them responsible and accountable for their actions — but can also protect them in situations of disputing claims. After all, raw video recordings — not police, officials, or citizens — have no need of mendacity and duplicity.

“We ask much of our police,” Ambro wrote in the July decision. “They can be our shelter from the storm. Yet officers are public officials carrying out public functions, and the First Amendment requires them to bear bystanders recording their actions. This is vital to promote the access that fosters free discussion of governmental actions, especially when that discussion benefits not only citizens but the officers themselves.”

Laughrey, unfortunately, did not agree — and now the public has yet another constitutionally-protected right left dangling by a fraying thread.

http://www.dcclothesline.com/2017/08/11/federal-court-rules-citizen...

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stating citizens do not have the right to film public officials — politicians, police, and others — in public.

well that would mean that red light cameras, surveillance cameras monitoring public areas such as sidewalks and the likes would not be legal either.    ...unless of course public officials have a special status and associated rights that we mere subjects don't have.

BINGO....    You hit the nail on the head:  "public officials have a special status and associated rights that we mere subjects don't have"

ID# 16356 - Bingo Ball Color Winner - PowerPoint Animation

Can anyone say New Age Aristocracy... King George is BACK... and he is using his judges and legislators too shackle us all in bondage to his causes... PC and a new world order.

Col. Nelson

I believe you are absolutely 100% correct. So if we know this bondage is by design do we resist and if so, how?
I do believe that any resistance first has to be peaceful and those means can be town hall meeting, writing letters to our US Representatives, peaceful protest and if that doesn't work consider stepping it up a notch. I will say this only directed at myself, I don't feel I'm doing enough and does anyone feel like me. I also feel like many won't say how they really feel out of fear they may be targeted. If we do not exercise our constitutional rights as free men and women we will lose them.

The politicians have their own set of laws , that protect them from us.

You are right, as long as you are not interfering with officer performance of their duties (obstruction of Justice) you can in fact film. This judge is a piece of shit and I will stand by that. He can kiss the moon God's ass if he likes.
Furthermore this judge can insight me, I say, this judge should be removed for obstruction of our Constitutional rights. I am sick off these communist, war is what they need. Revolution!
This garbage has went far enough, far enough.

Congress has failed in its duty to remove such Judges from the Bench... on their FIRST OFFENSE. America has a very serious problem with its Law Schools and its Officers of the Court (legal profession in general)... They all need to be disbarred and America needs to reboot its Judicial System...  By retraining its attorneys, using untainted Law Schools and professors (if you can find any).

The existing Law Schools and Universities are overt centers of liberal ideology... teaching Judicial Activism and rule by Judicial Fiat.  Our current batch of legal professionals are compromised and completely tainted by their liberal education and activist law schools... America must ban them all from her Court Rooms, and let God sort out the good from the bad... Congress certainly can't and won't.

Your right but Congress won't because our senators, representatives and many of the bureaucrats are graduates of these same Constitutionally destructive law schools.

Be careful for what you ask... the communist want a war... it is their goal to create the conditions in society that  will bring about revolution.  It is their doctrine and we must make sure we don't fall into a trap... by prematurely engaging in civil war/revolution.

Civil war should be last resort, but this is legally a Constitutional Republic that has suffered decline for many reasons, we should make steady progress in reversing the damage by these parasitic communist thieves. If no progress is being made we should demonstrate, protest our grievances and step up a notch if no progress is met. No compromise with our rights. I fear no honorable honest politicans exist. I can't imagine giving our country away and being stuck in the back side by heathenistic NWO. I would rather die on my feet. I will not bow my knee to any man only the Lord God will get my knee.

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ALERT ALERT

Newt Says What The Rest Of Us Are Thinking:
It’s Time To Throw Peter Strzok In Jail

Disgraced FBI special agent Peter Strzok, a senior member of the bureau who gained notoriety in recent months over his anti-Trump text messages to a colleague, was grilled for nearly 10 hours during a joint congressional committee hearing on Thursday.

