Friday, August 27, 2010

Investigative Reporters BEWARE a Sad Day for America!

By Ray Fernandez

In the age of new media when most cell phones are equipped with cameras and video that can turn a regular citizen into an investigative reporter that can be posted on media sites such as YouTube and made available to millions of viewers government has a right to be worried when citizens try to shine a light in the behavior of public servants who are paid with your tax dollars.

Rudy writes

"I am refused court access and threatened if I try to appeal by more court punishment since I was denied access (standing) the last time and I could not pay the $23,000 fine for thinking I have an interest in either my mother or her house, our home. The more we try to bring the truth out the more we are punished for it."

In the recent Gulf Oil disaster Reporters were threatened with arrest. News stories were yanked. Scientific reports buried. And data from the NOAA research vessel—initially sent to the region to take readings of the seafloor—was suppressed and YouTube videos were posted of reporters attempting to talk to workers who where forbidden to do so.

Most elder victims of elder abuse I have talked to are very afraid to talk about the abuse because of retribution,backlash,ridicule and intimidation they receive when attempting to report elder financial or elder abuse and when my own mother attempted to file a report for abuse she was ridiculed, the officer that took the report discredited her because "her hand was shaking when she signed the report" and "there was no signs of abuse" Ps. she was in a wheelchair where she was walking on her own power before the abuse took place, this is the protection you can expect from your law enforcement officials if the system is not reformed.

Others like 25 year old Anthony Graber who tried to report abuse are not so lucky. Graber, a sergeant with the Maryland Air National Guard, is now facing 16 years in prison, not for dangerous driving, but for a YouTube video he posted after receiving a speeding ticket.

Just like many of us who were pushed into elder advocacy when our loves one were abused, Graber never thought himself being an advocate for accountability.

According to the report the video, filmed with a camera mounted on Graber's motorcycle helmet designed to record biking stunts rather than police abuse, shows a plain clothes officer jumping out of an unmarked car and pointing a pistol at the motorcyclist exposing the officer's abusive attitude and putting the citizen's life in danger when he sworn an oath to protect the very same.

After he posted the video on YouTube, police raided Graber's home, seized computers and put him in jail.

Investigative reporters, whether professional or just a common citizen with a cam face a grim future if caught video taping or reporting abuse of any type wether it is grandma getting tazered or a *citizen getting beat in the street by police officials.

It is interesting that the attorney David Rocah representing Graber said "The case is critical to the protection of democracy because I don't think you can have a free country in which public officials are able to criminally prosecute people who film what they are doing."

Graber who had never been arrested before,is being charged with illegal wiretapping and could face 16 years in jail.

"This is about shielding the policeman, a public servant, from journalistic scrutiny," Steve Rendall, a media analyst with Freedom and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), said. But don't expect to read the story on your local media as they are hard pressed to report on elder abuse or other sensitive topics.

I think that we can all agree on is public officers - public officials tasked with protecting the public interest - should not be able to hide behind such rules to avoid scrutiny.

Supporters of abusive behavior will argue privacy laws" but it is interesting to note that you can't walk through Washington Square [a public space in New York] without being recorded by dozens of video cameras run by the police." One might be tempted to ask, "What happens to our privacy then?"

In 2007, police in Florida arrested Carlos Miller, after the journalist photographed the arrest of a woman.The arrest prompted the reporter to start the blog Photography is Not a Crime where he has documented more than eight similar incidents.

Of course we all know just ask Investigative Reporter Janet Phelan, that it is all about intimidation,the ruining of lives and reputations and the silencing of a citizens G-d given right about speaking out against perceived abuses, a sad day for America indeed!

The case that comes to mind as an example of a citizen journalist filming police was arguably the case of Rodney King, a black man in Los Angeles who was assaulted by several police officers. His beating was filmed by a citizen standing at a nearby gas station.

Without video evidence, King, a convicted felon, may have stood little chance testifying against police officers in court.

If you want more information on this story just do a Google search on Anthony Graber

*Denver police officers were caught on video tackling and beating a 23-year-old man who was doing nothing but talking on a telephone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

P.O.A. is stealing money from our great Aunt. what can we the family
do to stop this person???