Saturday, June 26, 2010

How Many Ways Can a Single Police Department Violate Our First Amendment Rights?

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution declares:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In Dearborn, they are giving one religion special status (establishment of religion), prohibiting the free exercise of our religion, preventing our freedom of speech, and denying our right to assemble peaceably. (And we haven't even gotten to other rights that were violated, such as having our cameras illegally seized, having a police department illegally retain information that exonerates us, having us wrongly charged and imprisoned, etc.) At least we still have the right to expose injustice through the press, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. We'll see what happens.

***UPDATE*** After reviewing the First Amendment, I see that they also violated our freedom of the press. Our video footage was to be used for a journalistic purpose. And since the Dearborn Police Department illegally seized our cameras, and has refused to return them, we have been denied our right to expose the corruption and routine civil rights violations of the department. It appears that the Constitution means absolutely nothing in Dearborn.

22 comments:

Anthony Rogers said...

I don't know what they hope to accomplish by keeping the video cameras. Eventually they will have to hand them over. If they have not erased the footage, then it will expose their clear breach of your rights; if they have erased the footage, they will be in the unenviable position in court of explaining how three cameras all managed to "accidentally" get erased and also why they would have been so concerned to hold on to your video cameras if there was no relevant footage on them.

runningoki said...

The Constitution of the U.S. states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The Constitution also says that all other powers are left to the state, so it is possible for (people willing) any state of teh union to establish a state religion; however, that extreme is not the case here. The Constitution of the State of Michigan offers the following protections to its citizens.

Article 1, Sections 2-4
2. Equal protection; discrimination,
3. Assembly, consultation, instruction, petition.,
4 Freedom of worship and religious belief; appropriations.

Here are those sections in their entirety:
2 Equal protection; discrimination.
Sec. 2. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of his civil or political rights or be discriminated against in the exercise thereof because of religion, race, color or national origin. The legislature shall implement this section by appropriate legislation.
History: Const. 1963, Art. I, §2, Eff. Jan. 1, 1964.

Assembly, consultation, instruction, petition.
Sec. 3. The people have the right peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, to
instruct their representatives and to petition the government for redress of grievances.
History: Const. 1963, Art. I, §3, Eff. Jan. 1, 1964.
Former Constitution: See Const. 1908, Art. II, §2.

4 Freedom of worship and religious belief; appropriations.
Sec. 4. Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own
conscience. No person shall be compelled to attend, or, against his consent, to contribute to the
erection or support of any place of religious worship, or to pay tithes, taxes or other rates for
the support of any minister of the gospel or teacher of religion. No money shall be appropriated
or drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious sect or society, theological or
religious seminary; nor shall property belonging to the state be appropriated for any such
purpose. The civil and political rights, privileges and capacities of no person shall be diminished
or enlarged on account of his religious belief.

I have not seen any legislation that gives the police department of Dearborn authority over their state's democratically drafted constitution.

I would like to see a response from the ACLU of this matter. Although they seem to hate Christians but claim they defend civil liberties. I wonder what their response would be.

http://www.aclumich.org/get-help/submit-complaint/

runningoki said...

The Constitution of the U.S. states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The Constitution also says that all other powers are left to the state, so it is possible for (people willing) any state of teh union to establish a state religion; however, that extreme is not the case here. The Constitution of the State of Michigan offers the following protections to its citizens.

Article 1, Sections 2-4
2. Equal protection; discrimination,
3. Assembly, consultation, instruction, petition.,
4 Freedom of worship and religious belief; appropriations.

Here are those sections in their entirety:
2 Equal protection; discrimination.
Sec. 2. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of his civil or political rights or be discriminated against in the exercise thereof because of religion, race, color or national origin. The legislature shall implement this section by appropriate legislation.
History: Const. 1963, Art. I, §2, Eff. Jan. 1, 1964.

Assembly, consultation, instruction, petition.
Sec. 3. The people have the right peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, to
instruct their representatives and to petition the government for redress of grievances.
History: Const. 1963, Art. I, §3, Eff. Jan. 1, 1964.
Former Constitution: See Const. 1908, Art. II, §2.

4 Freedom of worship and religious belief; appropriations.
Sec. 4. Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own
conscience. No person shall be compelled to attend, or, against his consent, to contribute to the
erection or support of any place of religious worship, or to pay tithes, taxes or other rates for
the support of any minister of the gospel or teacher of religion. No money shall be appropriated
or drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious sect or society, theological or
religious seminary; nor shall property belonging to the state be appropriated for any such
purpose. The civil and political rights, privileges and capacities of no person shall be diminished
or enlarged on account of his religious belief.

