Remember that guy who was accosted and then arrested by a bunch of hyped-up TSA employees at the Albuquerque airport in 2009? Despite being well within his rights to not show ID and film the airport’s public areas, the group of swarming TSAers and law enforcement were having none of it. Phil Mocek was causing a “commotion” (even though he was completely calm), and the authorities weren’t going to let a little thing like real laws get in their way.
Officer: This is a federal checkpoint. You can’t do it [film] here.
Mocek: I’ve checked into it and I know that I can do it here.
Officer: Well, you can be arrested, then you can check into it more.
Nice! Arrest first, check laws later.
Last week, Mocek was acquitted on all four charges, including failure to obey an officer and concealing his identity.
In December, three people were detained, and one was told to stop filming, at the TSA checkpoint in the LA-Ontario (CA) airport. Getting harassed for filming at a checkpoint? Not unusual. Even though it is permitted, with the exception of filming the monitors, the personnel stationed there are of course hyper-touchy about the subject. (Mostly, I guess, because they don’t want the footage to appear on YouTube — skip to 0:56 of the video).
Those three people have an interesting backstory though. They are filmmakers and founders of Project Gulf Impact, which aims to document and expose the impact of the BP oil spill.
When Matt Smith, Gavin Garrison, and Heather Rally of Project Gulf Impact arrived at Ontario Airport in California Tuesday evening to board a plane headed back to the Gulf of Mexico, all three of them were pulled aside by TSA agents and patted down. Coincidentally, they were the only three people pulled out of the security lines.
If these people were singled out, and it seems extremely fishy if there wasn’t something going on behind the scenes, it is just more cause to be cynical about our government and this sad, sad world we live in. Especially because some hack is trying to bully them about a “federal law” that just isn’t accurate. And especially after all the uproar in November when people were getting enraged over the lack of rights at these checkpoints. And especially because it’s just wrong.