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 “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.

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

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

This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and Tune-in to The Anti-Media radio show Monday-Friday @ 11pm EST, 8pm PST.

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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  1. Wow! I hope people make an effort to show up and support PM even without a subpoena. It must be so frightening to face jail. It would be comforting to know people support you.

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  2. "Failure to disperse?" The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

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  3. Will we see the rise of citizen vigilante groups soon? How else will we be able to secure our rights from the fascist state that our government has become?

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  4. They started grabbing people long after the protest dispersed. This was purely vindictive on the cops' part, also to help draw attention away from themselves…as every cop who was there against the protesters was fully supporting their murderous colleagues. Cops beat a passive man to death on video over a period of minutes and they go free…someone is going home from a protest and they could get up to six months. The system is broken. It was built broken.

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  5. You need to contact "bigger" media and make sure that this is how Police surpresses free journalism. They did it in Furgeson alright and here again. You NEED to go more public and contact more "real" press about this. Make sure it comes out as a general behaviour of Police to black out press with bogus orders that make no sense in the first place and violate free speech.

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  6. It's cute that you think we still have our civil rights. We let "them" take our rights away years ago when we stopped asking questions and holding "them" accountable like our Four Father's warned us about. We were supposed to have a revolution every, what was it, 15 years or so, to make sure our government was doing what the PEOPLE wanted. We failed.

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  7. I knew I had heard the "disperse" thing somewhere before. It's what started our War for Independence (the Battle of Lexington): "A British officer rode forward, waving his sword, and called for the assembled throng to disperse…."

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  8. I knew I had heard the "disperse" thing somewhere before. It's what started our War for Independence (the Battle of Lexington): "A British officer rode forward, waving his sword, and called for the assembled throng to disperse…."

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  9. Assembly is a right and all assembly are lawful even if they don't have a permit to do so .The "state" is the enemy cops are the enemy their authority is null and void when they come knocking you better have a gun. Shoot them through the door thats what brainwashed thugs with badges deserve.

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  10. United States police are a huge Terrorist group. Nothing good comes from them.

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  11. It is NOT illegal to film police. Supreme court ruling.

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  12. I have been screaming at the top of my lungs since 2004. Most my friends and associates just think i am a conspiracy buff/nut. We have lost our government and need to take it back.

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  13. If we as a country had pride and balls which we lost due to our leaders and pussy's we'd go down there and demand her release,or else?????????

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  14. Not only do we have THE right to assemble we have the right to act as news gatherers when our news media no longer give us the news.

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  15. It seems that we don't have a justice system that adheres to the spirit of the Constitution. The 1st 10 Amendments are pretty explicit yet are ignored.

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  16. It really isn't the police. It is the ones higher up in the chain of command who are encouraging this brutal behavior.

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  17. Tracey Patrick which four fathers were that lol. Anyways people talking how they need to stood to but unfortunately unless the rich point their finger at them and tell us attack we aren't able to figure out who the enemy is. Even worse only 3% of Americans even do that. We are at that the Germans were when they were rounding up people. Remember they may not be beating you today but I'm once done with the one they beating on now they will make time for you

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