Trial Set To Start For Journalist Facing Decades In Prison For Covering Inauguration Day Protests

from the shut-up,-they-jailed dept

There's little more chilling to First Amendment freedoms than the possibility of spending decades in jail for documenting a protest that turned into a riot. But that's exactly what independent journalist Alexi Wood is facing. Traveling from Texas to Washington DC to document anti-Trump protests on Inauguration Day, Wood was "kettled" and arrested along with the protestors he was covering. He wasn't the only journalist to be detained for hours and hit with charges, but most of the others have seen their charges dismissed.

Wood is facing charges that could see him jailed for several years, thanks to DC prosecutors who have decided to punish the journalist for being in the vicinity of destructive criminal activity.

Alexei Wood faces up to 60 years in prison for moving alongside and videotaping rioters as they protested President Donald Trump's inauguration in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20. According to Wood, he was livestreaming the protest - videotaping events and putting them on the internet as they happened.

He said the livestream is still online, and shows he did nothing wrong.

"It documents everything I said or didn't say, do or didn't do - clear evidence,” Wood said. “Even the judge said there was 'zero evidence' I did property destruction."

Wood is one of seven journalists who, with a group of more than 200 protesters, were penned in and arrested that day. Charges against five of the journalists have been dropped.

Indeed, his livestream of the events leading to his arrest can be seen below, and nothing in it shows him participating in destructive acts.

But that matters little to DC prosecutors, who have decided to threaten the act of journalism by creatively stacking charges.

[O]n April 27, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia returned a superseding indictment which added additional charges for some 212 defendants, three of whom had not previously been charged.

With new felony charges including urging to riot, conspiracy to riot and destruction of property, many of the defendants are facing up to 80 years in prison. Many other defendants, among them journalists, are facing more than 70 years.

When a "conspiracy to riot" describes the act of documenting a riot, things have gone horribly south in the legal system. It's not like the government is facing a lack of chargeable suspects. There are more than 200 to choose from, with a majority of those being participants in the demonstration. A smaller number participated in the destruction of property. Then there's Alexi Wood, who was in the right place at the right time journalistically-speaking, but the wrong place/wrong time for everything else.

The only explanation for this charge stacking is prosecutors' desire for easy wins. Piling up felony charges pushes people towards accepting plea deals, even if they haven't done anything wrong. A couple of misdemeanors and being free to go usually sounds better than a criminal trial and the possibility of a jury handing down a guilty verdict with 15-20 years of jail time attached

If this goes forward, the evidence should clear him of charges. But even if it does go quickly and smoothly, Wood's life has been permanently changed, and not for the better. He hasn't been able to concentrate on journalistic efforts since he was arrested, thanks to the severity of the charges. If the government finds a way to hang one on Wood, independent journalists and those working for smaller agencies will start steering clear of protest coverage just to be on the safe side. And that may be the government's unstated goal -- fewer eyes witnessing anti-government sentiment and/or the tactics used by law enforcement against people utilizing their First Amendment rights.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    dadtaxi, 20 Nov 2017 @ 6:46am

    "A couple of misdemeanors and being free to go usually sounds better than a criminal trial and the possibility of a jury handing down a guilty verdict with 15-20 years of jail time attached"

    You forgot the cost to him of going to trial, not an insignificant burden, even if found not guilty. A punishment in and of itself . . . whatever the verdict

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ShadowNinja (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 6:46am

    Stuff like this is why I've been leaning towards the opinion more and more lately that we should just ban deal making between prosecutors and defendants to settle cases, especially in criminal court.

    Some countries have already done just this, because of the problems outlined in this article, of prosecutors overcharging people to try to gain leverage at the bargaining table. As well as poorer people being forced into plea deals because otherwise they'll spend more time sitting in jail then the maximum sentence if found not guilty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:01am

      Re:

      I agree. If we actually went forward and tried every case the legal way, the courts couldn't get through 1 percent of the cases they currently churn through in their quest to fill the prison system.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lttan3, 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:29am

      Re: just ban deals

      "just ban deal making between prosecutors and defendants"


      Yes, this is absolutely imperative to curb the very widespread corruption in American courts.

