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Title: Victory for Free State Activist Wrongfully Arrested for Filming Police at Checkpoint
Source: Activist Post
URL Source: https://www.activistpost.com/2019/1 ... ming-police-at-checkpoint.html
Published: Nov 16, 2019
Author: Joe Wright
Post Date: 2019-11-17 14:20:36 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 369
Comments: 20

By Joe Wright

Contrary to what many police would like the public to believe, the Constitution isn’t null and void when in their presence.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite: it can be seen as the public’s duty to hold police accountable during any and all interactions with them.

True, federal courts have disputed such rights in the past, but it is still widely recognized in all 50 states that a person has the right to film police so long as they are not directly interfering with police work. That said, we have covered many cases where people have been threatened, abused, and arrested for filming police, so one must do so at one’s peril.

Checkpoints are particularly contentious, as they have cropped up in ever-increasing numbers across the U.S.  According to the latest information from the CDC, sobriety checkpoints in particular are permitted in 38 states and D.C., with only 13 states conducting weekly activity. Again, many people assume that all rights end there. Fortunately, courageous activists have steadfastly refused to obey the arbitrary orders given during these encounters.

The Free State Project in New Hampshire is one such organization that promotes the fundamentals of liberty and engages in a wide variety of activism in order to demonstrate their principles.  Despite New Hampshire ranking near the top for the freest states, activist Christopher Waid learned that these principles were not respected in Manchester, NH when he attempted to film a DWI checkpoint on April 20, 2017.

As reported by the New Hampshire Union Leader:

He was on the south side of Bridge Street and crossed two lanes of roadway to reach the median and get closer to the checkpoint. At that point, a confrontation occurred between Waid and Officer Robert Harrington with Harrington telling Waid to move to the sidewalk, according to the claim.

According to the claim, Harrington grabbed Waid’s camera; Waid said he was a member of the press and Harrington had no right to take it.

Harrington said, according to Waid’s lawsuit, “I don’t need you in my face” and demanded identification. Waid said he has no obligation to show an ID.

The lawsuit states that Harrington threatened to jail Waid unless he returned to the sidewalk; Waid said go ahead, and Harrington arrested him for disorderly conduct and jaywalking.

Prosecutors later dropped both charges.

Although Waid was not charged, he subsequently retained a lawyer who threatened to sue the police department for violating his constitutional rights (1st and 14th Amendments).  After a lengthy back-and-forth, the city has capitulated and awarded a settlement of $15,000 to Waid.

The city denies any wrongdoing, and the settlement was reached “to buy peace,” the settlement agreement reads.

It turns out that this particular department is fortunately an anomaly, according to Waid, who said that this was the first time he had ever had an issue with filming a checkpoint. However, this department also has had to pay out for other constitutional violations in the past, according to the report:

In 2017, it paid $275,000 to Alfredo Valentin, whom police arrested in 2015 when he recorded a raid on his house. In 2017, the city also paid $89,000 to Theresa Petrello, a veteran who was arrested in 2015 during a crackdown on panhandling.

Naturally, these expenses are paid by taxpayers, which illustrates the importance of police knowing that the public is watching their every move. Sadly, it can be dangerous simply to encounter police in modern-day America, let alone flex your rights and demand equal respect.

Interestingly, the $15,000 settlement is the same amount that a Colorado bill urged as a fine for police who interfere with the public filming them. Moreover, this bill urged that payment be taken from the officers themselves, which I suspect will do much more to alleviate this problem than passing it on to innocent taxpayers who are arguably already extorted from.

As always, it is important to know the laws in your area and proceed with due caution when interacting with police officers. Be respectful, but have the fortitude to assert your rights. Thank you to Christopher Waid and the many other activists who have shown us the way.


You can read more from Joe Wright at Activist Post, where this article first appeared.

H/T: MassPrivateI (1 image)

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Begin Trace Mode for Comment # 19.

#1. To: Deckard (#0) (Edited)

Although Waid was not charged, he subsequently retained a lawyer wh who wh who threatened to sue the police department for violating his constitutional ri rights

If I'm detained at a sobriety checkpoint, where's my 4th amendment right to privacy protecting me from being recorded by some yahoo without my permission and posted for all to see?

misterwhite  posted on  2019-11-17   15:12:39 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: misterwhite (#1)

where's my 4th amendment right to privacy

Not in a public place.

Defamation, OTOH, is actionable if the videographer manifests that.

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-20   12:16:16 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#2)

where's my 4th amendment right to privacy
Not in a public place.

"Although someone may not have a right to seclusion when in the public view, the law can still protect people from being portrayed in a way that could be considered humiliating or from having their private details broadcast."

If someone records me at a DUI checkpoint, I'm suing their ass.

misterwhite  posted on  2019-11-20   14:31:03 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: misterwhite (#3)

If someone records me at a DUI checkpoint, I'm suing their ass.

For what?

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-20   16:50:17 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#4)

If someone records me at a DUI checkpoint, I'm suing their ass.
For what?

For portraying me in a way that could be considered humiliating or from having my private details broadcast.

I thought I already explained that.

misterwhite  posted on  2019-11-21   9:10:26 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: misterwhite (#5)

A public DUI checkpoint isn't private.

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-21   23:14:52 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#8)

A public DUI checkpoint isn't private.

Certainly not when citizens are recording me and portraying me in a way that could be considered humiliating or from having my private details broadcast.

But I suppose you'd say they have a good reason for recording the activities at that one specific DUI checkpoint. What might that be?

misterwhite  posted on  2019-11-22   9:22:58 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: misterwhite (#9) (Edited)

But I suppose you'd say they have a good reason for recording the activities at that one specific DUI checkpoint. What might that be?

Making sure the police don't frame and falsely accuse innocent flamingos like you...

...of course.

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-22   9:44:39 ET  (1 image) Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#11)

Making sure the police don't frame and falsely accuse innocent flamingos like you...

Wow! Recording the activities at one DUI checkpoint on one occasion will accomplish all that? How selfless of them!

misterwhite  posted on  2019-11-22   11:16:13 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: misterwhite (#12) (Edited)

Wow! Recording the activities at one DUI checkpoint on one occasion will accomplish all that?

Why does the 1st Amendment protect a free press?

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-22   11:39:17 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#14. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#13)

Why does the 1st Amendment protect a free press?

Some yahoo recording me at a DUI checkpoint without my permission is a freedom of the press issue?

Why does that trump my fourth amendment right to sue citizens who record me and portray me in a way that could be considered humiliating or from having my private details broadcast?

misterwhite  posted on  2019-11-22   16:27:36 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#16. To: misterwhite (#14) (Edited)

There are no private details at public check points.

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-23   10:32:45 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#17. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#16)

There are no private details at public check points.

Then why don't the police search every car they stop at the checkpoint?

misterwhite  posted on  2019-11-24   10:07:57 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#18. To: misterwhite (#17)

No probable cause.

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-24   12:05:23 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#19. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#18)

No probable cause.

Ah. So when you said "There are no private details at public check points" you were just joking.

misterwhite  posted on  2019-11-24   14:13:47 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


Replies to Comment # 19.

#20. To: misterwhite (#19)

If you are publicly visible you're not in private.

The non-visible contents of your vehicle would be in private.

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-24 14:26:06 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


End Trace Mode for Comment # 19.

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