News from the liberterrain...Fed Marshals violently arrest FIJA activist, violate DHS policy
"George attempted to video what was happening. Seconds later, they assaulted George and wrestled his video camera away. Thugs piled on George. One even put his knee on George's face." – Jim Babb, describing the official reaction to a peaceful FIJA outreach effort in Allentown PA.
US Marshals Service This is one of only a handful of photos to survive
the violent seizure of George Donnelly's camera by law enforcement
officers in Allentown PA, taken by Jim Babb with his cell phone.
assaulting Donnelly the agents clearly violated Department of Homeland Security policy (pdf), which
requires them to approach, identify themselves, and interview
photographers on federal property to determine criminal behavior.
Absent criminal behavior, "the photography should be permitted to proceed unimpeded."
Two libertarian activists, George Donnelly and Jim Babb, had barely joined relentless freedom campaigner Julian Heicklen at the federal courthouse in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to help distribute Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) literature when they were confronted by US Marshals.
George Donnelly with Julian Heicklen in an earlier FIJA
outreach effort. (photo courtesy George Donnelly)
The three had worked together before but, as Babb later described this experience, "We encountered the most aggressive opposition that I have seen so far."
It began when a female agent approached Heicklen.
"Julian chose to argue with her in a belligerent fashion," Babb reports. "Within seconds, about 10 or 12 federal goons arrived. These people were extremely aggressive. The female assaulted Julian. He commanded her to back off."
That's when George Donnelly, attempting to videotape the incident, was taken down by the marshals.
From Jim Babb's report to the Libertarian News Examiner:
"I called 911 to report an assault and robbery in progress. Things were very chaotic, stressful and happening very fast.
"We all had goons in our faces, but George was targeted for extreme violence to get his camera.
"A minute or two later, more goons arrived and kidnapped George. They threatened Julian and me as well."
Jim Babb (photo by
Babb told the Libertarian News Examiner this morning in an
exclusive interview that what happened to Donnelly "was a mugging and a
He said that Donnelly had been taken to the Lehigh County Corrections facility and later transferred to the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia.
Babb, who admitted he doesn't know where Donnelly is for sure, has contacted a lawyer and fellow libertarian in Philadelphia to find and help Donnelly.
"All contact with the public, to include photographers, must be conducted in a professional but polite manner." – Special Security Bulletin, Photography on Federally Owned and Leased Facilities (pdf).
In another ironic twist, Julian Heicklen had distributed FIJA pamphlets by himself earlier that day in Reading, PA, without incident.
thanks to Jim Babb for his reporting and for supplying the link to the
official DHS security bulletin concerning photography of federal
A follow-up report will be posted as soon as more is known about George Donnelly's whereabouts and condition.
NOTE: Julian Heicklen needs volunteers to witness, photograph and video his outreach efforts. He encourages you to join his "Tyranny Fighters" by emailing him at jph13-at-psu-dot-edu, but be advised that the government may be intercepting his emails.