News from the Liberterrain…
"An amateur photographer is suing the Department of Homeland Security, saying his arrest for filming a political protest outside a Manhattan courthouse was illegal." – New York Daily News
The harassment of Antonio Musumeci ("Bile" to his
friends) by federal officers has caught the attention of
mainstream media news outlets, libertarians and civil
rights advocates. (photo courtesy Antonio Musumeci)
More Libertarian Examiner coverage:
Article featuring Inspector Clifford Barnes
Pamphleteer heckled, arrested, un-arrested in NYC
Bile's arrest while filming Julian Heicklen
Police harass FIJA activist, arrest videographer
Julian Heicklen's recent pamphleteering efforts
Tale of two cities – peaceful Hackensack vs. police state Manhattan
Last fall, Antonio Musumeci, membership director and webmaster of the Manhattan Libertarian Party, was forced to the pavement by federal officers, had the video card from his camera confiscated, arrested, detained, ticketed, and further harassed and threatened with arrest on two successive occasions.
On Thursday, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a civil rights lawsuit on Musumeci's behalf against the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Protective Service, Inspector Clifford Barnes of the Federal Protective Service, and an unnamed federal officer.
The suit charges the agencies and individuals of "unconstitutionally restricting photography on federal property, including public plazas and sidewalks."
Musumeci, known to his friends as "Bile" from his online "Blog of Bile" was manhandled by the federal officers on November 9, 2009 while he was recording an interview in front of the courthouse steps in Manhattan with Julian Heicklen, well known to Libertarian News Examiner readers as a libertarian activist who frequently attempts to distribute Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) pamphlets at the site.
A week later, Musumeci was again harassed and threatened with arrest by the same Inspector Clifford Barnes and a "John Doe" officer while again trying to record Heicklen at the federal courthouse.
This past Monday, Musumeci was harassed a third time by the same federal officers.
While videoing Heicklen's FIJA pamphlet distribution efforts that day a man appearing to be a plainclothes officer "takes a photo of me using his cell phone," Musumeci wrote on his blog, and Officer Barnes "looks over at me and yells 'Having fun yet?'"
Later, as Musumeci is leaving, he reports, "Officer Barnes waves to me and yells from across the street, 'Bye, see you next week!'”
“I do not believe government agents have the legal or moral authority to stop people from filming on public property," Musumeci, told Serf City, a Manhattan Libertarian Party blog. "In this case, the outcome is particularly frustrating because I was creating political content and engaging in a form of political activism."
"The lawsuit seeks a court order to bar federal officials from harassing or arresting people taking photos while standing in outdoor public areas by federal buildings." – New York Times
Libertarians and civil rights advocates will be watching this one closely.
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