Activists protesting in a public park outside an oil refinery in Texas were told by a private security guard that it was illegal to point their cameras in the direction of the refinery.
The security guard first told them it was Valero’s law, referring to the private refinery based in Manchester, a neighborhood in Houston.
But when pressed further, he said it was both a state and federal law.
It’s obvious he didn’t know what he was talking about, but that has never stopped a man with a badge before.
On Thursday, November 14th when filming near the Valero refinery in Manchester TSB organizers were stopped and approached by two officers of the notoriously violent and corrupt Houston Police Department. E.T. Ramirez, badge number 8407 and D. Jimenez, badge number 8105, claimed that it was against the law to film near Valero, but when questioned about which law that was, neither officer could name it. Upon further questioning one officer simply stated, “9/11.”
The police continually harassed the organizers demanding that they produce ID’s. One of the organizers refused to cooperate, to which an officer replied, “If you’re not doing anything wrong and you don’t have any warrants or anything then you shouldn’t have any problem giving me your ID.”
This is emblematic of the repression directed at anyone that attempts to speak out against the corporations that are systematically poisoning their neighbors. Valero, their private security, and the Houston Police Department sends a clear message to the community: if you question Valero, they’ll question you.
After continued resistance to their requests to produce identification the police retreated to their vehicle for a few minutes before coming back to let the TSB crew know they could leave, but not before asking one last time if they were “sure” they didn’t want to show them some ID…
Later that same day the crew was interviewing a Manchester resident who lives right next to the Valero refinery and who wanted to raise her voice and speak up about Valero’s egregious practices. While filming the interview in a public park –the only park in Manchester– and not five minutes into the process Valero’s private security approached the scene. The security guard, much like the police, proved once again that Valero will do everything in its power to silence anyone attempting to expose the injustice and abuse it perpetrates daily.
This video documents these interactions with Valero security, which would be comical if it weren’t so tragic for the residents who have to deal with this type of police harassment on a daily basis.