We had an initial visit from a DPS car who threatened to call her supervisor. We never heard back. But while we were there a DPS motorcycle showed up down on the freeway. Then a DPS cruiser and a unmarked gray SUV. Then another cruiser and a couple of other unmarked DPS vehicles [one may have been a white Redflex service vehicle.]
So we spent the better part of 40 minutes dealing with the heavier westbound traffic, until the sun was setting low enough that it made more sense to switch to the other side for the final 20 minutes. The sun would hit our signs better, and traffic was getting heavier in the eastbound direction.
It was almost 5:30PM, getting ready to pack up. The photographer/ videographer from TheNewspaper and our own Sheldon were down on the freeway shoulder filming the protest from the car's vantage when they packed up and start to come back up the off ramp. Sheldon doesn't make it. A DPS cruiser comes flying up slamming on his brakes and chases Sheldon down. He gets arrested ... AGAIN ... while filming a lawful protest for Freedom's Phoenix as a properly credentialed videographer. He in fact identifies himself as such. Doesn't matter. This cop has been waiting for an excuse to bust someone and it ticks him that he can't get the protesters on the bridge. [Though he does threaten us with arrest for impeding the flow of traffic for waiving signs on the bridge (which is Phoenix PD jurisdiction) ... like the photo radar cameras aren't causing cars to brake!]
Sheldon was arrested for criminal trespass.
Four DPS vehicles with nothing to do but hope the angry mob doesn't tear them to pieces ... at least that was my impression, that four well armed DPS officers were sweating a crowd of a dozen chanting, "Let him go! Let him go!" Ah, flashbacks without the smell of tear gas.
Well one of the DPS vehicles stops at the top of the off ramp and he (the arresting officer) gets out. Blah, blah, blah. Bottom line he will take Sheldon around the corner and then let him go. I hand him my business card, state my name and identify myself as the Senior Editor for Freedom's Phoenix and state Sheldon is my videographer filming this protest for Freedom's Phoenix. Just so we are clear. So four DPS vehicles pull onto Portland St. With Sheldon in one of the first two vehicles. Then as the crowd migrated there the first two take off with Sheldon. We are left across the street making phone calls to various parties. Matt calls the DPS to speak to a watch commander.
About half an hour later they show back up and drop Sheldon off on the other side of the parking lot where we are standing.
I am not surprised with the response. We have three articles that must have embarassed the DPS, and they are just looking for an excuse to crack down on a bunch of demonstrators opposing the Governor's new oppressive program. Nobody likes to have their new power questioned. And cops hate a lack of genuflection.
I am really getting sick of Sheldon getting arrested every time he films an event. I am getting tired of the guy with the camera getting grabbed. It does make for a easy eventful story though. But until there is a price to pay, the cops will feel the power to grab a media person whomever, whenever they like without reason to fear. Can anyone think of a price? I would love to read an creative and realistic idea....