Note: The video included within this post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via 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.
The videos embedded below show 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, obviously, is very much an example of that and what is commonly referred to as an “audit fail” among those who do them. This video itself is fairly self-explanatory in terms of the abuses being committed to anyone familiar with the First Amendment protections involving video and photography backdrop. If you aren’t yourself familiar, it has been ruled numerous times, including by the U.S. Supreme Court, that filming anything visible from a public location is a protected act under the First Amendment.
The woman in the video, who goes by the pseudonym “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 and/or liking her Facebook Page and sharing her content.
Assaulted and Arrested for Legally Filming
In the beginning of the video (embedded below), First Amendment Auditor “Pink Camera Magic” can be seen filming the exterior of a Cook County Courthouse, which is located in Bridegview, IL. Not long after, a security guard working at the courthouse approaches her and begins questioning why she is filming.
“Ma’am, can I ask what you’re doing,” the security officer asks as he approaches from inside the courthouse.
She responds, “I’m recording the building.” and then, “Because I want to,” after the guard follows up by asking why.
Shortly after, the guard begins calling for a supervisor.
That supervisor, Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy Lieutenant Don Milazzo, states that the courthouse is a public building. (While that statement is very much true, Milazzo’s statement obviously implies that he believes that means you can’t film there, which is very much not true.)
Pink Camera Magic replies, “Yes, that’s exactly why I’m recording it.”
“I’m being detained for just taking pictures of the building?” She asks.
“Yes ma’am. You’re doing something suspicious and we need to know who you are and why you are doing it, ok?” He responds.
“Are you familiar with the First Amendment?” She asks.
“Yes,” the officer responds as he violently snatches the video camera from her hands. She is then placed under arrest and forcibly taken within the courthouse where she is accused of being crazy for asserting her rights.
Illegally Deleted Footage
Later, once she has been held for a matter of hours, she was brought into court for a hearing. During that hearing, District Court Judge Peter A. Felice reportedly also demonstrated that he isn’t very familiar with the constitution or those first ten amendments (particularly the first and fourth ones in this case) to it. According to Pink Camera Magic she was given an order by Judge Felice to delete the footage she had legally recorded earlier.
However, she was unable to follow that illegal order because someone, presumably Lt. Milazzo, had already done so. The now empty memory card from her camera was then confiscated on order of Judge Felice. She was subsequently released without charges, but with a warning that recording the courthouse again would result in her being held in contempt.
That card was returned to her two days later at another court appearance. Perhaps having realized that their previous actions were unconstitutional, Judge Felice claimed at that hearing that they had not searched the SD card (which requires a warrant) or deleted any video (which violates evidentiary rules). Both of those illegal things had, of course, already been done prior to Pink Camera Magics first hearing, during which she was also ordered to delete the footage on the card.
In spite of the video having been deleted, Pink Camera Magic was able to send the SD card to a technician, who was able to restore the files on it and recover the footage. She has now filed a complaint with the Internal Affairs Bureau of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
The following were used as references for some of the information included within this post:
DELETE THAT FOOTAGE NOW – Description for YouTube video embedded below
I’m just including this next one because it’s funny (in a pathetic way) and probably could benefit from some comments:
Woman who videotaped Cook County deputies arresting her travels the country provoking police encounters while collecting money on GoFundMe.. .. (You can contribute to that GoFundMe account and help her travel the country hurting those poor, unfortunate police officers’ feelings here: I document what police officers do)
Below are some options through which you can let those involved in the assault and false arrest of Pink Camera Magic know what you think of their behavior.
Cook County Courthouse
Peter A. Felice, Circuit Judge
10220 S. 76th Ave., Rm. 103
Bridgeview, Illinois 60455
Cook County Courthouse Official Facebook Page
@CookCntyCourt on Twitter
CookCountyCourt.org – Official Website
Phone Number: (708) 974-6290
Cook County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Thomas J. Dart
50 W. Washington
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Cook County Sheriff’s Official Facebook Page
@CCSOPIO – Sheriff’s Official Twitter Account
@CookCountySheriff – Official Instagram Account
Email: [email protected]
CookCountySheriff.org – Official Website
Phone: (312) 603-6444
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Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.