Tag Archives: security screening

First Amendment Audit: Chicago TSA Agent Claims Filming Airport Security Screening is Illegal, Calls Police

Ohare International Airport TSA Screening First Amendment Audit

A “First Amendment Auditor” was confronted by a TSA supervisor while legally filming security screenings at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and initially threatened with arrest.

Note: The video included within this post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via an anonymous reader submission. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

This video embedded below shows what is known as a “First Amendment Audit.” That consists of going out and filming government buildings and other public property. Oftentimes, the police, security guards, government employees, and even members of the public don’t understand that the First Amendment protects a citizen’s right to take photos and/or record video of anything that is within view of a public place.

This particular audit took place within the TSA security screening area at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. As you can see in the screenshot above, the TSA employees were getting fairly intimate with some of the passengers going through the screening. (And no, there in fact was neither a movie, nor a dinner provided by the Transportation Security Administration afterwards.) Soon after, one of the screening agents noticed the camera and alerted a supervisor, by whom the camera woman was then confronted.

He approached, (very incorrectly) stated that it was illegal to film the screenings, and even briefly attempted to physically block her camera. Next, the supervisor threatened to call the Chicago police and have her arrested. When that didn’t scare her into stopping, he attempted to make good on that threat by calling (presumably) the police.

In the meantime, while he was on the phone, she returned her attention to filming. During that phone conversation she was also approached by several other TSA employees and told that she was not allowed to film the screenings. However, it is in fact very legal to film the screening area of airports and the screening process itself. The only restriction upon that is a rule against filming (or photographing) the monitors displaying the NSFW images that they take with their body scanners.

The woman in the video (AKA “It’s That Magic You Crave“) frequently posts First Amendment Audits and other videos to her Youtube channel: “Pink Camera Magic.” You can support her by making donations to her via GoFundMe.

***Spoiler Alert***

In the original description for the video on YouTube, a “surprise ending” is mentioned. Whoever the TSA supervisor was talking to apparently informed him that he was wrong and they weren’t going to send any cops down to arrest her for legally filming in public. However, that’s actually not the “surprise.” (Not the biggest one, at least.)

The shocking plot twist is that he told her that and even apologized about being wrong.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

Excessive Force Suit Filed After Philadelphia Sheriff’s Deputies Tackled Pennsylvania Bar Association President

Pennsylvania Bar Association Pres Clifford Haines Assaulted by Philly Sheriffs Deputies

Clifford Haines, the former president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, has filed an excessive force lawsuit against the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Deputies that assaulted him in August of 2017.

The courthouse surveillance footage embedded below shows an incident from August (2017) at the Philadelphia Justice Center. But this was no ordinary game of dog pile by the deputies from the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office working the screening area of the court.

The senior citizen you see being pushed onto the scanner belt, then gang-tackled and thrown to the floor, is a former president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and (obviously) a pretty prominent Philadelphia lawyer.

As a result of their assault, Clifford Haines ended up with a fractured shoulder. He has now filed an excessive force lawsuit against the five Philly Sheriff’s Deputies involved. The sergeant on duty that day was also named in the lawsuit.

Via the American Bar Association Journal:

Clifford Haines, 72, claims “extraordinary misconduct” by the officers whose actions were “unprovoked, unjustified, and clearly excessive and abusive,” report Philly.com and the Legal Intelligencer.

A video of the incident shows Haines pointing his finger at an officer, then spreading his arms. The officer appears to slightly push Haines’ chest, and Haines moves his arm as if to deflect the officer’s hand. At that point four officers shove Haines onto the conveyor belt on the metal scanner, and a fifth officer joins in to push Haines off the machine and onto the ground.

The incident occurred in August at the Philadelphia Justice Center. Haines was arrested, but prosecutors declined to file charges after reviewing the video.

The suit says Haines had to enter the courthouse through the general screening area because he had forgotten his bar card. Haines realized that he had forgotten to turn off his cellphone, which had been locked in a pouch during the screening process. When he tried to return to the front of the building to turn off the phone, a deputy “rudely” ordered him to leave through a different area, the suit says.

Haines said he complied, but reprimanded the deputy when he returned to the screening area. When the officer shoved him, Haines says, he repeated his reprimand. He was tackled after that, the suit says.

Haines claims he remained handcuffed for an hour even though he told deputies he was in pain from his shoulder injuries.

The suit claims assault and battery, false arrest and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit names as defendants five unidentified deputies and an unidentified sergeant.

This case is actually interesting when you read the description. Basically, what it boils down to is Haines was offended because one of the deputies didn’t respect his authoritah and, since he didn’t have his bar card on him he had to jump through all the same hoops that the commoners do.

So he decided to “reprimand” that deputy, who didn’t appreciate his own authoritah not being respected. It was a pretty quick progression from pissing match to rasslin’ match after that. Then the final lesson for the viewers at home is that the Piggies don’t play fair. Of course, the other thing the cops do once their gang is done dropping you on your head is lie about it and try to lock you in a cage, too.

So that’s why I very much agree with his lawyer’s assessment of the real message of this video (same source as previous):

Haines’ lawyer, Patricia Pierce, said the case shows why members of the public don’t trust law enforcement. “You have to ask yourself: If this can happen to this man in front of cameras, how is anybody else supposed to feel safe?” she told Philly.com.

Really, it should be surprising that people sworn to “protect and serve” the public would escalate a conflict, beat an elderly man, and then attempt to charge him with a crime knowing that they were on camera the whole time. Beyond the social and political stature of their target, it really isn’t at all, though. That’s kinda how that “reprimanding” thing tends to turn out for us commoners more often than not.

Welcome to the club, Mr. Haines.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

TSA Agent Claims You Need Their Permission to Record Airport Screening Pat Down

This video was submitted by Tim Blanchard, via the CopBlock.org Submission page. It shows an incident in which a TSA agent in Las Vegas incorrectly stated that you need the permission of the TSA agents in order to film them conducting a pat down during  airport security screenings. Fact is the TSA makes it very clear on their own website that the filming and/or photographing of security screenings is completely legal, provided that the person doing so does not interfere with the screening.

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Date of Incident: 10/05/2015
Department Involved: McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas, NV) Transportation Security Administration
Officer Involved: LTSO Jackson
Contact: TSA Online Complaint Center

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TSA Trading Liberty for SecurityI was trying to record my wife getting a pat down at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The TSA agents instantly tried to say that I needed their permission, which is completely incorrect. I even moved out of the immediate area when one of the agent was aggressive and came up to me. That agent followed me, but we encountered a deputy. The deputy agreed that recording an LEO is legal and supported by the 1st amendment and has been affirmed by the SCOTUS. The TSA supervisor (that the agent called for) never came, so we moved on.

– Tim Blanchard

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