At issue was Strzok’s anti-Trump texts to former FBI lawyer and lover Lisa Page that coincided with his leading of the investigations into both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server scandal and the alleged Trump/Russia 2016 election collusion, as well as his involvement in the subsequent Robert Mueller special counsel probe.

The hearing proved to be a heated battle, as Strzok displayed an arrogant smugness in defiance of pointed questions from Republicans that he largely danced around, while Democrats sought to upend and undermine the entire hearing with a plethora of interruptions, parliamentary maneuvers and outright praise for the man who helped let Clinton off the hook while ferociously targeting Trump.

Former House speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was less than impressed with Strzok’s performance and cooperation in the hearing and suggested during an appearance on Fox Business that the FBI agent should be held in contempt of Congress.

“I think they have to move to hold him in contempt and throw him in jail,” Gingrich said of Congress and Strzok.

“This is a person who is willfully standing up and refusing to appear as a congressional witness and he was a government employee at the time,” he continued.

“He has every obligation to inform the legislative branch, and I don’t think they have any choice except to move a motion of contempt because he is fundamentally — and so is his girlfriend (Page) — they’re both fundamentally in violation of the entire constitutional process,” he added.

Page had been subpoenaed to appear before Congress on Wednesday but refused to appear, saying she’d been unable to review relevant documents prior to the scheduled hearing, a closed-door hearing that has since been rescheduled for Friday.

Gingrich was not the only one who thought Strzok deserved to be held in contempt of Congress, as House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte informed Strzok that he remained at risk of such during the hearing, according to The Daily Caller.

That warning from Goodlatte came after Strzok had refused to answer a straightforward question posed by House Oversight Committee chairman Trey Gowdy, regarding how many people Strzok had personally interviewed between a specific set of dates in relation to the Clinton email investigation.

“Mr. Strzok, please be advised that you can either comply with the committee’s direction to answer the question or refuse to do so,” Goodlatte stated. “The latter of which will place you in risk of a contempt citation and potential criminal liability. Do you understand that? The question is directed to the witness.”

Strzok still refused to answer, citing instructions received from his counsel and the FBI to not answer certain questions on certain topics.

Goodlatte replied, “Mr. Strzok, in a moment we will continue with the hearing, but based on your refusal to answer the question, at the conclusion of the day we will be recessing the hearing and you will be subject to recall to allow the committee to consider proceeding with a contempt citation.”

It is unclear if Goodlatte and the committee ultimately did consider a contempt citation for Strzok following the contentious hearing, nor is it clear if Page will be held in contempt for blowing off her subpoenaed appearance on Wednesday.

Hopefully Congress will follow through on the threats of contempt followed by actual jail time against Strzok and Page in response to their uncooperative behavior and failure to appear when subpoenaed, if only to ensure that future witnesses called before Congress for sensitive or contentious hearings don’t think they can get away with the same sort of behavior.

TEA PARTY TARGET

Cops Sent To Seize Veteran’s Guns Without A Warrant, He Refused To Turn Them Over

“No one from the state was going to take my firearms without due process,” says Leonard Cottrell, after successfully staving off law enforcement and the courts from confiscating his firearms. Cottrell, an Iraq War veteran, was at work when he received a phone call from his wife. The cops were there, busting in to take his guns away. It all started after a casual conversation his son had at school.

Ammoland reports:

Police said their visit was sparked by a conversation that Leonard Cottrell Jr.’s 13-year-old son had had with another student at the school. Cottrell said he was told his son and the other student were discussing security being lax and what they would have to do to escape a school shooting at Millstone Middle School.

The conversation was overheard by another student, who went home and told his parents, and his mother panicked. The mom then contacted the school, which contacted the State Police, according to Cottrell.

The visit from the troopers came around 10 p.m. on June 14, 2018, Cottrell said, a day after Gov. Phil Murphy signed several gun enforcement bills into law.