      Prosecutor "authority" to manipulate defendants & witnesses with plea deals and extra (or reduced) criminal-charges is a totally corrupt practice --- that makes a mockery of our supposed "justice" system.

      Actual court trials are rare in America because government prosecutors have so much illicit power to stack the deck against all defendants, both innocent or guilty. All US judges strongly support this corrupt practice -- which makes judges just as corrupt as the prosecutors!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 20 Nov 2017 @ 10:35am

      Re:

      Stuff like this is why I've been leaning towards the opinion more and more lately that we should just ban deal making between prosecutors and defendants to settle cases, especially in criminal court.

      I'm not a lawyer, so I genuinely don't know the answer to this, but if a prosecutor offers a plea deal with some minor charges, and then threatens the defendant with much more serious charges if they go to trial, can that fact be presented to the jury as evidence that the prosecutor doesn't really believe in the charges they're pushing? I mean, if they offer a charge of disorderly conduct, the person declines, goes to trial and is facing a ton of charges, can the defense attorney bring up the plea deal and ask why if the person is such a hardened criminal, the state was willing to let them walk with such minor charges?

      I mean, there's only two explanations for such a thing; That the charges against him are bogus and only being used a leverage, or the prosecution is willing to let criminals off easy, either of which looks good for the prosecution.

      Can they be forced to explain to a jury the disparity between the plea that they were willing to accept and the litany of more serious crimes they charged them with in a trial?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 11:02am

        Re: Re:

        I'd love to have an actual lawyer weigh in on this, but my non-lawyer guess would be the prosecution would object to it even being brought up as 'irrelevant to the actual case', the judge would likely back the objection(because it would make the system look even worse), and the defense would be told to drop it or face penalties.

        In short: You raise a very good point, but I do not see it being allowed to be raised in court.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rekrul, 22 Nov 2017 @ 5:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'd love to have an actual lawyer weigh in on this, but my non-lawyer guess would be the prosecution would object to it even being brought up as 'irrelevant to the actual case', the judge would likely back the objection(because it would make the system look even worse), and the defense would be told to drop it or face penalties.

          If that were to happen, would the jury really be able to forget what they just heard, even if they're ordered to, or would it still have some influence on their verdict?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JMT (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 2:59pm

        Re: Re:

        "I mean, there's only two explanations for such a thing; That the charges against him are bogus and only being used a leverage, or the prosecution is willing to let criminals off easy, either of which looks good for the prosecution."

        Their metric of success is the number of successful prosecutions, not whether the correct person was appropriately punished. Maximising the number of successful prosecutions is the only goal, and all possible steps will be taken to achieve this. Thus the popularity of legal blackmail, sorry, plea deals, which get the best results with the least effort. Not really a 'justice' system is it...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rekrul, 22 Nov 2017 @ 5:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Their metric of success is the number of successful prosecutions, not whether the correct person was appropriately punished. Maximising the number of successful prosecutions is the only goal, and all possible steps will be taken to achieve this. Thus the popularity of legal blackmail, sorry, plea deals, which get the best results with the least effort. Not really a 'justice' system is it...

          Yes, I covered that in my first example where I mentioned the charges only being used as leverage.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 12:39pm

      Re:

      If only 15% of the cases charged were put to Jury Trial, it would completely cripple the entire system.

      They pretty much always offer a plea deal. If you don't take it, they add MORE charges until you're looking at centuries rather than decades of jail time.

      Don't believe me? Ask a criminal defense lawyer.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      dadtaxi, 20 Nov 2017 @ 2:27pm

      Re:

      I also subscribe more and more to the UK model where you essentially get your money back if found not guilty from the Government itself.

      It seems to make a huge difference to both 'Horizontal' and 'Vertical' overcharging (used to force plea deals to unwilling defendants) if the prosecutors budget also has to pay for all the not guilty verdicts

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 20 Nov 2017 @ 6:47am

    This may be a dumb question, but is it possible for the judge to simply dismiss the charges? If the judge really has said that there's no evidence, can they just end the whole thing as a waste of time? (Not to mention a travesty of justice.) Or does it not work that was in a criminal trial?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 6:58am

      Re:

      >>> “Even the judge said there was 'zero evidence' I did property destruction."

