Regrettably the Democrats do not have a monopoly on stupid Congressmen. It is an almost monopoly, as Democrats like Maxine Waters and Frederica Wilson lower the bar almost daily. But there is a Republican Congressman who has taken stupidity to a new level.
Who is it?
Steve Chabot of Ohio.
On August 22, Chabot held a town hall meeting. He held the meeting at a public school and Chabot’s staff ordered police to confiscate cell phone cameras.
Here is the video.
I don’t know any other way to put this. Chabot is a moron. First, you cannot confiscate the property of a private citizen without a warrant or some other due process. Second, and I will type this slowly just in case Chabot is reading this so he will understand this. PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT A CRIME.
If you go in public, you can expect to be photographed and recorded on video. Perhaps Chabot should go back and read the Constitution.
A call to Congressman Chabot’s office in Washington referred TPN to Chabot’s spokesman in his District office. Repeated calls to that office were not answered, as the line remained busy.
Perhaps the call the Congressman should get is a call to learn what the Bill of Rights guarantees or a call to get out of his job.
While the Ohio open records law does not specifically state whether you can use recording devices at a public meeting (i.e., a meeting of a governmental body required to be open to the public by law), the Ohio Attorney General has an issued an opinion stating that using them is permissible when it does not unduly interfere with the meeting. As a matter of practice, recording devices apparently are common in Ohio public meetings.
This is taken right from the Ohio Open Meetings act:
4. Audio and Video Recording
Audio and video recording of a public meeting cannot be prohibited,
but public bodies are permitted to establish reasonable rules regulating the use of recording equipment, such as requiring equipment to be silent, unobtrusive, self-contained, and self-powered to limit interference with the ability of others to hear, see, and participate in the meeting.
I hope this is circulated amongst his constituents come election time. Also, without the strong-arm of the police his unconstitutional order to confiscate people’s property could not be enforced. As an example the police officer as well as any other officers involved in this blatant violation of people’s rights should be immediately terminated from their jobs. Because an official tells you to do something, God given common sense, and not to mention the law, should always be paramount before acting on those orders. Had Chabot ordered that any one filming, taking pictures or otherwise be arrested and taken to jail would not the officers question those orders? I would certainly imagine that the officers involved would know something was wrong if Chabot ordered that violators be beaten, shot. Accountability is the key to stopping these abuses of power and authority. If the officers were fired, arrested and then sued for violating the citizens rights, do you not think that next time others will think twice about following such ridiculous orders. If Chabot were arrested, sued by the citizens and then fired by his constituents, would not others in authority think twice before violating the rights of the very people who put him in office? I believe a coming to Jesus meeting between both parties would commence and this type of abuse would end immediately. As for his fellow Republicans, where is the cry for his removal?
Sorry Russell, but you are grossly myopic on that view. You need to read . . .well . . .what I already explained above. They were likely unaware that was an unlawful order, even if they felt like it was wrong. Poeple with your mindset are kinda dangerous to the very liberties you claim to hold dear. You are calling for their heads, and we don't even remotely know what may have taken place that wasn't mentioned in the article. For all you know, one of those officers could have put up a fuss, but was told it was legal and begrudgingly went along with it. Maybe Not. The point is . . .we don't know . . .and you are calling blindly, naively, for retribution. AGAIN: Police officers can't be expected to be Constitutional Law experts, nor can they reasonably be expected to know the Ohio Open Meeting act like the backs of their hands.
This is on the Congressman, and possibly the officers supervisors.