So I come across this press release of an arrest made by the Scottsdale, Arizona Police Department of Freedom Phoenix's own Shelton. Curious? Read on:
(courtesy of the Scottsdale Police Dept.).
Obstruction Of Government Operations
Event date: Thursday, August 28, 2008, from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM
Time: 11:45 PM
Report #: 08-24282
Location: 6800 E. Shea Blvd.
Suspect Data: Jason Shelton, W/M, 35 yrs old, Scottsdale resident
On Wednesday, August 27th at about 11:45 PM, SPD was called to the area of 6800 E. Shea Blvd. in reference to three individuals holding protest signs and blocking operation of the photo enforcement van at that location. Upon arrival, SPD officers arrested one individual for Refusing to Provide Truthful Name and Obstructing Government Operations. It was also learned the same individuals had done the identical thing at two other van locations earlier in the evening.
The City of Scottsdale, including the Police Department, respects and protects an individual’s right to stage and/or participate in a lawful demonstration. However, behavior such as the intentional obstruction of a contracted photo enforcement van’s operation is not lawful and subject to enforcement action.
I linked to the charges above, but here is the text [my bolding to emphasize] of the pertinent Arizona Revised Statutes:
13-2412. Refusing to provide truthful name when lawfully detained; classification
A. It is unlawful for a person, after being advised that the person's refusal to answer is unlawful, to fail or refuse to state the person's true full name on request of a peace officer who has lawfully detained the person based on reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime. A person detained under this section shall state the person's true full name, but shall not be compelled to answer any other inquiry of a peace officer.
B. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor. (maximum penalty: 4 months + $750)
13-2402. Obstructing governmental operations; classification
A. A person commits obstructing governmental operations if, by using or threatening to use violence or physical force, such person knowingly obstructs, impairs or hinders:
1. The performance of a governmental function by a public servant acting under color of his official authority; or
2. The enforcement of the penal law or the preservation of the peace by a peace officer acting under color of his official authority.
B. This section does not apply to the obstruction, impairment or hinderance of the making of an arrest.
The above comes from an interview I did with one of the two not arrested protesters. The event was videotaped. The battery ran out at some point before the cops left, but after Shelton's arrest. It will be interesting to see how far away from the van they were. It is stated by my interviewer at no time did they ever touch the van, nor talk to the occupant.
The photo radar operator is a contract employee with a private
company and not a sworn or certified peace officer, nor government
employee. The photo radar van and equipment is not considered a
traffic control device under Arizona law.
So the problem is, if the three were Obstructing Government
Operations, why was only Shelton arrested? Why were not the other
two individuals told to leave upon their release and not further
obstruct the operation of the photo radar van?
No clearly, Shelton was arrested as was stated in front of witnesses and a camera at the time of refusing to provide his name. That is not a crime unless one is under detention for suspicion of having committed a crime. Clearly Shelton was not being detained for suspicion of a crime so he was under no legal obligation at that point to provide his name to police. Clearly the Obstructing Government Operations was added later to justify the initial arrest, but as can be seen that does not apply either. He has no interaction with either a public servant nor a peace officer with respect to the photo radar van. Nor was violence nor physical force in evidence. Hopefully the police report will be available tomorrow and shed some light of these questions.
People should be concerned because whole the City of Scottsdale claims they respect AND PROTECT a person's Right to protest, in the next sentence they claim that the arrest was for interfering with "a contracted photo enforcement's van operation." That may be true. A demonstration may interfere with a contracted photo enforcement's van operation, but so far that is not against the law. False arrest is a crime. So is adding false charges.
Shelton refused to give his name and particulars the ENTIRE time he
was there. He was held in a concrete cell that was cold and
completely empty...not even a bench to sit on. A detainee in
Scottsdale's Little Guantanamo. He asked for a pen and
paper. When asked what for, he replied to write a writ of habeas corpus to see a judge. They told him no.
He was transported to Old Town later that morning where he was placed into an identical room. He was brought before a Judge James Blake about 9 AM [times are very approximate because Shelton had no access to a clock] on the SINGLE charge of Refusing to Provide Truthful Name. He again refused to give his name and address to the judge saying he wanted to contact his lawyer first. He was placed into a room with a phone and phone book but was too disoriented to find his lawyer's phone number, so they yanked him out and took him back to the cell. Around 11AM he was brought before Judge Blake again. The Judge let him go ON HIS OWN RECOGNIZANCE (OR)!!!! How often does that happen? A real desperado.
But the cop instead took him back to his cell telling the judge they
were not through with him, and informed Shelton no way was he being let
go until he had his photos and fingerprints taken. Now
understand, he had just been released OR by the judge at 11AM. He
didn't get out until over six hours later, and that was after the
second charge of Obstructing
Government Operations was added by a cop named Alexander.
He was brought before a second Judge Monty Morgan for the second charge
and again ordered released OR.
We want the booking video, and the judge's hearing video and the former had better not conveniently disappear.
A chipin for Shelton's Defense Fund will be posted at some point.
Keep your eye peeled. We already have $600 committed. I was arrested
for standing in front of a photo radar van two years ago holding a sign
that warned in 12" letters, "Photo Radar." I can tell you it runs at a
bargain rate of about $3,000 to defend and that is only if a good
defense attorney likes you. Clearly for this to appear as a press
release and in the Arizona Republic
so fast the City of Scottsdale expects to make this a show trial to
quickly discourage any more protests against their lucrative revenue