I have not seen any legislation that gives the police department of Dearborn authority over their state's democratically drafted constitution.

I would like to see a response from the ACLU of this matter. Although they seem to hate Christians but claim they defend civil liberties. I wonder what their response would be.

http://www.aclumich.org/get-help/submit-complaint/

runningoki said...

The Constitution of the U.S. states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The Constitution also says that all other powers are left to the state, so it is possible for (people willing) any state of teh union to establish a state religion; however, that extreme is not the case here. The Constitution of the State of Michigan offers the following protections to its citizens.

Article 1, Sections 2-4
2. Equal protection; discrimination,
3. Assembly, consultation, instruction, petition.,
4 Freedom of worship and religious belief; appropriations.

Here are those sections in their entirety:
2 Equal protection; discrimination.
Sec. 2. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of his civil or political rights or be discriminated against in the exercise thereof because of religion, race, color or national origin. The legislature shall implement this section by appropriate legislation.
History: Const. 1963, Art. I, §2, Eff. Jan. 1, 1964.

Assembly, consultation, instruction, petition.
Sec. 3. The people have the right peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, to
instruct their representatives and to petition the government for redress of grievances.
History: Const. 1963, Art. I, §3, Eff. Jan. 1, 1964.
Former Constitution: See Const. 1908, Art. II, §2.

4 Freedom of worship and religious belief; appropriations.
Sec. 4. Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own
conscience. No person shall be compelled to attend, or, against his consent, to contribute to the
erection or support of any place of religious worship, or to pay tithes, taxes or other rates for
the support of any minister of the gospel or teacher of religion. No money shall be appropriated
or drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious sect or society, theological or
religious seminary; nor shall property belonging to the state be appropriated for any such
purpose. The civil and political rights, privileges and capacities of no person shall be diminished
or enlarged on account of his religious belief.

I have not seen any legislation that gives the police department of Dearborn authority over their state's democratically drafted constitution.

I would like to see a response from the ACLU of this matter. Although they seem to hate Christians but claim they defend civil liberties. I wonder what their response would be.

http://www.aclumich.org/get-help/submit-complaint/

JIBBS said...

I don't see how erasing the material does the Dearborn PD any favors. Not only would it display the highest degree of suspicion, but may prove to be futile in the end. Very often digital material that has been "erased" can be restored.

Van Grungy said...

I guess you missed my comment about "high value investivative journalism" earlier.

Jeeze, I'm Canadian and know more about your awesome Bill of Rights.

The Fat Man said...

David Wood, Nabeel, Nageen.

Might I suggest next time you bring someone with a Smart Phone, like a Droid or even a Iphone. That way you can take video live and stream it to youtube or another site on the fly. So even if they confiscate your phone the video is still being uploaded.

Lydia McGrew said...

I'm afraid that it is not unknown for police to erase tape that incriminates them or simply tape that they don't want made. There was even an article here

http://reason.com/blog/2010/05/29/maryland-cops-say-its-illegal

showing that in Maryland police are trying to claim that it is contrary to the state's wiretapping laws to videotape police on a public road without the consent of police. This despite the fact that the Maryland law expressly refers to a "private conversation."

Michigan's wiretapping law, like Maryland's, apparently has an express privacy provision--namely, that the conversation must take place in a private place. Nonetheless, the Maryland situation should show that this is not an isolated case of police abuse of authority and police attempts to prevent the use of video on public streets as part of normal public oversight of their actions in a free society.

I would note that it appears that no one got into any trouble when video "disappeared" from University of Maryland security cameras in a police beating case.

So the police in Dearborn actually stand to gain quite a lot from destroying the Acts 17 video. Think about it. Here's what they could do: They could erase the video, brazen it out (basically saying, "What are you going to do about it?") and then *drop the charges*. Think about how well this would serve their purpose. After all, getting arrested in handcuffs, spending a night in jail, and having an arrest record is no small amount of harassment. As long as they drop the charges, they don't have to worry about the fact that the video was exonerating of the missionaries. They can just *do the very same thing again next year* and every time thereafter: Arrest people as a form of harassment, take their cameras, erase the video, and then drop the charges. It's a great way of deterring people from breaking their unconstitutional made-up rules. ("No doing anything that annoys the Muslims in our town or we'll arrest you on made-up breach of the peace charges.")

