Sheriff defends free speech rights against airport official during opt out campaign
Paul Joseph Watson
November 27, 2012
A shocking video has emerged of a police officer who abides by the oath he swore to uphold the constitution by defending the free speech rights of activists who were targeted by airport officials during the opt out and film campaign.
The clip shows activists Ashley Jessica and Jason Bermas handing out flyers warning travelers about the dangers of x-ray body scanners at Albany International Airport in New York.
Almost as soon as the activists begin to hand out the flyers, they are confronted by an aggressive airport official later named as Douglas I. Myers, the airport’s Director of Public Affairs.
Myers orders the activists to leave the top floor and later takes the unprecedented step of closing off the entire level and preventing families from meeting their loved ones. He subsequently claims the activists need a permit and a $1 million dollar insurance liability merely to film inside the airport, despite the fact that the TSA’s own website clearly states that TSA checkpoints can be filmed at any airport.
Myers’ attempts to get the activists in trouble with police are derailed when Sheriff Stan Lenic steps in to handle the situation, pointing out to Myers that they have a right to film under the First Amendment.
“Obviously this is your constitutional right, as far as we’re concerned you’re not breaking any laws,” Lenic tells Bermas.
When Myers asks the Sheriff to detain the activists, Lenic responds, “I can’t do that.”
Myers then asks for Bermas’ identification, to which Sheriff Lenic responds, “He doesn’t have to show you his identification.”
“I need to get it from you,” Myers tells the Sheriff as he winks at him, to which Sheriff Lenic responds “I can’t give you that.”
“Just so you know, he’s not doing anything wrong,” Deputy Lenic forcefully tells Myers, before quoting the New York penal law code.
“If I was to ask for his identification he does not have to give it to me because he’s not doing anything wrong,” adds Lenic.
Myers’ claim that Jessica is blocking the escalator is also dismissed by Lenic. Myers then claims the filming is illegal because it is “commercial” and could appear on the Drudge Report – which is a news aggregator and not a commercial website.
Lenic should obviously be commended for his fine job in upholding constitutional rights. If there’s an award for cop of the year, he should win it hands down. He is a shining example to other police officers who have completely failed to apply the law in similar situations.
Consider the actions of police at both Reagan Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport, where activists Derrick Broze and Infowars reporter David Ortiz were both threatened with arrest and forced to leave the airport merely for filming and handing out the exact same flyers.
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