      That may be true -- as narrowly stated -- but clearly the judge agreed was sufficient evidence to proceed on the conspiracy charge.

      My guess is he was part of a team: conspired up front to be there to "livestream" the destruction -- and my take is that it was not "protest" he expected, but destruction.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:18am

        Re: Re:

        Utter rubbish, obviously he was there to record the spontaneous mass sing-along, something which sadly was interrupted by the police who were too tone deaf to understand good music.

        Now you might say this is ridiculous, to which my response is that while my wild baseless speculation has just as much evidence as yours, none, my guess has the added benefit of being much more entertaining.

        That aside, even assuming your baseless 'guess' was correct: So what? Even if he knew that a riot would break out and went there to record it, are you saying that there is, or should be, a law on the books such that recording a riot is grounds for decades in jail? That simply being in the general area of a riot, which is rather necessary if you want to be able to film it, should be treated as no different than being an active participant in a riot?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 10:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          even assuming your baseless 'guess' was correct: So what? Even if he knew that a riot would break out and went there to record it

          The actual guess was not just that he "knew that a riot would break out and went there to record it", but that he was part of a team conspiring in relation to this. If he was there based on a rumor, it wouldn't be a conspiracy; if he was part of a team that divided themselves up into destructors and documentors, it would be.

          I've seen no evidence there was a conspiracy, but that's up to the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bergman (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 11:14am

        Re: Re:

        By that logic, police would be unable to gather evidence to prosecute someone, if documenting illegal activity that you expect to happen would make you an accomplice to that activity.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lttan3, 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:44am

      Re: dismiss charges

      ...yes, of course

      The trial judge has full and proper authority to dismiss all charges if there is insufficient evidence against a defendant

      A judge also can (and should) dismiss most of the charges against a defendant... if the prosecutor has illicitly "piled-on" extra charges. But judges usually go along with prosecutors ... because they are all on the same government team against defendants.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Paul Brinker, 20 Nov 2017 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re: dismiss charges

        The court has been provided with clear exculpatory evidence of the lack of property damage. So the Journalist would win this case no matter what and he has the power to move to dismiss.

        However the prosecutor is attempting to hit him with conspiracy charges saying "This man was brought on the plan to broadcast the propaganda of members of the crowd" Again this is hard to prove with out showing a LOT of things. This is why all the guys from big media firms were already dismissed, they have the resources to fight back a silly charge like this.

        As an independent this man may be found guilty of "We don't like you" and given the Jury is a roll of the dice at best of times he will be fighting this out in appeals for a long long time.

        The end of the day the message is clear, we will go after you if you step out of line, we will ruin you, we don't care.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Bamboo Harvester (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 12:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: dismiss charges

          As you say, the charges on the "Big Media" boys were dismissed already.

          My guess as to why? They had actual *credentials* of being with a news organization.

          What makes a person a Journalist in the eyes of the Law?

          Serious question. Anyone know? Bachelor's Degree in Journalism? Press Passes (do they even still print those? I' old...)? Simply declaring yourself a Journalist?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Paul Brinker, 21 Nov 2017 @ 11:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: dismiss charges

            I go with the more simple approach, if you are simply there and generally collecting fact about a situation, your a Journalist.

            If your doing something illegal, yelling Journalist wont save you.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 6:52am

    IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it.

    Look. In the American system, evidence is presented at trial to be judged by one's peers whether guilty beyond reasonable doubt. That's the only full and fair test.

    But Techdirt has already judged him innocent without seeing any evidence -- willfully blind I'd say. Just the tinge of being anti-Trump is enough for support from minion.

    Yet I'm fairly certain that prosecutors aren't as you sketch them: rabid. There's likely evidence. Just on surface is the fact of traveling to DC and being among the few violent rioters to "livestream" their destruction. I'd guess that isn't coincidence, but that role was planned in conspiracy.

    Calling yourself a "journalist" does not shield against conspiring to publicize illegal acts that you know will be committed..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 6:52am

      Re: IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it.

      But we'll all be able to SEE the evidence presented in open court. Conspiracy is always difficult to prove. I'll be surprised if convicted. Juries are much more reliable than you believe.

      It's just that you with both Trump and Law Derangement Syndromes believe nothing done to protest Trump can even be criminal, so oppose any trial.

