Despite the court ruling ordering police in Illinois not to enforce the state’s draconian wiretapping law, Chicago police continue to use it to intimidate citizens from recording them in public.
An activist named Micah Philbrook said he was nearly arrested Wednesday outside a courthouse where he was congregated with members of Occupy Chicago in support of the Nato 3.
The cops initially came up to them because other people in front of the courthouse had been tossing lit cigarettes into the nearby grass.
Twelve police officers, CPD and sheriffs, approached and demanded we move away from our belongings and show them our IDs. They claimed we could be starting fires, since cigarettes tossed in the area had been smoldering in the dry grass, and asked us to move to the other side of the street. I asked why I needed to show my ID and they said because they asked for it. While one cop was running our IDs, I took a picture of the assembled police. Immediately I was surrounded by four of the sheriffs, in all black with no visible badges or names. One demanded that I show them the picture or video I took and delete it. I asked them why? He said delete the picture. I asked why again and he said that I have to delete the picture. I asked what his name was and why he had no badge number. He told me his name was Chad Miller, badge #6431, and then repeated his “request”. I then asked him if he needed a warrant to look at the contents of my phone, and he said he did not. He said that it is illegal to film police in the state of Illinois and repeated that he does not need a warrant.
Philbrook knew the cop was lying but he decided not to fight it.
But, I caved. out of fear, or “live to fight another day”, or whatever. I caved. I justified it several ways, the arrest wouldn’t be strategic, there were no NLG around to observe, etc. but, regardless of why, in the end, I let his act of power intimidate me. I deleted the picture, showed him I didn’t take any videos, and he stepped away.
Yes, I feel upset and violated from the blatant lies and implied threat of force and harm this sheriff made, a person in a role that, according to what I’ve been taught my whole life, is synonymous with truth, bravery, and heroics.
I exchanged messages through Facebook with Philbrook, asking if he has plans to pursue legal action against Chicago police, but he said no.
its too much of a bother for this one incident, and without a lot of proof. and i am fairly certain i’ll have more opportunity in the near future to pursue legal battles over my 1st amendment rights. activism with occupy chicago tends to create those situations