AL ACLU & Newspaper Criticize Police for Arresting Citizen Journalist
The Alabama police department that had a man arrested on a felony charge of jamming up their emergency lines – even though he did not make a single call – is now taking heat from the local ACLU as well as the local newspaper.
But the Wetumpka Police Department is still sticking to its guns, threatening to arrest anybody else who posts their non-emergency phone number of (334) 567-5321.
They claim that by calling that number, it somehow turns into a 911 call, which they claim makes it difficult to respond to actual emergencies.
But all they were doing were exercising their First Amendment right to petition for redress of grievances by complaining about how officers ripped a camera out of Keith Golden’s hands for recording the police department from public property.
Here is what the director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama had to say to the Wetumpka Herald on the matter:
The managing editor of the Wetumpka Herald, William Carroll, wrote the following in an editorial over the weekend.
The Wetumpka Police Department also removed its Facebook page after receiving a barrage of negative comments from people criticizing them over their blatant violation of Golden’s Constitutional rights.
“I don’t care about your First Amendment rights,” Wetumpka police officer Charles Shannon told Golden.
“I don’t know if you’re a terrorist or not, trying to film our building.”
Golden is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army who spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting terrorists.
The felony charge Golden is facing is interference with public communications which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
He has been speaking to the Alabama ACLU but they still have not told him if they can represent him in the case, even though they have already acknowledged his rights were violated.
If you are an attorney in Alabama, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to reach out to him.
Read the Wetumpka police press release here.