Wednesday, December 29, 2010


On November 9th, 2009 Julian Heicklen went to 500 Pearl St in Manhattan, New York to hand out Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA http://fija.org) and was arrested after refusing to leave when court police ordered him to do so.

bile of http://blogofbile.com was arrested to filming Julian Heicklen standing in front of the courthouse entrance without permission. At no time was he told to stop recording or that it was a crime. Title 41, Subsection C, § 102-74.420 states that photography of entrances for news purposes are allowed. While not the focus of the footage it is the only part of the property filmed. Camera was confiscated but ultimately only the memory card was taken as evidence.

FIJA Demonstration of November 9, 2009 by Julian Heicklen
Posted on November 10th, 2009 at 8:00am by bile
I arrived at he U. S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 500 Pearl Street in Manhattan at 11:45 am on Monday, November 9, 2009. The weather was perfect: warm and sunny. I stood in the middle of the plaza in front of the courthouse.

I started to pass out the FIJA pamphlet entitled “A Primer for Prospective Jurors” along with my handout (see below). A freelance reporter form Free Talk Live was present. At 11:48, I was approached by two federal marshals, who identified themselves as Musumeci and
Sullivan. They would not give first names and said that they had no badge numbers. They informed me that I had to leave. I demurred. They said that they would have to report me and left.

I passed out about 15 flyers, when three police from the Department of Homeland Security approached me at about 12:20 pm. The leader was my friend Officer Barnes from two weeks ago. After we exchanged the usual pleasantries, he placed me under arrest, and I fell to the ground. He confiscated my remaining five brochures and my JURY INFO sign. He left a receipt and a citation 41 CFR, Sub C Section 102 #74.415(c), the same as two weeks earlier.

During the exchange with the police, the Free Talk Live reporter videotaped the event and interviewed me until he was stopped and cited by the police under 41 CFR, Subsection C, §102–74.420 for photographing without a permit. They confiscated his film.

At about 12:30 pm, while I was still on the ground, Joel Kupferman, a lawyer and Executive Director of the New York Environmental & Justice Project appeared and observed. Then the police left at 12:35 pm. I stood up and the event was over.

We noticed that an NBC reporter was present, but we did not interact with him. Joel and I went to a Chinese soup shop and had hot and sour soup. I arrived home at about 3:15 pm.

Warning: You should know that The Federal Protective Service, and possibly the FBI, is intercepting my e-mails. Another violation of our civil liberties. Be prudent if you write to me.



TITLE 41 C. F. R. Public Contracts and Property Management Subtitle C–FEDERAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS SYSTEM

§ 102-74.415(c)

(c) Distributing materials, such as pamphlets, handbills or flyers, unless conducted as part of authorized Government activities. This prohibition does not apply to public areas of the property as defined in §102–71.20 of this chapter. However, any person or organization
proposing to distribute materials in a public area under this section must first obtain a permit from the building manager as specified in subpart D of this part. Any such person or organization must distribute materials only in accordance with the provisions of subpart D of this part. Failure to comply with those provisions is a violation of these regulations.

§ 102-71.25 Who must comply with GSA’s real property policies?

Federal agencies operating under, or subject to, the authorities of the Administrator of General Services must comply with these policies.






Arrested for filming the arrest of Julian Heicklen on federal property
Posted on November 9th, 2009 at 11:21pm by bile

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.

Settlement with Department of Homeland Security reached

Posted on October 18th, 2010 at 12:44pm by bile

If you lived in New York City you could carry this 2009-04-03 NYPD Operations Order around to help protect yourself from NYPD officers harassing you for filming around the city.

If you were on “Federally Owned and Leased Facilities”, specifically land used by the DOT, you could use this bulletin to try to scare off the DHS.

Now if you happen to be on federal courthouse property (and likely any property covered by CFR Title 41, Subpart C, § 102-74.420) you can carry this. My settlement with the Department of Homeland Security regarding my arrest on November 9th, 2009. Below is a summary of the settlement.

  1. The DHS admits that the § 102-74.420 does not “prohibit individuals from photographing (including motion photography) the exterior of federal courthouses from publicly accessible spaces, such as streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas; and FPS has not construed any other federal regulation or federal statute to prohibit such photography of the exterior of federal courthouses, though it makes no representation about local rules or orders.”
  2. “FPS will provide a written instruction to its officers and employees engaged in law enforcement, stating that for federal courthouses under the protective jurisdiction of FPS, there are currently no general security regulations prohibiting exterior photography by individuals from publicly accessible spaces, absent a written local rule, regulation, or order. The instruction will also inform FPS officers and employees of the public’s general right to photograph the exterior of federal courthouses from publicly accessible spaces.”
  3. “Nothing in this agreement precludes FPS or the United States, or any department, agency, agent, officer , or employee of the United States (collectively, the “Government”) or any law-enforcement officer from taking any legally permissible law-enforcement action, including but not limited to approaching any individual taking photographs and asking for the voluntary provision of information such as the purpose of taking the photographs or the identity of the individual, or taking lawful steps to ascertain whether unlawful activity, or reconnaissance for the purpose of a terrorist or unlawful act is being undertaken.”
  4. FPS will pay the plaintiff $1500.
  5. FPS will pay $3350 in legal fees.
  6. I’ll get my memory card back when Julian Heicklen’s case is over.

NYCLU press release below:

NYCLU Settlement Ends Restriction on Photography Outside Federal Courthouses

October 18, 2010 — In settling a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the federal government today recognized the public’s right to take photographs and record videos in public spaces outside federal courthouses throughout the nation.

The settlement comes after the NYCLU sued the federal government in April on behalf of a Libertarian activist who was unlawfully arrested by federal officers after exercising his First Amendment right to record digital video outside of a federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan.

“This settlement secures the public’s First Amendment right to use cameras in public spaces without being harassed,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “While we understand the need for heightened security near federal buildings, any rule that results in the arrest of people for exercising their First Amendment rights is clearly unconstitutional. We’re pleased the federal government finally recognizes this fact.”

Plaintiff Antonio Musumeci was arrested on Nov. 9, 2009 after using a hand-held camera to record a protestor in a public plaza outside the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Courthouse in Manhattan.

During the arrest, federal officers forced Musumeci to the pavement and confiscated video from his camera. Musumeci, a software developer for an investment bank, was detained for about 20 minutes and issued a ticket for violating a federal regulation. That charge was later dismissed.

On two subsequent occasions, federal officers threatened Musumeci with arrest after trying to record protests at the courthouse.

“The courthouse plaza is public property paid for by taxpayers, and the public should not be prohibited from using video cameras there. Now people now can freely express their First Amendment right there without being harassed and arrested by federal officers,” said Musumeci, a resident of Edgewater, N.J.

In the settlement approved today by a federal judge in Manhattan, , the federal government acknowledges that there are no federal laws or regulations that prohibit photography outside federal courthouses. It agreed to provide federal officers written instructions emphasizing the public’s right to photograph and record outside federal courthouses. The settlement has even broader implications, though.

“Not only will this settlement end harassment of photographers outside federal courthouses, it will free people to photograph and film outside of all federal buildings,” said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn, lead counsel in the case. “The regulation at issue in this case applies to all federal buildings, not only courthouses, so this settlement should extend to photography near all federal buildings nationwide.

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