Unless countercharges of false arrest, an FBI or other federal investigation of "color of law" violations of constitutional rights, or a successful constitutional suit against the department is brought, they really have nothing to lose. You can say that's a big "unless," but at the moment, all that is happening as far as has been reported is that Thomas More is representing the four missionaries in responding to the breach of the peace charges. If those charges are dropped, Thomas More could be left as lawyers without a cause unless they get pro-active and start filing suits of their own or finding ways of getting higher-level investigations to take place.

Anthony Rogers said...

And in light of potential countercharges, any short-term victory achieved by erasing the footage would would be just that: short term. In this light they would gain a little (intially) in order to lose a lot (finally).

Lydia McGrew said...

My guess is that they may play a game of bluff: Basically, dare the missionaries to file a suit and bet on no separate federal investigation (which, with the current administration, an administration that is already honoring this particular police chief, is probably not a bad bet).

I don't know to what extent false arrest charges can be stymied by local police and local prosecutors, but my best guess is that an independently filed lawsuit directly from the missionaries' attorneys is the only thing that really lies within the control of the people whose rights have been violated here. It's possible that the police department will bet on their not doing so. Again, playing a game of bluff. That bluff should definitely be called, if so.

Mohamed Alkholany said...

my dear brothers and sister, we cannot hide here and talk like this when we can do or make that change ourslefs. we have a new priesent who is willing to help us with these problems. we elected him for a reson so we can be equal. its been way to long for this non sense. we need to rise up once again and show them that we are all gods children and we will all go the same place in the afterlife.

The Fat Man said...

On another topic, here is the petition to stop the abomination from being built on the site of 9-11

http://www.petitiononline.com/SIOAplea/petition.html

Please sign it. I actually used my real name :)

Traeh said...

Lydia McGrew, you said,

"...at the moment, all that is happening as far as has been reported is that Thomas More is representing the four missionaries in responding to the breach of the peace charges."

Lydia, if you watch the video of David Wood and Robert Muise, at this very website, you will hear Muise say, starting at about 2:35 into the video, that

"At the Thomas More Law Center we consider ourselves the sword and the shield for people of faith, and we're breaking out the shield right now to defend these criminal charges but we're also going to pull out the sword and there will be a civil rights action brought."

Traeh said...

To all:
Here's a thought on why the Dearborn police are holding on to the cameras: The police chief and Dearborn's lawyers are no doubt reviewing every detail of the videos, in order to prepare to spin the news stories that will emerge when the videos are released. They want to be ready before releasing Act17's cameras. Getting ready might take time, as lawyers and Haddad might want to consider the videos' every single scene and sub-scene in terms of legal questions and public relations.

Also, the Dearborn lawyers, by reviewing the videos now, can perhaps get a little head start on preparing a defense against the civil action that is going to be brought by the Thomas More Law Center.

But the longer they hold on to the cameras, the more damage they may do to themselves in terms of public relations, because the public's and the media's curiosity will grow and grow, and that could turn the story into something larger in the media than it otherwise would have been.

Anthony Rogers, there is an additional problem besides the difficulty in erasing all three cameras without that showing evidence-tampering. Namely, the risks for any group conspiring to tamper with evidence are significant, even before the evidence is actually tampered with. If any insincere participant in a conspiracy to tamper with evidence were to leak to the media or the FBI what she or he knows about such a conspiracy, the people involved in the conspiracy -- except for the leaker -- would find the world as they know it ending.

Lydia McGrew said...

Thank you, Traeh, I had missed that. That's great news (about "drawing the sword").

As I recall, a participant on one of these threads reported that he had had film taken by police and erased. Perhaps that incident simply didn't get reported to the FBI, but it didn't sound like anything happened to the police in that case. (I would have to go back through the threads to find it.) Certainly there _should_ be huge penalties for such blatant evidence tampering by the police, but I suppose I'm too much of a cynic, especially if such penalties have to come from the federal government in the present federal climate.

Lydia McGrew said...

Here it is. In the thread on the post "Thomas More Center Represents Four Christian Missionaries" commentator Larry said the following:

"I was arrested once for preaching the gospel in Berkeley. I tape recorded the conversation with the police. The police confiscated my tape recorder and erased the tape. The charges were thrown out because the police destroyed evidence. In your case, the police interfered with your ability to prove your case, by illegally confiscating your video camera. The charges should be thrown out on this basis."

He apparently considered the dismissal of the charges to be a satisfactory conclusion, but it really isn't, not if that's the only thing that happened.

mirele said...

Why don't you guys admit that you went out there to say outrageous things to aggravate people, get them on video and then post the videos to YouTube and use them as part of your campaign to claim that America is being taken over by Eeeeevul Mooozlims?