      Cheer up. If convicted, Techdirt will have another anti-Trump martyr for ongoing series.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:40am

        Re: Re: IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it.

        Schrodinger’s Journalist: One who is simultaneously both a journalist and rioter, a libertarian or a statist, a True American or a commie Marxist socialist... until an Alt-Right Anonymous Coward observes what issue is being reported.

        In this case it was an anti-fascism protest, so Alt-Right Anonymous Coward sees a non-journalist rioter and "anti-Trump martyr."

        Unlike the Schrödinger's Cat thought experiment which was based on probability and uncertainty, Alt-Right Anonymous Coward's results are entirely predictable.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:20am

      Re: IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it.

      "evidence is presented at trial"

      Not before a thorough review during discovery.



      Oh .. I see - you are not here for a discussion, ok.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:38am

      Re: IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it.

      Just on surface is the fact of traveling to DC and being among the few violent rioters to "livestream" their destruction. I'd guess that isn't coincidence, but that role was planned in conspiracy.

      What evidence says they were there for any reason other than to cover the Inauguration Day proceedings?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Paul Brinker, 20 Nov 2017 @ 9:38am

        Re: Re: IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it.

        My Fellow members of the Jury, this man, who lives in a town far far away, was your town of Washington DC at exactly the same time as a Riot. so I say,"What is a man from Nantucket, doing in Washington DC". It does not make sense, this entire case does not make sense. In fact your being here does not make a lick of sense at all.

        So members of this supposed jury, if the glove does not fit, you must acquit!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lttan3, 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:51am

      Re: IF innocent

      "IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it."


      .... you have no clue how American courts operate day to day.

      Jury trials are rare in America. Fair trials are extremely rare.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re: IF innocent

        Exactly.

        Prosecutor: Federal Sentencing Guidelines say you'll do a minimum of seventeen years if convicted. We'll offer you a chance to plead out on a lesser charge with a TWO year sentence, you'll do about 14 months maximum if you stay out of trouble in prison.

        Sign this Agreement right below where it says you forfeit all rights to Appeal....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:53am

      Re: IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it.

      "I'd guess that isn't coincidence, but that role was planned in conspiracy."

      I'd guess that it wasn't.

      Interestingly, while you attack this site for coming to its conclusions based on the evidence at hand, you have no problem rushing to a conclusion for which there is even less evidence.

      Wilful dishonesty from an AC account, and a Trump supporter to boot. No surprises this Monday afternoon...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 8:43am

      Re: IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it.

      Didn't you look at the referenced evidence?

      If not, why not?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 3:07pm

      Re: IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it.

      "But Techdirt has already judged him innocent without seeing any evidence -- willfully blind I'd say."

      "Just on surface is the fact of traveling to DC and being among the few violent rioters to "livestream" their destruction. I'd guess that isn't coincidence, but that role was planned in conspiracy."

      I'm guessing the irony of making these two claims goes right over your head.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 9:39pm

      Re: IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it.

      Er, point to the area of the law that says "conspiring to document" is illegal. If he was not participating in the riot, then he ain't guilty of rioting.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Paul, 21 Nov 2017 @ 12:24am

        Re: Re: IF innocent, then a fair trial will show it.

        The point of the conspiracy charge is to be able to go after several people who’s actions alone are legal but together break the law.

        The getaway driver, or the guy who cases the bank, or what’s attempted here is the guy showing video of the protest to do something. I dono, perhaps get more protesters, or push an illegal goal of making more people riot.

        End of the day, unless they have evidence saying he was trying to assist in illegal activitiy I don’t think this charge will stick.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    McGyver (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:31am

    Support landscape mode video...

