An Alaska man was cited for video recording inside a federal building despite a 2010 settlement stating that we are allowed to video record “building entrances, lobbies, foyers, corridors and auditoriums for news purposes.”
However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alaska determined he was not a journalist because he had once obtained a business license in Alaska that listed his company, Bunny Boots Ink, under the “independent artists, writers, and performers” category, a license which expired last year.
Therefore, a federal protective service officer ordered him out of the building, telling him he was “an entertainer, not a news journalist.”
But there is no license requirement to be a journalist in the United States, something that should be known to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, so perhaps another lawsuit is needed to set the record straight.
The videographer, who goes by Bunny Boots Ink on Youtube and also goes by David Verner on other videos is apparently named Daniel Palmer, according to the Alaska business license database (screenshots posted below). He was also the same man who was detained by TSA last year in Atlanta for recording a checkpoint in a video that went viral.
Palmer first visited the federal courthouse in Anchorage on July 8, which also appears to double as a visitors center, meaning visitors have to provide identification and have their whole bodies scanned before entering the building to obtain information on the Last Frontier.
He was eventually ordered out of the courthouse by a Department of Homeland Security officer, even though he handed them the 2010 Homeland Security bulletin that confirms photography is allowed in federal buildings.
He returned to the courthouse July 14, which is the video above, where he was told he needed to have a journalism license in order to exercise his First Amendment right to record, so was ordered to leave that day as well under threat of arrest.
On July 15, he obtained a new business license under Buddy Boots Ink that places him in the “news syndicates” category (posted below), forcing the U.S. Attorney’s Office to have to find a new excuse to clamp down on his First Amendment right to record, in case he decides to revisit their invasive visitors center again.
Nevertheless, he still has the citations from the July 8 incident to contend with, which arrived by mail on July 16; one for “photographing entrances, lobbies, foyers, corridors and auditoriums for other then (sic) news purposes,” the other for “failure to comply for direction of authorized person.”
In the first citation, they referred to the policy below to back up their claim that he was not recording for news purposes, but who are they to decide what is newsworthy?
Just the fact that they are trying to play his news editor makes this a news story, which should be enough to get both those citation dismissed.
Call the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Anchorage at (907) 271-5071.