City Issues Me Citation While I’m Covering Occupy Fort Myers Protest

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(Covering the protest tonight I received a citation and this Dixie cup)
By Carl-John X Veraja
No government ought to be without censors & where the press is free, no one ever will.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Washington, September 9, 1792

Right now, I’m very pressed for time. I need to get up in a few hours and drive to North Carolina and help a family member move. Therefore, I can not give the time to this article that it deserves at the moment.  But just a few pertinent things.

Just when I thought that freedom meant something, I was ticketed $130 while covering a protest in Fort Myers, Florida. Just a few hours ago.

Apparently, freedom means you can’t do what the constitution says you can do. I had to find this out by actually trying to cover a protest.

I was there because I had word the police may try to evict the protesters that evening.

I’m no lawyer but here’s a citation for you:
In Lovell v. City of Griffin, 303 U.S. 444 (1938), Chief Justice Hughes defined the press as, “every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.” (source Wikipedia)

Not to give anyone ideas.

Since I was there with the express purpose of writing for this blog, told the officers that was my intention, and even offered to leave why would I be issued a citation for being present?

Of course, the officers were just following orders.  This travesty is originating from the city.  The first thing we were told by the police when they arrived is that they didn’t want to discuss the constitution.
Since I am strapped for time I’m going to let some videos I shot for my YouTube Channel tell the rest of the story below.

However, I want to state that I’m shocked and outraged.  Not only is the city trampling our rights IMHO (and by extension yours) but the local newspaper, the News-Press is tuning out Occupy Fort Myers’ side of the story.

It was written they chose not to purchase insurance while I’ve heard from several sources in Occupy Fort Myers that they were unable to do so.  They couldn’t locate an insurance company that would write them a policy until they were enabled by the local NAACP which policy will become active today from what I was told.

I see no reason to disbelieve them.  At the first meeting I attended, I saw that Occupy Fort Myers was very careful to assemble a team in to make sure they had their bases covered legally.  And they have lawyers advising them.

In the meanwhile, I stayed to see the police response and that’s when all the Occupiers were told their presence would cause them to receive citations whether or not they agreed to leave.

Observe

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