    That's an awfully long shakey video...
    Aside from the observation "come on, who doesn't hate parking meters?" and "please hold the damn phone sideways, so it's in landscape mode" (seriously do we need to see so much sky and people's feet?)... The only real problem I can see for him may be the fact that (it seems like) he is whooping and hooting for some of the destruction... Which could be construed as promoting or condoning it...
    A prosecutor could conceivably use that against him.
    If anything can be learned from this besides nobody likes parking meters and portrait mode journalism is painful to watch, I suppose it's, no matter how you feel inside, keep your mouth shut and just film without giving anything but unbiased commentary or that may come back to bite you in the ass.
    Personally... I blame the Russians for this... To some degree their meddling in the election and efforts to incite violence and unrest lead to this.
    I wonder if any defendants are exploring that line of reasoning that Russian social media incitement and perhaps even operatives within the crowd started the violence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:34am

    Please tell me you guys didn't just do the "add-up-the-maximum-sentences" thing, I'll be vaguely sad if you did the "add-up-the-maximum-sentences" thing, you do read Popehat sometimes, right? Ken has this post on sentencing guidelines...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:46am

      Re:

      'Alexei Wood faces up to 60 years in prison for moving alongside and videotaping rioters as they protested President Donald Trump's inauguration in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20.'

      'With new felony charges including urging to riot, conspiracy to riot and destruction of property, many of the defendants are facing up to 80 years in prison. Many other defendants, among them journalists, are facing more than 70 years.'

      If the source material got it wrong feel free to correct them and provide evidence as to why they got it wrong, as as far as I can tell TD's coverage is based upon the source material when it comes to potential jail time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 12:43pm

        Re: Re:

        If the prosecutors can say "80 years" to threaten people, it's fair game to say the same thing when reporting it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 2:29pm

          "Make this easy on both of us, don't MAKE me take the extreme option..."

          On the one hand doing so seems like doing their job threatening people for them('If they decide they don't like you here's what they could do to you...'), while at the same time much like someone who goes around threatening to take a baseball bat to people's kneecaps but only tends to kick people in the shins, while what they do is important, what they threaten to do is almost as important.

          Yes the sentences tend to be much lower than those reporting and/or writing articles tend to mention, but the fact remains that prosecutors aren't threatening people with what they are likely to get in order to get them to cave and accept a plea deal, they are presenting a worst case, 'Here's what we can hit you with if you have the gall to demand a trial'-scenario in order to force a plea deal, and as such it's worth noting just how bad the threats really are, even if they're almost never carried out in full.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:41am

    "Protest? What protest?"

    If the government finds a way to hang one on Wood, independent journalists and those working for smaller agencies will start steering clear of protest coverage just to be on the safe side. And that may be the government's unstated goal -- fewer eyes witnessing anti-government sentiment and/or the tactics used by law enforcement against people utilizing their First Amendment rights.

    Assuming this isn't 'just' a prosecutor trying to strong-arm people into accepting plea deals(and how screwed up is it that that's the 'better' option?) for easy wins, I suspect that this may be the goal.

    If simply recording a protest/riot is treated as no different than being an active participant in one then you're going to have a hard time finding people willing to risk it. Protests are designed to draw attention to a problem, and if no-one's aware of it happening then it might as well not have.

    As well, with no third-party recordings it's much harder to prove what did and did not happen, on the parts of both the protesters and police, such that it becomes a 'their word vs ours' situation, allowing police to control the narrative and claim whatever is most convenient.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 7:57am

      Re: "Protest? What protest?"

      Wikipedia: Free speech zone

      Also known as First Amendment zones, free speech cages, and protest zones. These were made common by Bush II during his campaign events, and were usually placed far away from the event and the cameras. Obama had them occasionally too.

      I suspect that by the end of the Trump presidency Washington will have permanent free speech zones. Though probably outside the Capital Beltway.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 8:03am

    If the 2nd was the 1st we
    wouldn't be in this position .
    Unfortunately If the 2nd goes this will
    be more common occurrence

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 8:45am

      Re:

      Aren't you precious?

      Sure, just hold onto the conceit that you'll somehow be able to defend your First Amendment rights via your many, many guns. I'm sure that will work out well for you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        steell (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 9:03am

        Re: Re:

        Are you sure the "many, many guns" are not already defending your First Amendment Rights?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 9:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Why, yes I am. Please produce a (credible, journalistic, verifiable) report of a case where someone's First Amendment rights were infringed -- be sure you know what does and what does not constitute "infringement" -- AND where those very same rights were restored to them via guns.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 10:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The problem here is that you're too narrowly focused on the bill of rights instead of the human rights upon which they're based. If you look at other countries, pretty much any rebellion against a dictatorship fits the bill.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 8:47am

      Re:

      Comment unclear, perhaps you could explain in clear, concise language exactly what that sort of thing would involve?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 8:56am

    "In the criminal justice system, civil protest offenses are considered especially heinous. In Washington DC, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Protester Unit. These are their stories."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 9:14am

    Disinfecting Sunlight

    Diseases rarely if ever wish to be subjected to disinfection.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 10:08am

    we all know the rules. if an innocent person, who can easily be prosecuted, is prosecuted and actually found guilty, the points given to the prosecutor are in the thousands!

    what the hell is happening to the USA?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 10:47am

      Re:

      At least you can appeal to the public and the governo...