If this were about bringing people to Jesus, you'd be talking in your posts about the witnessing you'd done, the people you'd talked to and prayed with and the people who had accepted Jesus. But it's not. It's about haranguing people, getting lots of attention and trumpeting your pseudo-martyrdom. And, at bottom, it's really about the alleged threat of Islam to America, and you're using Christianity to achieve your political goals.

I'd remind you that the gospel of John reports Jesus as saying, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." (18:36)

*shrug* Whatever.

David Wood said...

Mirele said: "Why don't you guys admit that you went out there to say outrageous things to aggravate people, get them on video and then post the videos to YouTube and use them as part of your campaign to claim that America is being taken over by Eeeeevul Mooozlims?"

Mirele, can you give a single example of "outrageous things" we said "to aggravate people"? How about just one? A single one? And if you can't, would you at least admit that you're inventing things as you go along? And would you please admit that you don't care at all what Jesus says? Thanks.

Bartimaeus said...

David and Nabeel

This is my tesatony of what I saw and how your rightes were violated by the City of Dearborn Police. I am prepared to swear to this in court. And to all the Dhimmies what law did the Dearborn 4 break. And too bad if some didnt like the message the Gospel is an offence to the lost anyway
witnessed two separate incidences. Both confrontation took place in between the two tents, closer to the central part of edge of the first tent. There was a crowd of about 20 people (estimate), mostly in their early 20's. There was a particular male young adult, who was verbally aggressive to Dr. Nabeel.




Dr. Nabeel was having a dialogue with this male young adult (strong built, with short black hair, South-Asian or Yemeni decent, (normal wear, including t-shirt, no hat). ) In one instance, this male young adult verbally threaten him by stating that he will harm or become violent towards Dr. Nabeel. Towards the end of the first incident, Dr. Nabeel shook hands with the male young adult. I saw David Wood filming, with his right hands raised above the crowd, moving around back and forth in a left-to-right quarter of a circle pattern, about 2-3 meters in distance to Dr. Nabeel.




There were police officers (about 4) came basically separating the crowd from Dr. Nabeel. I believe they correctly handled themselves at this time by stating the crowd to move away. By this time, I began walking away because I thought it was over.




Few minutes later of the first incident, there was another gathering of the people surrounding Dr. Nabeel, who was still holding a microphone. I did not notice any cameras at this time and cannot pinpoint any location of the cameras. The crowd seemed younger, high-school age (estimate, grade 10-12). It was not as intense as the first incident and Dr. Nabeel seem to relate well to them, without the tension from the previous crowd.




I observed from the edge of the crowd that they would ask questions and Dr. Nabeel would answer. No more than ten minutes time, I noticed two police officers approach Dr. Nabeel, (I am uncertain of whether or not these were the same officers from previous incident) and within few seconds, I saw Dr. Nabeel placing his hands behind his back and was handcuffed and lead away. One of the officer requested for the crowd to disburse.




After the first incident, I am absolutely certain that I did not hear the police officers request that Dr. Nabeel had to stop what he was doing or had to leave. On the second incident, from the time Dr. Nabeel was approached by the two police officers to the time he was handcuffed, there was less than two minutes of time, and certain that no Miranda Rights were read.

If you want to make comments or ask questions you gan go to my blog @ http://challenging-islam.blogspot.com/

mkvine said...

Mirele,

The more and more you accuse Acts 17 of something wrong they did, WITHOUT providing ANY evidence whatsoever.... the more and more you become annoying and the more and more we take you less seriously. Please provide your E.V.I.D.E.N.C.E. Thank you.

Lydia McGrew said...

It's interesting that commentator Bartimaeus specifically notes that the crowd was younger (perhaps more high schoolers) when Nabeel, David, and Nageen were arrested. I had a Muslim commentator at What's Wrong With the World yesterday allege that we should blame Christian missionaries generally for what happened at the Arab festival, because lately Christian missionaries have begun witnessing to Muslim children in Dearborn, which he is pretty sure is illegal! (Um, no...)

I wonder if the police arrested you guys precisely _because_ you were talking to a teen group and relating well to them. Interesting thought. Perhaps that was when the Muslims pushed the trigger, whatever it was, for the arrest. (Calling up Police Chief Haddad, perhaps, on a cell phone?)

Kendall said...

you mentioned that it is illegal to hand out tracts etc... on certain streets. Is that a written law that one can check out or is that what you are told when you do it ?

Thanks