Speaking of cops who hate accountability and the 1st Amendment, the situation in Ferguson, MO is growing more and more frustrating to watch. Last night, police actually arrested two reporters because they weren’t “packing their bags quickly enough” as the McDonalds where they were working from was being evacuated.
Here’s the video:
An officer with a large weapon came up to me and said, “Stop recording.”
I said, “Officer, do I not have the right to record you?”
He backed off but told me to hurry up. So I gathered my notebook and pens with one hand while recording him with the other hand.
As I exited, I saw Ryan to my left, having a similar argument with two officers. I recorded him, too, and that angered the officer. As I made my way toward the door, the officers gave me conflicting information.
One instructed me to exit to my left. As I turned left, another officer emerged, blocking my path.
“Go another way,” he said.
As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, “Officers, let me just gather my bag.” As I did, one of them said, “Okay, let’s take him.”
Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.
“My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”
That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.
As they took me into custody, the officers slammed me into a soda machine, at one point setting off the Coke dispenser. They put plastic cuffs on me, then they led me out the door.
I could see Ryan still talking to an officer. I said: “Ryan, tweet that they’re arresting me, tweet that they’re arresting me.”
He didn’t have an opportunity, because he was arrested as well.
The officers led us outside to a police van. Inside, there was a large man sitting on the floor between the two benches. He began screaming: “I can’t breathe! Call a paramedic! Call a paramedic!”
Ryan and I asked the officers if they intended to help the man. They said he was fine. The screaming went on for the 10 to 15 minutes we stood outside the van.
“I’m going to die!” he screamed. “I’m going to die! I can’t breathe! I’m going to die!”
Eventually a police car arrived. A woman — with a collar identifying her as a member of the clergy — sat in the back. Ryan and I crammed in next to her, and we took the three-minute ride to the Ferguson Police Department. The woman sang hymns throughout the ride.
During this time, we asked the officers for badge numbers. We asked to speak to a supervising officer. We asked why we were being detained. We were told: trespassing in a McDonald’s.
“I hope you’re happy with yourself,” one officer told me. And I responded: “This story’s going to get out there. It’s going to be on the front page of The Washington Post tomorrow.”
And he said, “Yeah, well, you’re going to be in my jail cell tonight.”
read the rest
If the police in Furguson are looking for any sympathy in what is obviously an out-of-control situation, they’re not doing themselves any favors. They’ve gone from excessive use of force to violating the 1st Amendment in a span of a few short days.
You see, liberty goes both ways. Cops do not have special Constitutional rights that allow them to take the life or liberty away from others. By the same token, when cops use excessive force or even act criminally, those actions give no one the right to go out and destroy innocent people’s private property in a riot.
There is extreme examples of wrongdoing on both sides in Ferguson. One simply cannot pick a side and cheerlead from that sideline. We must remain principled and call out the violence and wrongdoing on both sides.
We will discuss this a lot more in the coming days, but for now, stay principled fellow libertarians and conservatives.