      "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." - a Texas primary voter commenting on a questionable execution approved by Gov. Rick Perry

      Never mind.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 10:42am

    Lost and regained is not the same as defended.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 11:22am

    "Trial Set To Start For Journalist Facing Decades In Prison For Covering Inauguration Day Protests"

    Somehow I doubt this is actually the case. Not that this isn't horrible that he's being charged at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 12:05pm

    The biggest crime I see is the idiot that can't record a video correctly!!!Turn your smartphone 90 degrees!!!!! Why do people keep doing this crap? Big annoying black borders!!! If you ever plan to watch your video on anything other then your smartphone, TURN YOUR PHONE!!! Should just turn it anyway and get into the habit. it's a good idea to do with pictures also.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 12:12pm

    THE VIDEO

    It would be interesting if he DEMANDED that his video not be used by the State/Gov for anything..
    REMOVE it as evidence..for Anyone Caught in the video Doing harm..
    THEN ask the other journalist to do the same.

    This alone is the biggest deal he can do. ITS HIS property. But the State wishes to use it to Identify Persons that caused damage..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 12:20pm

      Re: THE VIDEO

      Oh yes, I'm sure that spoliation of evidence in a criminal trial will go over swimmingly with the trial judge. As will conspiracy to obstruct justice by trying to enlist others to do the same. Well done, counselor.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 3:20pm

    I am of two minds here, there is always a split.

    The freedom of express, freedom of the press is very important. However, there is a point in the whole process where the press becomes or creates the story rather than the story being natural and unto itself.

    Specifically, I wonder what effect the presence of a guy like this (and many others) with cameras had on the overall situation? Does the coverage encourage more bad acts, making them at minimum accessories to the crimes?

    Moreover, look at his outfit. This journalist (who is suppose to report) looks like he came ready to take part in a riot and in fact to encourage it to happen.

    The truth is that the guy isn't a journalist, he is a selfie videographer. He basically videos his life. His life in this case was to go participate in a riot. Trying to claim "I am just a journalist" is to ignore the very reason he is there to begin with. Journalists cover all sorts of stories. This guy documents his life and his beliefs. He went to the riot not to report the story, but to be the story.

    So yes, I believe very strongly in freedom of the press. But I also believe that the freedom of the press can only exist when it is not watered down to include anyone with a camera in their hand (we all have them, called phones). He appears to be trying to use the journalistic shield to cover both his intentions and the bad acts his presence encouraged.

    He isn't reporting. He is an active participant. Having a camera doesn't magically make that disappear.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ryunosuke (profile), 20 Nov 2017 @ 4:25pm

      Re:

      So you are an authoritative expert on who is and who is not a journalist now? Which govt agency do you work for that is responsible for deciding who is and who isn't a journalist?

      You forgot a key point, ever since the advent of the camera (and I dare say even before THAT), Citizen level journalism has been a thing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2017 @ 9:25pm

        Re: Re:

        MyNameHere is an expert on authority. Kissing up to it, shilling for it, defending it to the death.

        His "freedom for the press" merely extends to writing in support of authoritarianism then bitching about it when his garbage gets reported by functioning humans with a fragment of morality and restraint in their body.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Matthew Cline (profile), 21 Nov 2017 @ 7:05am

      Re:

      He isn't reporting. He is an active participant. Having a camera doesn't magically make that disappear.

      Just merely being in the presence of rioters doesn't make him an active participant, and him being there to film the riot doesn't magically make him a participant either.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Thanks To Our Sponsors

The Techdirt Free Speech Edition
is a partnership with

with sponsorship from:

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.