Smith was at the Patriot Prayer rally at the waterfront last Sunday, which is a popular place in the Oregon city for events and protests. There were several other groups counterprotesting the Patriot Prayer group which is why police were there to keep the peace.
The police sectioned off an area for media personnel in the middle of the protests but when Smith attempted to enter the media area, cops told him he wasn’t allowed because he was a counterprotester. Smith repeatedly told the cops that he was on assignment as a correspondent with PINAC News and not a counterprotester.
Smith even showed the cops his PINAC issued press pass, but they still assumed that he was a counterprotester at the rally to start trouble.
It was then that Sergeant Mirau told Smith that he could enter the press area on the other side of the gate, as seen in the video.
Smith walks all the way to the other side of the media entrance area and crossed the yellow line for media only to be told by a different set of officers that he still was not allowed in the media area.
And this time officers even threatened to arrest Smith.
Smith tried getting the name and badge numbers of the officers but then other officers came to physically remove Smith from the general protest area.
Meanwhile, the corporate media reporters who were allowed to enter the area were photographing the altercation but it does not appear as if they were published.
Smith had this to say concerning the incident:
“I believe the Portland police trampled on my rights. I felt like they kidnapped me and moved me some where when they put their hands on me. I think we all should use the power of the law and legal remedies to get justice from police.”
The Portland police are familiar with Smith because they have arrested him several times in the past regarding police accountability activism through Film the Police Portland, a group he co-founded in 2013 along with his friend, Carrie Medina, who was assaulted and had her camera seized for recording police.
But all charges against Smith have since been dropped and Medina earlier this year prevailed in a lawsuit against police where they agreed to an $85,000 settlement.
Smith has filed an independent police review complaint against the police department because they denied him freedom of the press which is his First Amendment right.
The last thing he should expect at a free speech rally. Now he is looking for a civil rights attorney to take his case.