Monday, July 30, 2007

Tired of Incompetent Government Harassment

I am getting tired of all the reported instances of police officer harassment of people going about their own business. If police officers, federal law enforcement officers... don't put a stop to these repeated ridicules actions by their co-workers they are going to deal with having lost the respect for their positions. On the other hand in this case it provided an example that legislators do actually have a role in society (little used to serve as a check on unrestrained police powers) thanks to Congressman Rick Boucher for putting a stop to the abuse in this instance. Abuse of power by National Park Service police:

I pulled off the road ahead of the second NPS patrol car, grabbed my camera and headed back to take a photo of the police action. As I approached, the Park Service officer wheeled around and pointed at me.

"Sir, if you raise that camera to take a photograph I will place you under arrest," he barked. I identified myself as a working journalist on assignment and said I was simply covering a news event.

"Sir," he retorted, "this is U.S. government property and under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act you cannot take photographs of official government activity without authorization. Put your camera down now!"
he National Park Service recalled their CIT unit and ordered them back to Asheville after Congressman Rick Boucher, who represents the area, intervened on behalf of the festival. Boucher's office received numerous calls of complaints about the NPS police activity on Thursday and Friday and called the director of the National Park Service. Security for the remaining two days of the festival was turned over to the Virginia State Police who patrolled the Parkway but did not harass festival attendees.

It is critical to use police force in a responsible way. Authority given to restrict the rights of others is not something that a society can afford to leave in the hands of people that abuse that authority.

Related: Failure to Address Systemic SWAT Raid Failures - The Photographer’s Right

No comments: