Target: Craig Junginger, Chief of Police, Gresham, Oregon
Goal: Clear arbitrary charges against man who lawfully recorded police raid
A Gresham, Oregon man was recently arrested for filming militarized police carrying out a search warrant on a neighborhood home. While standing on the street outside his apartment building, well away from the ruckus, police saw him recording and demanded that he return to his home. When he refused, asserting his right to record, he was arrested for interference and resisting arrest. The man said that he was assaulted when an officer bashed his head and knocked him down before handcuffing him.
Police arrived at a residential neighborhood with several armored vehicles in the middle of the night. The police, dressed in paramilitary clothing, woke up most of the neighborhood when they threw flash grenades into a home, breaking glass and shaking nearby houses. They proceeded to yell directions through a megaphone for several minutes, creating a disturbance in the area.
It is perfectly legal to record the police, and many courts have even ruled that it is a right protected under the First Amendment. As long as citizens are a safe distance from any conflict and are not interfering, they are permitted to record police, though there is a frightening prevalence in false claims of interference.
Citizens are becoming increasingly alarmed by the militarization of police in many cities across the country. Particularly since Gresham has a population of only 100,000 people, it is understandable that civilians would be shocked at such a heavy display of force in a residential neighborhood. Your signature will demand that all charges are dropped against the man for lawfully recording the actions of Gresham police.
Dear Chief Craig Junginger,
A man was recently arrested and charged with interference and resisting arrest after he recorded a police raid outside his home. To carry out a search warrant, Gresham police brought armored vehicles, paramilitary uniforms, and flash grenades. The entire neighborhood was awakened by their homes shaking and the sounds of breaking glass and yelling.
In a town with a population of only 100,000, it is naturally alarming to citizens to see such a brazen overuse of force in their own backyards. The man, who was recording the incident from a distance, was assaulted by police before being falsely arrested. We, the undersigned, demand that charges are immediately dropped against him, and that an internal inquiry is performed to evaluate the apparent militarization of the Gresham Police Department.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: John Kratz via Flickr