Florida cops once again strip reporter of First Amendment rights



Some people think that journalists have more rights than civilian non-journalists when it comes to accessing police scenes.

That is not true, of course, as journalists and civilians both have the same legal right to document police investigations in public as long as they don’t interfere.

However, Orlando police seem to believe that journalists have less rights than civilians when it comes to walking down a public sidewalk.

Check out the following video where a TV reporter is trying to get past a police checkpoint to film the accident scene after a police chase, only to be denied as several civilians casually stroll and ride their bikes past the checkpoint.

The incident occurred last October and was recorded after another journalist, Patrick Pegues, had been arrested for trying to walk down the same path where a multitude of non-journalists were walking.

The officer’s name is Paul Cunnard. You can rate his performance here.

Click “read more” beneath the video to read the exchange between the officer and the reporter, especially the part where the officer says “my boss has a gun, what’s your boss got?”.



Reporter:


So even though people are walking up and down the sidewalk, I can’t go down there?

Cop:

This is as far as I can let you go. You can walk but you leave that camera there.

Reporter:

That doesn’t make any sense, that’s not illegal for my camera to get closer if a citizen is allowed to get closer.



Cop:

You said it, you’re the media, and I didn’t make you that and I didn’t you know. I’m just telling you, you’re the media.

Reporter:

So the media gets different rules than civilians?

Cop:

Absolutely.



Reporter:

So you’re allowed to stop media further back than you can civilians?



Cop:


Absolutely, I go by what my boss tells me.



Reporter:


I understand, that’s what I’m doing.



Cop:


My boss has a gun, what’s your boss got?

Female cop:

You will not go past this point here or we will arrest you. We already arrested a media person today.

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Some people think that journalists have more rights than civilian non-journalists when it comes to accessing police scenes.

That is not true, of course, as journalists and civilians both have the same legal right to document police investigations in public as long as they don’t interfere.

However, Orlando police seem to believe that journalists have less rights than civilians when it comes to walking down a public sidewalk.

Check out the following video where a TV reporter is trying to get past a police checkpoint to film the accident scene after a police chase, only to be denied as several civilians casually stroll and ride their bikes past the checkpoint.

The incident occurred last October and was recorded after another journalist, Patrick Pegues, had been arrested for trying to walk down the same path where a multitude of non-journalists were walking.

The officer’s name is Paul Cunnard. You can rate his performance here.

Click “read more” beneath the video to read the exchange between the officer and the reporter, especially the part where the officer says “my boss has a gun, what’s your boss got?”.



Reporter:


So even though people are walking up and down the sidewalk, I can’t go down there?

Cop:

This is as far as I can let you go. You can walk but you leave that camera there.

Reporter:

That doesn’t make any sense, that’s not illegal for my camera to get closer if a citizen is allowed to get closer.



Cop:

You said it, you’re the media, and I didn’t make you that and I didn’t you know. I’m just telling you, you’re the media.

Reporter:

So the media gets different rules than civilians?

Cop:

Absolutely.



Reporter:

So you’re allowed to stop media further back than you can civilians?



Cop:


Absolutely, I go by what my boss tells me.



Reporter:


I understand, that’s what I’m doing.



Cop:


My boss has a gun, what’s your boss got?

Female cop:

You will not go past this point here or we will arrest you. We already arrested a media person today.

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Carlos Miller
Carlos Millerhttps://pinacnews.com
Editor-in-Chief Carlos Miller spent a decade covering the cop beat for various newspapers in the Southwest before returning to his hometown Miami and launching Photography is Not a Crime aka PINAC News in 2007. He also published a book, The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which is available on Amazon.

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