Tuesday, December 10, 2013

NYPD Sends Subpoena To Reporter, Reporter Fired, NYPD Ticket Fixing, Other Free Press Updates

The First Amendment On The Ropes

''In what The New York Times described as a 'broadly worded, five-page subpoena,' New York City lawyers are demanding that former Village Voice reporter Graham Rayman turn over tape recordings police officer Adrian Schoolcraft made of his superiors at the NYPD’s 81st precinct in Brooklyn," Time magazine is reporting, adding, "The tapes were the basis for Rayman’s book, The NYPD Tapes, which alleges officers manipulated crime data in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn."

It's questionable why city lawyers are infringing on Mr. Rayman's free press protections under the First Amendment, and many are concerned that the NYPD is trying to harass Mr. Rayman in retribution for Mr. Rayman's exposé of police corruption. Because of the legal wrangling with the city, one activist, Suzannah B. Troy, wondered whether the litigation was an excuse used by the new owners of the Village Voice to lay-off Mr. Rayman.

Investigating the NYPD of corruption is something that rarely happens. Many have called for a federal commission to come in and investigate the New York City police force. After many unfounded shootings of innocent people, no police ever gets convicted. One recent scandal, a massive, illegal operation involving ticket-fixing, has only resulted in one officer losing his job.

Aside from the subpoena served on Mr. Rayman, the NYPD has also tried to harass Mr. Schoolcraft. A judge ruled that Mr. Schoolcraft can't be hit by a countersuit from his former supervisor. At every step of the way, the NYPD are trying to suppress any corruption investigation of its police officers.

The duplicity of NYPD, tasked with enforcing the law, but which now is acting to suppress a free press, somewhat parallels the duplicity of the Obama administration. At the same time when President Obama is secretly obtaining the phone records of Associated Press reporters, in an effort to suppress a rigorous free press from investigating his administration, Vice President Joe Biden registered complaints with Chinese government officials over hacking and other threats against foreign journalists. Give me a break.

All of this is taking place against a backdrop where New York City officials and the Obama administration refuse to comply with freedom of information requests.

The very idea of a republic implies rights conveyed to citizens to meet and consult one another, and to petition their government, if they so choose. How can citizens exercise their rights to free speech, to assemble, and to petition, when the government restricts, delays, or prevents the sharing of information necessary for our citizen activities ? Our guarantees to free speech are being diminished, shortened, and restricted by conditions created by harassing reporters, retaliating against whistleblowers, and denying freedom of information requests.

A Fox News reporter will not have to divulge the confidential sources who provided information for her story on the 2012 mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, New York's highest court ruled on Tuesday. (Reporter Allowed to Keep Sources Secret in Colorado Theater Shooting * The New York Times)

(Updated : Friday 13 Dec 2013 19:48)

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