To: Kevin Drumm, president of BCC
Debra Morello, VP student affairs
Rich David, public affairs officer
Joseph O'Conner, chief of public safety
Dear President Drumm, et. al.,
Yesterday, while at the jobs fair co-sponsored by BCC
and the Joint Landowners Coalition of NY (JLCNY),
I was detained by BCC Chief of Public Safety Joseph O'Conner
and ordered not to video record the event.
While Officer O'Conner was very polite and courteous,
there was a grave and implicit threat to my physical well
being if I did not comply, as he was not only armed with
a pistol, but also a TASAR, both of which are potentially
lethal weapons, in addition to the threat of imprisonment
for trespass or other invented and unwarranted charge.
He told me that I had not been cleared by Public Affairs
officer Rich David, and when I requested clearance,
was told there was no way to do that.
I was also approached by another officer (I did
not get his name) who was a bit more severe and aggressive
in manner than Officer O'Conner, who demanded to see my press
credentials, which I provided. He also interrogated me,
which lacking a civilian complaint, probable cause of a crime,
and my being afforded an attorney to be present,
is also a violation of my rights under the
United States Constitution.
Since this was a public event at a public campus,
it is my assertion that I was within my First Amendment
rights to a) be there, and b) document the event.
I do not believe that neither Officer O'Connor, nor Rich David,
nor any person is empowered to restrict the Constitutionally protected
rights of citizens under threat of force, arrest, and violence.
Also, there is a case from a United States Second Circuit
Court of Appeals called Demarest v. Athol-Orange Community Television,
188 F. Supp. 82 (D.Mass. 2002) which asserts that citizen journalists
have every right to report on events as professional journalists.
No press credentials necessary.
Additionally, other people (including journalists, such as Tom
Wilbur and Steve Reilly) with small cameras, video-capable
cell-phones, and pens/paper were present who were not
detained and prevented from reporting as I was.
I was very frightened by these threats against my person,
and considering I was completely within my constitutional rights
to be there, I consider these egregious violations of my rights,
and actionable offenses under law.
I would urge Broome Community College to CEASE AND DESIST
a) restraining persons under threat of physical harm lacking probable cause, and
b) restraining the rights of citizens and journalists to report on public events
on a public campus.
William Huston, O2E-TV
May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)