Freeway Bloggers vs. LAPD CHP*

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYCA5W78cYU[/youtube]

As much as it pains me to do so, I find myself at the defense of a group of 9/11 Truthers – you know, those people who don’t buy that radical Islamic terrorists were responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center.

On April 11th, a handful of “Truthers” carried a banner reading “Google/YouTube 9/11 Mysteries” to a freeway overpass during rush hour to display to thousands of passing motorists.

Two hours into it, police stopped by telling them they had to stop because they were a danger and slowing traffic because, per the officer, people were trying to read the banner. Did I point out this was during rush hour?

On the video, the police officer also repeatedly asks the cameraman to turn off the camera. When asked what law was being broken, the officer cites PC 148, which happens to be the penal code for “Resisting, Delaying, or Obstructing an Officer.”

Maybe the video isn’t showing the whole story, but all I can see are a half dozen protesters holding up a banner and a few others jumping up and down. There is no threat to the public, and as far as I can tell, since the sign is never “installed,” doesn’t violate any law.

Is this a case of a couple misguided cops whose salaries are now paid in part by ever increasing garbage disposal fees, or are they actually doing their job and enforcing some law? [via Martin Hill/OpEd News]

*Will Campbell points out the officers in the video are California Highway Patrol, not Los Angeles Police Department, thus making moot my topical snark.

7 Replies to “Freeway Bloggers vs. LAPD CHP*”

  1. One point: Those are California Highway Patrol officers on scene so the increased City of Los Angeles garbage fees that Mayor Villar wants to take out of my pocket aren’t paying their specific salaries.

    I think the protesters handled themselves well, and I think the officer handled himself well. It could have so easily deteriorated on either side to where people could have been injured and arrested. And while I can appreciate the indignation over the officer’s seeming misrepresentation of the law there’s just no winning again THE MAN and they were wise to ultimately comply with his demand.

  2. Kudos to these guys… i was wondering what that was all about. Of course when i got to work i tried to google & youtube it.. but found nothing… i dont think i was looking for the phrase?
    And thanks for this post… i was waiting to hear about these guys!

  3. If freeway overpasses displayed temporary signs advertising Starbucks, Pinkberry or Hummers, would people still feel the same sense of persecution these protesters apparently have chosen to feel? I feel like there are enough illegal billboards and building-sized displays that contribute to visual clutter, distraction, and increased over-commercialization of our city’s landscape. Granted, there is an important difference between corporate speech and political speech, but roadside displays are roadside displays, and they cause drivers to look away from the road in front of them, just as other distractions like sending text messages do. The cop on the scene, loathe as I am to say it, appears to be a mensch. Note that he doesn’t stoop to the level of ideological grandstanding, unlike the guy in the black cap, who claims that “(The) First Amendment right loses again today.” I don’t think the First Amendment right applies when it jeopardizes the safety of morning rush hour commuters, but of course if one were to argue that point with so-called “9/11 truthies,” they’d be so convinced of their rightness that that point would be lost on them.

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