Chicago PD cuffs reporters, threatens their First Amendment rights

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Vic Berardelli
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Joined: 12/26/2001 - 1:01am
Chicago PD cuffs reporters, threatens their First Amendment rights

Police held Williams (NBC TV-5 photographer) and Ponce (WGN reporter) for about 10 minutes. The officer who handcuffed them is recorded on camera warning members of the media that their First Amendment rights could be terminated.

"Your First Amendment rights can be terminated if you're creating a scene or whatever," the officer said.

When asked how they were creating a scene, the officer said, "Your presence is creating a scene."

Williams and Ponce were released without any charges.

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Chicago-Police-Take-NBC-Chicago-Pho...

Regardless of your personal distaste for media, this is absolutely wrong and should not be tolerated. If authorities get away with this, imagine what the precedent could do if you as a citizen exercising First Amendment rights were to stand on a public sidewalk outside of Town Hall or the State House with a sign because "Your presence is creating a scene."

Dale Tudor
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Joined: 10/23/2010 - 12:57pm
A police officer does not

A police officer does not have the authority to terminate a constitutional right. The temporary power, perhaps, but not the authority. I'd recommend termination of the officer's employment as a consequence for his actions. In Chicago such a consequence is not likely to happen. Chicago is a cesspool when it comes to the constitution.

Vic Berardelli
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Joined: 12/26/2001 - 1:01am
Tuesday morning, NPR's

Tuesday morning, NPR's Morning Edition is going to revisit the Stephen Howard case. He is the guy who approached then-Vice President Dick Chaney and said verbally that he thought his foreign policy was "disgusting." Within moments, the Secret Service handcuffed him and charged him with "assault" on the VPOTUS.

Although one might question Howard's politics, the precedent is the same. Verbals expression of one's First Amendment rights without any physical threat should be protected, not stifled. In that instance, I think the Secret Service acted wrongly.

Tom C
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Joined: 01/03/2006 - 6:00pm
I'd recommend termination of

I'd recommend termination of the officer's employment as a consequence for his actions.

Trampled on a citizen's rights? Unfortunately, I'd guess an award is more likely.

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