After several hours, Cottrell said police agreed not to take the guns but to allow him to move them to another location while the investigation continued.

“They had admitted several times that my son made no threat to himself or other students or the school or anything like that,” he said.

Cottrell said he made it very clear to the police that he was “not going to willingly give up my constitutional rights where there’s no justifiable cause, no warrants, no nothing.”

The troopers searched his son’s room and found nothing, Cottrell said.

“To appease everybody, I had my firearms stored someplace else,” he said. “That way, during the course of the investigation, my son doesn’t have access to them and it’s on neutral ground and everything and everybody’s happy.”

“In the Garden State, the usual approach is to confiscate first and ask questions later, and victims of this approach often don’t know their rights. ‎In this case, the victim pushed back and confiscation was avoided — but the circumstances surrounding the incident are outrageous. A student expressing concern over lack of security is not a reason to send police to the student’s home — but it might be a reason to send police to the school to keep students and teachers safe” said Scott L. Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs and a member of the NRA board of directors.

NJ.com adds:

Cottrell, a disabled U.S. Army veteran who served three tours during “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” owns a shotgun and a pistol. He has all the correct permits to own the firearms, he said, and predominately uses the shotgun to hunt.

He said his wife allowed the officers to enter the home, and with her permission, they searched his son’s room — but they did not find any weapons, he said. The officers, he said, didn’t have a warrant but still wanted to take his guns. Cottrell wouldn’t let them.

“No one from the state was going to take my firearms without due process,” he said Thursday.

He said the attempted seizure resulted because of a new law Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law that makes it easier for police to confiscate guns when someone in the state poses a threat to themselves or others. The law is part of a broader statewide effort to make New Jersey’s gun laws even tougher amid the national outcry for more gun control in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Cottrell said the officers “danced around the issue” when he confronted them about the new law.

A New Jersey State Police spokesman declined to answer questions about whether this incident had anything to do with the new gun laws.

In an email, Sgt. First Class Jeff Flynn said, “Troopers responded to Mr. Cottrell’s residence in reference to the report of a possible school threat. Based on their investigation, it was determined that Mr. Cottrell’s weapons did not need to be seized.”

David Codrea, writing for Ammoland, further added:

To appease everybody, I had my firearms stored someplace else,” New Jersey gun owner and Army veteran Leonard Cottrell Jr. told New Jersey 101.5 after a June 14 visit from State Police,. “That way, during the course of the investigation, my son doesn’t have access to them and it’s on neutral ground and everything and everybody’s happy.”

Cottrell was recalling state troopers showing up at his door to confiscate firearms after his 13-year-old son was overheard discussing lax school safety with a friend.

Indoctrinated by a pervasive snitch culture — one that never seems to deter the blatantly obvious demonic nutjobs — the eavesdropping student told his parents, who told school administrators, who in turn called the cops. (Note “If you see something, say something” carries risks of its own – if you report the wrong person, you could end up smeared as a “hater.”)

“Cottrell said he made it very clear to the police that he was ‘not going to willingly give up my constitutional rights where there’s no justifiable cause, no warrants, no nothing,’” the report continued. Despite that, his home is now a “gun free zone” and that has been publicized by the media. He has, in fact, willingly ceded those rights, and by his own words in order to make authorities “happy.”

Before judging him for that, consider the environment that is New Jersey. Then consider the overwhelming force the state can bring to bear, and its predisposition to using it, especially if it’s to enforce citizen disarmament. It’s easy to anonymously declare “Molon Labe” on the internet. In meatspace, resistance is more effective when the aggressor doesn’t get to dictate the time and place, especially if that place is your home and you have family inside.

Appeasing gun-grabbers, generally couched as “compromise,” is impossible. It’s like throwing a scrap of flesh to a circling pack of jackals and expecting them to be sated and leave you alone — instead of sensing opportunity and fear, and moving in closer.

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