The First Amendment was created in order to allow people to speak freely about politics, religion, and other ideas or beliefs. As long as we do it peacefully, and in a way that is not infringing on others’ rights, we get to do it. No questions asked. Or, maybe not ...
As most people know our police system was created to protect, serve and enforce laws set forth by our founding fathers. But what happens to us when the overseers of justice restrict the truth from coming out. Who’s overseeing the overseers?
Case in point. Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan who sent an armed sergeant to Oakland Tribune reporter Doug Oakley's home in the middle of the night to push for changes to a story. According to the Oakland Tribune, Meehan claimed that Oakley misquoted him in a story. Minutes after reading the article, Meehan ordered Sgt. Mary Kusmiss to visit the reporter's home and request that he correct the article.
Meehan rationalized the police department’s handling of the situation by claiming they simply and innocently made an overzealous attempt to make sure that accurate information would be put out. Really?
So, using intimidation and censorship by sending an armed officer to Oakley's home at night is justifiable? How about writing a letter to the editor? How about meeting the reporter and his/her editor in their office, during the workday, and calmly stating your case? How would the police chief feel if you showed up (with a weapon) to his home when he was off duty, and “requested” him to tear up your speeding ticket?
This may be a police versus reporter story, but isn’t it very much like the what has happened to me and others who share too much of the truth? Don’t calmly and openly debate me. Just censor me and throw me in jail. What a fantastic solution!
Please keep up your awesome and humbling support. I’ll certainly keep fighting for you, too.