The First Amendment reads as such: “The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances”
A federal court in Pennsylvania now wants to rule that filming our public officials, with regards to the police in the following two cases, is not protected by the constitution. I cry BS.
In two separate events, involving two completely separated and unrelated parties, two individuals were arrested. Their crime? Filming the police. Not in an act of terrorism, not even in an act of anger. The first was Richard Fields, a student at Temple University, stopped to capture a large group of police outside a house party. He decided to commemorate the incident with a photo. In the second instance, Amanda Geraci, who is a legal observer with CopWatch Berkeley, was at a large protest against fracking when she was arrested for filming another protester being arrested.
Both were arrested for a simple act of filming or photographing, a very public event, something anyone could have been at. They are both seeking damages from the Philadelphia police department after a judge ruled against them. However, in previous rulings, the courts have found the public does have a right to film or record the police as a form of expressive conduct.
It matters not if a person is physically speaking in praise or challenging the police, as the 1st amendment protects silent gathering of information to be used in the future for publication.
In the end, it matters not if the ruling is overturned, though it should be as the police generally tape anyone they pull over, but it should serve to remind us that our free hearts and minds are no longer so. Our cost of liberty is eternal vigilance. We need to stay strong and let our congress and senate create our path to liberation. It is at this point, more than ever before, that we stand up for those ideals which we feel are right and just. Our communities need to band together and organize active cop and politician-watching campaigns. They need to be held accountable remain transparent. As a people, we also need to remain strong and keep or morals, principles, and ethics intact. If we remain strong in these two cases, we are telling the world of judges just what should be banned as unconstitutional. We should not allow anyone or anything to take away the freedoms that we have fought so hard to get