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."