Guam Confused on Free Speech

The government of Guam doesn’t believe in photographers’ rights or free speech apparently. Maybe they don’t even know what they are.

Local businessman James Adkins took photos of a traffic accident in October and was arrested when he wouldn’t hand his cell phone over to police. He was charged with “obstruction of governmental operations” and “failure to comply.” 

Adkins filed a $3 million dollar lawsuit against the Guam Police Department for violating his rights and The Pacific Daily News reports that the government has just filed to dismiss the suit. The attorney general’s rationale? That  it was “not at all obvious that the ‘taking of photograph’s in one’s car on a public road’ has ever been deemed free speech.” OK, so  in Guam photography in public is a gray area.  

From Adkins’ statement:

“I was arrested because I took pictures of a car accident near my house. I committed no crime and I did nothing wrong. I filed this lawsuit because I believe that these police officers think they are above the law, they can arrest and incarcerate people without cause, and they can get away with it. I also believe that the Guam Police Department condones this type of behavior by its police officers. This is wrong and it has to stop.”

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