Individual citizens have been alerted to the ridiculous abuse of power by St. Petersburg “Special Magistrate” Dorthea Beane in having yours truly thrown out of a public meeting for using a cell phone to record the proceedings. Two things have become obvious as this has been further investigated: 1.) Dorthea Beane broke the law and abused her power and 2)There is a pattern of abuse of power among government officials emerging in America. Fortunately, there is good news – citizens are stepping up and taking matters in their own hands. More on that below.
Video of Police Officers in Ohio confiscating two cell phones from citizens at a Congressman’s public town hall in a public building where two mainstream cameras were recording live.
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First on Special Magistrate Dorthea Beane. She has violated Florida Sunshine Law. A request for the city to analyze this situation is underway, but the city couldn’t produce a response as quickly as some involved Florida Citizens. Hat tip to an activist from the Brevard area who produced this official opinion from Brevard County stating that cell phone videos are specifically allowed under the Florida Sunshine law for Special Magistrates conducting code enforcement business.
The Special Magistrate was instructed by the Brevard County Attorney in the memo as follows:
“A rule or policy which prohibits the unobtrusive video recording of a public meeting is impermissible under Florida’s Sunshine Law.” Full Special Magistrate Video Memo Here
Secondly a trend is developing, the videos on this post show police who actually forcefully remove small recording devices from the hands of citizens against their will during public meetings. Congressman Chabbot in Ohio decided, on his own with no law to support him, that he would not allow ordinary citizens to record the proceedings of his town hall meeting on 8/25/2011. Citizens protested but to no avail. They “permitted” live television cameras recorded this unconstitutional seizure but they certainly won’t reveal all the Congressman said in the meeting which was the intention of the engaged citizens. Apparently the Congressman, the police, and Special Magistrate Beane don’t remember the billl of rights which states:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
MORE VIDEO OF THE SAME CONFISCATION FROM ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE
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The Good news. Citizens are sick of this nonsense. So they have formed togehter in a new project called “BIG VOICES MEDIA”. They, we, you and me, are going to be the Media from now on. The NEW media. You can learn more at http://bvmproject.com/.
I am an individual citizen concerned about the impact of local govenrment on our lives. I will be registering with Big Voices Media so there is no doubt that I am a member of the media too. A member that you can trust.
David McKalip, M.D.