Saturday, December 20, 2014

Philly Police Radio Broadcasting 1st Amendment

The police scanner, a staple of every newspaper office, is a constant source of usually troublesome news. But this morning, Philadelphia Police Department dispatchers are airing something you don't typically hear: The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Philly Police Radio Broadcasting 1st Amendment

Occupy Philly protesters outside City Hall yesterday.
Occupy Philly protesters outside City Hall yesterday.

The police scanner, a staple of every newspaper office, is a constant source of usually troublesome news.  But this morning, Philadelphia Police Department dispatchers are airing something you don't typically hear: The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

This comes as a group of protesters is rising after spending the night on the apron of City Hall, the "Occupy Philly" event an off-shoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement still going on in Manhattan.  We just took a tour around City Hall.  The waking protest had a jamboree quality, with people starting to staff public safety and medic stations while officers from the Police Department's Civil Affairs kept an eye on a group of people waving signs at intersections.

We're betting the First Amendment broadcast has something to do with Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey's memo to his officers, reminding them that people have the right to record sounds, pictures and video of police actions in public spaces.  As the Daily News reported, that policy hasn't always been followed.

Here's what the First Amendment says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

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