Thursday, November 12, 2009

Man is confronted by NY police for apparently committing the crime of free speech on public property

Police arrested a freelance videographer and confiscated the memory card from his camera while he was recording FIJA activist Julian Heicklen Monday. The videographer, who goes by the name of "bile," was standing on public property at the time. Heicklen, for the fourth Monday (jury selection day) in a row, was passing out the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) pamphlets, “A Primer for Prospective Jurors” at the federal courthouse in New York City.

After police briefly spoke to Heicklen and left, bile approached him and conducted a short interview. As he explained on the Free Talk Live radio call-in show that evening, bile had heard about Julian's previous activism and arrests and decided to support him by acting as a witness.

The police, with additional officers, returned and asked Heicklen to leave. He declined, so they announced he was under arrest. As Heicklen always does, he dropped to the ground and went limp and silent.

It was then that Police confronted bile with his digital camcorder. When bile informed them that, "I was working for Free Talk Live," they said he was under arrest for breaking a federal statute that regulates what people on federal property may photograph. Bile was told he was guilty of photographing "without permission."

After convincing the police to take only his memory card "for evidence" rather than his camera, and accepting a receipt for it and a citation for his offense, bile was released. Meanwhile, police confiscated Heicklen's remaining FIJA brochures, his JURY INFO sign, and left him a receipt and a citation.

Joel Kupferman, a lawyer and Executive Director of the New York Environmental Law & Justice Project, appeared at the scene and observed the events. An NBC reporter was also noted to be present.

For the first time in four trips to the courthouse to hand out FIJA fliers, Heicklen was released rather than arrested and then transported to a psychiatric hospital.

Articles covering Heicklen's previous efforts can be read at the Libertarian News Examiner. Also, Heicklen always writes his own reports on the day's events and Len Flynn always posts them in their entirety on the New Jersey Libertarian Party homepage. Bile also wrote and posted his own detailed account of his encounter with the American police state, "Arrested for filming the arrest of Julian Heicklen on federal property."

But bile was one step ahead of the police. As he revealed in his report on Free Talk Live (he's in the second half of the broadcast), "I had a little spycam that I had tucked in my belt that was recording the whole time just in case something happened with my camcorder." Bile's spycam video can be seen at blog of bile. Bile also escaped with his audio interview of Heicklen and it is posted on the same blog page just below the video.

In an email to his growing number of supporters nationwide, Heicklen explained the motivation behind his actions. "Originally, I went to the US District Court in Manhattan to inform juries of their rights. For me this is now the secondary issue. The primary issue has become freedom of speech. Jury nullification has become the vehicle to reclaim this right."

However, a growing number of supporters have been responding to Heicklen's call to action. The presence of bile, Joel Kupferman and the NBC reporter are part of that response.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts on Wicked Thoughts Archive

No comments: