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.
I do not see any real complexity here. It is well established precedent that, in a public place, a citizen has the right to record events. Generally, the only potential restrictions on this are cases such as where such recording might endanger the lives or safety of others, compromise national security, impede a criminal investigation or the like. If there was any such broad ability to restrict public recording then the Rodney King trial would have never taken place.
This being stipulated, in this particular instance, the following section, of Federal Law, appears to have been violated:
Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law - Title 18, United States Code, Section 242:
"Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death."
"SummarySection 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.
For the purpose of Section 242, acts under "color of law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official's lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties [emphasis added]. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.
The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any"
Source: United States Department of Justice web site
This was not a public performance, by private parties (such as a concert), where attendees paid to be present or the performer(s) had proprietary rights to anything presented. It was a public building, where a public official was speaking and the general public was invited, at no charge. The ability to record such a public event can not be restricted to only "the media" as the officer attempted to imply. Furthermore, acting under the color of law, the Officer took the property of another through the use of "Force or Fear". In the state where I reside, that constitutes "Robbery" (a Felony) under the State Penal Code.
With respect to the Officers - or Congressman Chabot - being aware of the law(s) being violated, I can only say that I was taught this section, over thirty years ago, in my Law Enforcement academy along with another well established, universal, axiom of the law; "Ignorance of [the existence of] the law is no excuse to [the violation] of the law".
Will the criminals get away with this? Even in Nevada you couldn't get any odds on that bet unless sufficient pressure was brought by enough people & I wouldn't give any odds on that either.
Chabot is not the only astupid Republican Congressman.
I submit the name of Rob Woodall (GA-7), who gave as his reason for voting in favor of the 2.4 trillion debt limit increase, the promise that the Senate would vote on a constitutional amendment for balancing the budget. After he made this glittering statement of colossal ignorance, a lady in the audience asked him, "What if it's voted down?" To which his only reply was that we need to get out and vote. Well, the last time I checked, GA already has two Republican senators....
IS THERE ANYONE IN THE 7TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF GEORGIA WHO IS A TEA PARTY PERSON THAT CAN RUN AGAINST THIS GUY IN THE PRIMARY? HELP, PLEASE!!!!