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The above video of journalist Pete Tucker getting arrested at a D.C. Taxicab Commission hearing yesterday by the U.S. Park Police was filmed by Reason.tv’s Jim Epstein. Recording said video got Epstein arrested.
And here’s an update from the Dena Reed, the interim chairwoman of the DCTC, via the mayor’s office:
“Regarding the Commission’s policy on video recording:
- Pursuant to the Open Meetings Act, DC Code § 1-207.42, all meetings and hearings of the Commission are open to the public and a record is made of all public meetings. Also, a recording or transcript of the proceedings is made available to the public free of charge.
- However, the Open Meetings Act does not require that videotaping be allowed in Commission meetings.
- Because the Commission has, in the past, found television cameras to be disruptive to meetings (due to a number of factors, including the size of the Commission hearing room, the fact that cameramen must move around and place cameras in the faces of Commissioners and guests and that some attendees have demonstrated a tendency to act in a more disruptive manner when cameras are present), they have instituted a policy of not allowing video recordings in Commission meetings.
- The Commission does not search people and take away their cell-phone cameras, but if they begin using them, Commission officials remind them that videotaping in not permitted.
- Mr. Tucker was aware of these policies going into yesterday’s meeting.
As it relates to any audio recording issues Mr. Tucker claims to have had:
- As the meeting started Mr. Tucker became upset because Interim Chairperson Reed would not allow him to put his microphone on the main podium where the Commissioners sat. He insisted he had a right to put his mic wherever he wanted because it was a public meeting.
- Ms. Reed reminded him repeatedly that the meeting was open to anyone and that anyone could make an audio recording of the meeting if they wanted, but he could not place his mic on the podium. Instead, she told him he could place it on the side table with other microphones with the court reporter.
- Mr. Tucker repeatedly placed his microphone on the podium, and Ms. Reed repeatedly moved it to the side table.
- This behavior was disruptive from the start of the meeting, and Ms. Reed called the U.S. Park Police facility commander to address him, since he remained defiant and disrespectful of her request and suggestions.
- Ms. Reed, with the Park Police, again offered to let Mr. Tucker choose between placing his mic on the side table with other mics or to hold it as he sat on the front row of seats. He chose to sit on the floor in front of the podium.
- As other speakers (including blind patrons with service animals) came to the floor microphones to speak, Mr. Tucker repeatedly got up and down, placing his hand-held microphone in their personal space to record their comments. While this caused some distraction, the meeting proceeded.
- The Commission is fully supportive of the Open Meetings Act, but open meetings must still be conducted in an orderly and productive fashion.
- The Commission is interested in hearing all points of view on taxicab-related issues, and welcomes comment from all who choose to conduct themselves with the decorum and respect for others befitting a public meeting.
- Ultimately, Mr. Tucker was not detained for videotaping, but as a result of his disorderly conduct with the U.S. Park Police. DCTC did not have him arrested.”