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Police state

White House photographer beaten, arrested by police for filming abusive arrest of Hispanic

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: police state, photographer, beating

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(NaturalNews) From an imperial presidency to ignoring laws to unimpeded 24/7 surveillance, it sure is beginning to look a lot like the Leviathan police state has replaced the constitutional republic our founding fathers risked everything to create.

To wit: Mannie Garcia, an "award-winning and distinguished professional photographer," has filed suit against Montgomery County, Md., police for arresting him and allegedly "maliciously" prosecuting him for filming them as they took a pair of Hispanic men into custody recently.

According to the suit, which has been filed in federal court, Garcia's arrest cost him his White House press pass, a mainstay of his livelihood.

The suit claims Garcia and his wife were leaving a restaurant in Wheaton, Md., just north of Washington, D.C., when they witnessed police arresting a pair of young men. Garcia, reports said, claimed he was concerned police may have been using excessive force.

As a 25-year member of the press, Garcia said he instinctively began filming the arrest - an act that attracted the attention of the arresting officers.

Roughed up for essentially doing what he always does - report

At that point Garcia said he identified himself as a member of the media. That's when one of the defendants of his suit, Officer Chris Malouf, began to approach him. Garcia said he continued to film the officers anyway, which he says seemed to upset them.

"Defendant Malouf did not like the fact that Mr. Garcia continued to record their actions with the camera, so he lost his temper, became enraged, screamed 'That's it!,' and placed Mr. Garcia under arrest," the complaint says.

"Defendant Malouf then placed a 'choke hold' on Mr. Garcia and dragged him across the street to his police cruiser. Defendant Malouf repeatedly threw Mr. Garcia to the ground," the complaint continued.

Police charged the longtime White House press pool journalist with disorderly conduct and breach of the public peace, charges that seem incredulous when you consider that all the man seemed to be doing, according to the complaint, was filming cops in action. During his arrest police seized his camera; they later returned it, sans the memory card.

Growing trend: Leviathan doesn't like to be filmed in action

But is that wrong? According to a growing trend among law enforcement and the courts, yes. Consider that, in 2010, Maryland Air National Guard Staff Sergeant Anthony Graber was looking at serious jail time for videotaping a state police officer who stopped him for speeding. Maryland, like other states, has begun using wiretap laws to punish those who film them.

Graber had every right to be concerned. He says the trooper cut him off in an unmarked car and approached him in plain clothes openly carrying a gun, and all before actually identifying himself as a state trooper. For speeding. Though he was a young, married father of two who had never been arrested, police wound up searching his residence and seizing his computers as well.

In Garcia's case, he won't see jail time, but his arrest has already cost him dearly.

According to his complaint: "During the almost 6 months and 3 trial delays prior to the case coming to trial, the Secret Service became aware that Mr. Garcia had criminal charges pending against him and Mr. Garcia was disallowed the renewal of his White House Press Pass.

"The loss of his White House Press Pass prevented him from working at the White House, one of his primary work sites as a photojournalist," the complaint continued.

Moreover, Garcia says that Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger, also named in the suit, has done nothing to discipline Malouf and the other officers involved, Kevin Baxter and Michael Graves, though the arrest, he says, physically and emotionally harmed him. He is seeking $500,000 in damages.

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