Alabama Cops Retaliate Against Citizen Journalist
One day after PINAC posted a video showing an Alabama cop snatching a camera from a man recording a police station, sparking a call flood from hundreds of angry readers, that same police department retaliated by having the man arrested on felony charges.
Wetumpka police claim that Keith Golden aka Bama Cameradisrupted their emergency phone lines by posting their non-emergency phone number in his video, which we then reposted in our article.
The exact charge is interference with public safety communications, which carries a maximum ten-year sentence.
But we already know Wetumpka police officers are idiots when it comes to the law, inventing it as they go along while trampling on the Constitution, so there is little chance this charge is going to stick.
After all, there is no crime against posting a publicly listed phone number of a public agency encouraging the public to call as the Boston Police Department learned when they tried to charge me with a felony in 2013.
And there is no crime in citizens calling the police department to voice their displeasure in their actions. That falls under the First Amendment’s right to petition government for redress of grievances, which is especially necessary considering Wetumpka police officer Charles Shannon told Golden, “I don’t care about your First Amendment rights,” before snatching his camera last week.
As it is now, the Wetumpka Police Department cannot even get their story straight as to whether they shut down their own lines in attempt to keep the phones from ringing or if the calls somehow shut down the lines.
According to one article in the Wetumpka Herald, police “had to shut down its phone lines due to an overload of calls from across the country in response to the video.”
But then in the followup article about Golden’s arrest, the Wetumpka Herald made it seem as if the overwhelming number of calls shut the phone lines down.
We know they shut down their Facebook page after it started getting flooded with negative comments about Shannon’s actions, who turned off the camera before telling Golden that he could possibly be a terrorist, not realizing that Golden’s body cam was live streaming.
Wetumpka police officer Charles Shannon
Shannon, for his part, claims his body cam was not turned on, even though he has been wearing it since last year, according to a photo he posted on his Facebook page.
And we also know that one bullying corporal from the department accused PINAC reporter Felipe Hemming of calling their 911 line to make a non-emergency inquiry about Golden’s arrest Tuesday night.
As if that is even possible from Southern California.
So it is obvious they are grasping for straws here, unable to realize they are only sinking themselves deeper. Listen to Hemming’s initial call to the department, followed by the corporal’s call to Hemming below.
Because Golden lives outside Wetumpka city limits, his arrest warrant had to be served by deputies from the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office, who he described as being very professional.
“They allowed me to make a phone call and grab my things,” Golden said in a telephone interview withPhotography is Not a CrimeTuesday night after bonding out of jail, where he remained for four hours.
“They also did not mind my friend recording the arrest.”
Golden, who spent 23 years in the army, launched his YouTube channel last year in an attempt to prove that Alabama law enforcement agencies respect the rights of citizens to record.
However, he was arrested by Birmingham police less than two weeks after posting his first video; a story we covered here.
Since then, he has posted more than 30 videos, mostly of him conducting various First Amendment audits around the state. He said he has never had an issue with Elmore County sheriff’s deputies and at first did not have an issue with Wetumpka police, even posting a positive comment on their Facebook page last year.
But that all changed on June 2 when he was confronted by Shannon, who acted as if he was protecting the town of less than 7,000 people from a terrorist attack.
“They treated me like the same people I use to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.
Video of his arrest is posted below along with several numbers to call.
Wetumpka police non-emergency line – (334) 567-5321.
Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis – (334) 567-5147.
Chief District Assistant Attorney for Elmore County C.J. Robinson – (334) 567-2237.
Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce – (334) 567-4811.
UPDATE: The Wetumpka mayor’s office issued a press release, claiming the snatching of Golden’s camera and the forced patdown was nothing more than a “brief investigation,” but the calls and comment floods to their phone lines and Facebook page consisted of “threats to officers’ lives.”
However, they neglect to mention that they were deleting every comment from the Facebook page, so they have no evidence to back up their claim.
Meanwhile, we have video evidence that they violated Golden’s Constitutional rights.
UPDATE II: We would also like to make it clear that our purpose in call flooding the police department is not to jam up their lines but to let them we know we are paying attention. And I would also recommend readers to keep that in mind when calling. Just make one phone call to express yourself. Don’t make repeated calls to repeat what you’ve already said.
We have the right to petition government for redress of grievances. That’s all that this is.