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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:

Muhammad Ali Jr. Detained Again at the Airport After Speaking to Congress About First Incident

Yesterday, on the way home from a trip to Washington DC to testify about his first incident of being detained for having a Muslim name, Muhammad Ali Jr. was detained once again. This time the son of the former boxing champ known as “the Greatest” may have been more than just religiously profiled, according to his lawyer.

Family attorney Chris Mancini has since suggested that the stop was an act of retaliation for having spoken at a Democrat-organized Congressional forum on immigration. Ali had criticized Trump’s Muslim travel ban and attributed his first detention last month in the Fort Lauderdale airport to both racial and religious profiling.

Meanwhile, the TSA maintains that Ali’s jewelry set off an alarm prompting the extra profiling.

Via ABC News:

Muhammad Ali Jr. was detained and questioned at a Washington airport before being allowed to board a flight to Fort Lauderdale after meeting with lawmakers to discuss a separate airport detention incident last month, a lawyer for the late heavyweight champion’s son said Friday.

Ali and his mother, Khalilah Camacho Ali, were stopped at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after returning from Jamaica on Feb. 7. They traveled to Washington on Wednesday without incident to speak to members of a congressional subcommittee on border security about that experience.

But attorney Chris Mancini said that when Ali attempted to board a JetBlue Airways flight home to Florida on Friday he was detained for 20 minutes. Mancini said Ali spoke to Department of Homeland Security officials by telephone and showed his driver’s license and passport before he was allowed to board.

“None of this was happening Wednesday,” Mancini said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon as he was traveling with the Alis. “Going to Washington obviously opened up a can of worms at DHS.”

A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration acknowledged the agency confirmed Ali’s identity before he boarded his plane.

Spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said Ali also was patted down because his jewelry set off a checkpoint scanner alarm.

Muhammad Ali Jr. Illegally Detained at Florida Airport on Suspicion of Being A Muslim

Earlier this month, Muhammad Ali Jr. was illegally detained and subjected to hours of questioning because they (correctly) suspected that he was a Muslim, based on his name. Ali Jr.’s namesake was, of course, probably the most famous athlete ever and one of the most well know people, in general. In addition to his success as a boxer, Muhammad Ali Sr. was known for his conversion to Islam after winning the heavyweight title, as well as his long history of civil and human rights (which really shouldn’t be two things) activism.

In spite of the fact that Ali Jr. is a citizen; having been born in Philadelphia; was traveling under a legal US passport, and has no criminal record, he and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, were detained for having Muslim sounding names. Camacho-Ali was fortunate enough to have a photo of her and her late ex-husband on her, so she was released. However, Ali Jr. was not so lucky and had to undergo additional questioning in which they grilled him about “where he got his name” and what his religion was. When he acknowledged being Muslim he was then subjected to further questioning. – For the record, it’s actually not (at this point) illegal to be a Muslim.

Via TheGuardian.com:

The 7 February incident was the first time the family had been detained or questioned in this way, despite regular international travel, (family lawyer Chris) Mancini said.

They consider it religious profiling linked to President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to bring in a “Muslim ban” and his now-suspended executive order banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

“To the Ali family, it’s crystal clear that this is directly linked to Mr Trump’s efforts to ban Muslims from the United States,” Mancini said, adding that they were trying to find out how many others faced similar questioning, and were contemplating filing a federal lawsuit.

“Imagine walking into an airport and being asked about your religion,” Mancini told the paper. “This is classic customs profiling.”

Ali’s is the latest in a string of complaints about US immigration controls after the inauguration of Trump.

The former prime minister of Norway was held for nearly an hour at Washington Dulles airport earlier this month and questioned over a visit to Iran three years ago, which he had made to speak at a human rights conference.

Meanwhile, the best-selling Australian children’s book author Mem Fox has suggested she might never return to the US after she was detained and insulted by border control agents at Los Angeles international airport. The 70-year-old said she was left “sobbing like a baby” after two hours of questioning while on her way to a conference.

A British Muslim schoolteacher travelling to New York last week as a member of a school party from south Wales was denied entry to the US. The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, had previously claimed the US government had committed to allowing all UK passport holders to enter the country.

It’s a bit ironic that the son of Muhammad Ali would be profiled as a “dangerous Muslim” (in spite of any evidence of ill intent whatsoever) to say the least. Ali Sr.’s refusal to serve in the Vietnam War and subsequent arrest and exile from boxing is one of his most celebrated and recognized acts. It also shows that the government’s travel ban, which isn’t even legally valid since it was struck down in court can be used to single out and illegally detain anyone that TSA agents decide they want to, regardless of their actual immigration status or criminal history.

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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