Can you imagine more Rodney King type beatings and no video proof? Turley has soundly condemned this practice as an unconstitutional and unethical breach of our rights.
Brian Matthews, one of those arrested (charges were dropped due to video evidence), reported that the entire police swarm of arrests began when St. Louis County Police noticed some individuals taking photos of Reverend McGowan lying on the ground hurt. To quote Matthews;
"The police on the scene were allowing people to mill around observing, but became hostile when we took pictures of them surrounding an obviously injured black man. That is when the situation escalated and the threats of arrest for "interfering' began."
Again, none of the Tea Party activists were arrested for filming the very same thing.
Reverend McGowan is going to a pre-trial conference June 25th. Redington has pursued the charges as the officers wrote. In viewing this strangely insane case, a pattern emerges which coincides with a growing national problem. All over the country, people are being brutalized and arrested by police for using their right to dissent. Specifically, videographers capturing police in the process of abusing minorities, women, children, multiple "Rodney King" Kodak moments--are arresting them for recording these public abuses and posting them for all to see. These are the unofficial "journalists" witnessing police and prosecutorial abuse. They are increasingly facing political prosecutions designed to silence any dissent in an ever growing police state. Wagman and Spitz's arrests and eventual prosecution are the tip of the iceberg.
Just this past March, a 25 year old staff sergeant for the Maryland Air National Guard, Anthony Graber, was pulled aside for speeding on his motorcycle. He had a habit of securing a camera on top of his helmet to gain action photos of his ride. A week later, Graber posted the ticket encounter on You Tube. April 8th, Graber was arrested in his parent's home during a raid in Abingdon, Md., in front of his wife and 2 young children. It turns out that prosecutors obtained a grand jury indictment charging him with violating state wiretapping laws, by taping the officer without his consent. He faces 16 years in prison if found guilty. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/15/AR2010061505556.html)
This trend of police and prosecutorial abuse must stop. Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum--all of us have the God-given right of dissent. In a day of mainstream corporate media which self-censors as we see with embedded journalists acting as stenographers for war hawks; a vibrant though undisciplined alternative media has risen. Without a vigorous press witnessing and questioning those in power; our Bill of Rights is truly nothing more than toilet paper. Video evidence is critical to maintaining our rights in an ever growing police state silencing dissent in the name of "security.' It would be wrong to solely blame the police in this pattern of abusive behavior. We have to seriously investigate prosecutorial abuse of power and what appear to be "political prosecutions,' across the nation.Whether it's Boston, St. Louis or "Mayberry;' behind the manicured lawns is an ugly, undemocratic underbelly. The politically vague term, "INTERFERING WITH AN OFFICER,' is the smoking gun. It has no place in a true democracy.
For those of you still curious about the earlier quotes; here are the sources:
"It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion." ( Third Reich Officer J. Goebbels).
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government." (Patrick Henry).
I agree with Patrick Henry. I wonder which side Redington and the other prosecutors will favor. Only time, public pressure, and a conscience--will tell.
NOTE: Since this writing, Reverend McGowan's pre-trial conference has been postponed and rescheduled to July 13th.