Monday, May 01, 2006

Independent Journalist Bill Carpenter Assaulted by ANSWER Security

Watch the video
I just returned from the protest today, I had planned to shoot the entire demonstration, but after several incidents in which the independent press, and the media in general were treated in a represhensible manner, I decided to return home.

While filming the front of the protest at the beginning of the day, I was asked repeatedly for my papers to establish myself as a legitimate media presence. Something ironic, about being asked for my papers at a pro-immigration march if you ask me.

Despite the fact that I had no credentials on my person, after telling several people on several occasions that I work for peralta.TV, I was able to stay in the front of the march.

Once the march began moving, I stumbled upon Bill Carpenter who had staked out a spot inside one of the islands. I joined him, and after a short while, we were approached by several ANSWER organizers and told we needed to move.

As newsgatherers, we are allowed to film anywhere on public space, and even cross police lines in some situations as long as we do not interefere with the business of the police. After explaining this to the ANSWER security we were told again that we would need to move.

Shortly after this point, we were threatened that they would come get the police. Knowing my legal rights, I told them that this was fine and that we'd be happy to straighten this out with the police. At this point 2 organizers with ANSWER were summoned to get the police to deal with us.

About this time, the main guy we were dealing with began repeating, "You're going to jail, You're going to get arrested," in an attempt to intimidate us. After the organizers returned, without the requested police assistance, the organizers returned to demanding that we move in order to protect the public safety.

When we refused to oblige, they began to phsyically force Bill Carpenter onto the sidewalk. They then came up to me implying that if I didn't move they would physically attack me.

Although I didn't capture the assault on Bill, the video attached gives at least some idea of what happened.

The final straw came when I was filming from Civic Center as the march approached and was pushed out of the way by a gentleman demanding "Move Blanco."

I'm used to the police being assholes but when the police' behavior is more professional than the protest organizers it seems more than just a little counter-intuitive.

Technorati Tags: protestSanFranciscoANSWERimmigrationmayday


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