Friday, August 29, 2008

"Law and Order" in Denver?

This is disturbing.

Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel.

...The sheriff's officer is seen telling Eslocker the sidewalk is owned by the hotel. Later, he is seen pushing Eslocker off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic, forcing him to the other side of the street.

I suppose that the first matter to be resolved is whether or not, in fact, the hotel actually "owns" the sidewalk.

If they do, well, the producer was in the wrong.

But that is not the commonly-accepted understanding. Sidewalks have, by and large, been treated as 'public property,' owned by the municipality. In fact, most munis have a "60-foot rule," (or similar), meaning that the land 30 feet on either side of the centerline of a street is PUBLIC property.

I don't really care that the ABC guy was looking for dirt on the Dems. He could have been doing the same thing in St Paul, with the Pubbies. Makes no difference to me whatsoever.

I do NOT like the attitude of the cops, nor their un-professional aggression.

And I particularly do NOT like the restriction on information-gathering by a nationally-known news organization.

3 comments:

Dan said...

Here in Vegas, the sidewalks in front the Las Vegas Strip casinos are considered the casino's property, so this concept is not new and it has raised certain first amendment rights for the people passing out the pamphlets advertising prostitutes.

Emily said...

Another infrequent case where I completely agree with you. The cops were up to it with some protesters and other journalists, too. Unprofessional at best, illegal at worst.

Dad29 said...

We probably agree much more than you think we do, emily.