Anti-Media Journalist Facing up to 6 Months in Jail for Filming Police

February 9, 2015   |   Sydney Barakat

Sydney Barakat
February 9, 2015 (Updated 3/15/15)

(ANTIMEDIA) On January 18th, 2014, protests arose in Fullerton, CA, after the acquittal of Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli – two Fullerton police officers who were put on trial for the beating of Kelly Thomas. Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man who suffered from schizophrenia, died as a result of the beating.

The protests of that day brought together people from different counties, cities, and even states. Hundreds, if not thousands, attended the demonstration held in front of the Fullerton police station and City Hall to protest the acquittal of the two officers, who were essentially able to walk free of any consequences for Thomas’s death.

However, though the protests were absolutely peaceful in nature (one of the very reasons for the demonstrations was to show disdain for the violence and brutality that an innocent man suffered at the hands of authorities), Fullerton police suddenly felt the need, as the evening grew closer, to break out the riot gear and begin making arrests as part of a ‘dispersal’ order that was given by the head of the department.

patti-beers

Patti “P.M.” Beers livestreaming from Fullerton, CA.

The Fullerton Police eventually made a handful of arrests – allegedly for ‘failure to disperse’ – and Patti “P.M.” Beers, a journalist that works with the Anti-Media, was one of those arrested that evening. P.M., as she is best known as on social media and other outlets, had been at the protest that day in order to perform her civil duty – as both a citizen and journalist – to document and film the events of that day in a raw and honest manner. P.M., who records and live-streams various events and demonstrations, was eventually targeted by the FPD – who had even been doing ‘snatch-and-grabs’ in undercover cop cars – arrested, and put in the back of a police van where she and others were threatened by an officer who said there were “12 officers waiting to smash (their) fucking faces in” once they got to the jail.

Now, P.M. along with a few others, are going before a judge on March 16th, based on the charges of failure to disperse, or “code 409.” We are asking to support these individuals as well as a P.M. – a member of our team – upon their trial date, which will take place at:

Defend citizen journalism! Support
P.M. Beers’ official legal defense fund.

Location:
North Justice Center
1275 N Berkeley Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832
(877) 872-2122

Date/Time:
March 16, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

A Facebook event page has been set up to organize the court support, you can find it here.

Please keep in mind, the reasons as to why we are asking for support:

1) P.M. is a journalist and a citizen, who has the right to film and document events as they occur. She was simply doing her job at the time of her arrest, and was not in any way, shape, or form, inciting further protests, and was certainly not inciting a riot. She was standing off to the side, nearly a quarter of a mile away from the scene of the protest and had technically dispersed.

2) P.M., as well as the others, are granted 1st Amendment rights that allow freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to assemble. These rights were almost completely disregarded at the time of her arrest.

3) The demonstrations were essentially a public outcry for justice – justice that had not been granted to Kelly Thomas nor had been served to those responsible for his death – as well as to show disapproval of violence and forcefulness. Thus, in NO way was there any amount of violence acted out on behalf of the public, but rather the police that day.

Lastly, if people like P.M. are arrested for journalism, then who will we entrust our media to, the lying mainstream corporate media? True media comes from the people – the citizens – who are actively reporting via cellphones and other devices and putting it out there for the rest of us to see in a raw and real manner. We ask you to support these citizens, either in person, or via donation. Please share this article with anyone who values independent media and freedom of speech. #FreePM #FreeThePress


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Author: Sydney Barakat

Sydney Barakat joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in January of 2015. Her topics of interest include foreign policy, the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Islamic affairs, American politics, food safety, public health, police brutality, law enforcement and prison reformation. She currently resides in Fullerton, California, where she was born and raised.

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