This is the code under which I was arrested for this afternoon (2009-11-09) at approximately 12:30PM for saying that I do freelance work (for free, though I didn’t make that as clear as I could have) for Free Talk Live while filming the arrest of activist Julian Heicklen. Julian has been arrested the past three Monday’s for refusing to stop handing out FIJA information and brought to a mental hospital each time for unexplained reasons.

I was relaxing near a large stone statue perhaps 100 feet away when Mr. Heicklen entered into a rather large public area in front of the court house at 500 Pearl St. in Manhattan. After he was approached by police I walked up with my primary camera to record the conversation between the two officers (Sullivan and Musumeci) and Julian. I was asked by officer Sullivan (@2009.11.09 00:46:23 in the footage) “You got something to do?” which I replied that I was just observing. The officers ask Julian to leave, Julian offers me jury information and then refuses to leave or give officer Musumeci, who was doing the talking, his name. Musumeci then says “OK, lets call the boss.” and walks away. I took the information Julian handed me and then walked 20 to 30 feet away to the side of the area near a lamp post and read through the pamphlet.

After done reading the information (2009.11.09 01:10:19) I approached Mr. Heicklen again and performed a brief interview.

Right after the interview and a brief chat with Julian the officers approached us and I was asked by the arresting officer, C. Barnes #245, who I worked for and Julian informed them and me that I didn’t need to tell them. I step back from the immediate area of the arrest while filming.

After going through Julian’s belongings and then removing some of them from his person officer C. Barnes #245 approaches me and asks who I work for. Not aware of the statute above I said a news agency referring to Free Talk Live (which it’s not but “radio talk show” didn’t mediately come to mind) who informs it’s listeners to use them if questioned in such a manner. I’m then told of the statute and that I’m now under arrest for breaking it. I knew better. I should have stayed quiet. Never talk to the police. C. Barnes #245 gave me no real ability to explain my relationship with FTL and interrupted me as I attempted to explain. Officer Sullivan also spoke at the same time making it difficult to figure out what was going on or who to listen to especially when both had their hands on me. I was accused of not having a press card without them actually checking or asking for one.

My hands are placed behind my back, my camera taken by a plain clothed officer and officer C. Barnes #245 asks if I need to be cuffed. I say no and he tells me to sit on the flowerbed edge. He asks for a state ID. I tell him I don’t have one and ask if I’m required to carry one. He states that on federal property I must (can someone confirm or deny this?) and then threatens to take me to jail so to obtain fingerprints. Telling me that I’d be free in a few days when the results came back. Not wanting to sit in jail I offer him my Free Talk Live press badge which he accepts.

I sit down and check my cell phone to see the time. The plain clothed officer gives me grief for doing so asking to see the phone and to tell him what I just did with it. I inform him I just checked the time and he allows me to put it away. He then tells me I should have just stopped recording when I was asked. Officer C. Barnes #245 and I inform him that I was never asked to stop recording. After a moment I try to break the tension by commenting on the quality of the camera after seeing the plain clothed officer checking it out.

The citation is filled out and I am asked to sign the ticket but told I may refuse to do so. I should have asked the consequences for not doing so but it slipped my mind. After reading the ticket over I signed adding “under duress” at the end.

Then on to the camera. It’s being kept as evidence that I filmed and broke the above rule. At no time during this event was I asked to stop recording or was asked to show that I had in fact recorded anything. I also did not see the arresting officer confirm I had recorded anything. He was processing me and the plain clothed officer had the camera. At one point (@2009.11.09 01:20:00) the plain clothed officer opens the camera, turns it on and starts meddling with it. I ask what he’s looking for and he tells me I’m not permitted to record on federal property without permission which was obvious given I was just arrested for that. He then shuts the camera and tells me I couldn’t film the arrest and officers. I make the claim that there is nothing wrong with doing so and he gets snippy with me sarcastically asking me if I know the law. I ask him if he knows the law, the exact statutes, and he tells me not to worry about it and to sit down.

A man who noticed the going on stopped to witness what was going on and is asked to step back but otherwise left un-harassed.

At 2009.11.09 01:26:36 I ask C. Barnes #245 about the expected length of time between now and when I should expect a court date. After telling me 60 to 90 days I repeat in surprise the length and he says “It’s the federal government. What do you expect?”

A receipt is retrieved for C. Barnes #245 by the plain clothed officer for my camera and when told the camera is going to be held for evidence I ask if only the memory card could be since it’s a purely external flash based devices with no internal memory. C. Barnes #245 accepts that and the plain clothed officer starts to take out the card but then C. Barnes #245 instructs him to have me do it instead. C. Barnes #245 takes the chip and copies down the serial number on it’s back, gives me a copy of the receipt. He never had me sign it and it slipped my mind.

I ask the plain clothed officer for his information but he deflects the questions telling me he’s not really involved and I don’t need it. Given his snarky attitude I didn’t want to push it and left it be. I’m told at some point by C. Barnes #245 that had I been on the sidewalk I would have been fine though I’m not sure that’s true given my understanding of the statute above.

After everything was done regarding my arrest I walked over to Julian and the observer (later identified as Joel Kupferman, a lawyer and Executive Director of the New York Environmental & Justice Project.) We chatted about the situation for a few minutes and then parted ways.

Footage will be posted shortly. Note that the timestamps are incorrect. I was released by police and walked over to Julian and Joel at about 12:35PM meaning the arrests took place about 12:20PM.

Update:

Julian Heicklen’s account can be found here: http://blogofbile.com/2009/11/10/fija-demonstration-of-november-9-2009-by-julian-heicklen/

Footage here: http://blogofbile.com/2009/11/10/julian-heicklens-fija-outreach-2009-11-09-arrest-video/