Citizen Journalist Riles DFW Government Agencies and Contractor With "First Amendment Fridays"

Categories: Media

sandersdea.JPG
YouTube
The DEA got this close to Brett Sanders.

Armed with at least his Infowars.com press pass and his smartphone camera, Frisco resident Brett Sanders is staging a one-man crusade for the Bill of Rights.

For each of the last three Fridays, Sanders, who says he is also involved in the Open Carry movement, has filmed a different entity from public sidewalks. July 11 it was federal contractor Raytheon. July 18 it was the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region VI office. Last week he took to the area outside the Drug Enforcement Administration's Dallas office. In each instance Sanders is told to stop filming and a confrontation of varying level of intensity ensues.

"My main goal is to empower citizens that maybe did not know that they have a right to film in public and maybe did not know that they have a right to refuse to ID themselves if they're not committing a crime," Sanders says.

As you can see in the DEA video -- included in full below -- Sanders methods are confrontational. He harangues the DEA representatives who come out to tell him to stop filming about the failure of the war on drugs and uses some coarse language. At no point are the DEA representatives able to tell Sanders why he should stop filming, however.

Sanders has no end product in mind for the videos, but that isn't the point. He's trying to start a conversation about the First Amendment and the right to film in public spaces, he says.

If agencies don't want to be a part of what Sanders is doing, there's an easy solution.

"If the DEA or any public official or any government entity that doesn't want to create a news story, their best bet is to maybe just politely wave, maybe ask what I'm doing and leave me alone," he says.

Sanders plans to continue "First Amendment Fridays" for the foreseeable future.

The DEA did not respond to a request for comment.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
61 comments
Rooster0620
Rooster0620

This isn't a dude who filmed his haphazard interaction with law encorcement and was abused. This fruitbat deliberately went there to start a confrontation with DEA agents to gain his 15 minutes of fame.

It would appear my opinion is different than most here, but to me, making a specific trip to a federal building in a deliberate attempt to pick a fight with a civil servant makes you more whack-job than patriot.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Those men are civil servants, not the Gestapo.  They answer to American citizens and not the other way round. Three cheers for Sanders!  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

...


Fucking Excellent !!


...

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Sanders......BVCKVS..... could be, would explain a lot.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

Open carry for cameras, not guns.

tdkisok
tdkisok

I like how Sanders says he can't leave and the agents tell him he can. But he doesn't......lol. I wonder why he doesn't leave and why he tries to get them to do something stupid with his taunts. Another Alex Jones dickweed.

James080
James080

The larger issue is that too much of government "by the people" is conducted by our elected and appointed officials in secret and very likely against the public interest. This is true from the local to the federal level, and the various Freedom of Information laws are a joke, because government actors are very skilled at delaying responses through appeals for months, years and decades. Information delayed is information denied.

russell.allison1
russell.allison1

Or, just visit the Spy Centre and get a camera that doesn't look like a camera and film away. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Nice to see he has a boss that let's him take every Friday off.  What a gig

schermbeck
schermbeck

Don't agree with his politics, but his point is absolutely valid. This happens to environmental activists all the time outside one facility or another while they're standing on public access right-of-way taking video or pics of polluters. Good for him for challenging the Powers-That-Be on this front.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

That agent seemed awfully unconcerned about his identity being compromised.

Raised on Superman, and the amazing ability of eyewear to totally mask one's identity, but the Streisand effect is mightier than even that devious disguise.

In checkout line at Kroger: "Say, aren't you that doofus DEA guy on Youtube?"

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@Rooster0620 Still, Rooster, being a whack-job is not an arrestable offense.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@bmarvel Yes.  And he handled bluffing bullies the way bluffing bullies need to be handled.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@bmarvel hahahaha, not that I agree with the open carry folks tactics but this is priceless coming from you.  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@tdkisok


I'd like to know why security guards are such grotesquely obese pigs?



bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@tdkisok Simple answer, as Sanders points out: Don't do anything stupid and he'll go away.

tdkisok
tdkisok

@TheRuddSki 


"That agent seemed awfully unconcerned about his identity being compromised."


Because he probably isn't undercover. Like I said Ruddy, idiots are everywhere. Thanks for proving my point. Also, if you had watched the whole video you would have seen that was mentioned.

Rooster0620
Rooster0620

And nobody arrested him.

Just because you have the right to photograph a federal building does not mean you have the right to do so without someone asking questions...especially after Oklahoma City.

If the agents/security guard in the video hadn't even talked to this nutjob and he came back later and blew the building to smithereens, they would have been crucified for not doing anything (provided they lived to tell about it).

In this video they did just exactly what they were supposed to. They walked out, did a field interview, put up with this idiot doing his best to pick a fight with them, assessed the threat level, and let him go on his merry way filming whatever he wanted.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @bmarvel I don't share the dim view of cops displayed by many commenters, Myrna.  Some are bullying assholes -- too many -- but most are basically good folks trying to do a job that is basically impossible.  That said, we still need to keep an eye -- or a camera --on them. Power does corrupt.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@bmarvel @tdkisok Being an obnoxious stupid dick isnt against the law, its just annoying and doesnt help his cause

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@tdkisok @russell.allison1 "That would defeat his REAL purpose - to get attention."

Possibly.But in getting attention, he's drawing attention.  Which, in a free democracy, is more important.

russell.allison1
russell.allison1

@gangstead1 @russell.allison1 Ever seen some of the neat stuff they have in that place??  He has a solid justification for the purchase of really cool stuff that he absolutely doesn't need.  Any guy worth his salt should leap at that.  Kinda the same way that when you need to cut a branch off the crepe myrtle you go buy the 16" Echo chain saw instead of the $20 limb lopper. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@tdkisok

Oh yeah, you can be sure he wears his badge at Taco Bell

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@Rooster0620 I'm all for talking, Rooster, as I've written before. I'm all for courtesy and mutual respect. I'm all for law enforcement understanding that a citizen taking pictures is exercising his rights just as when he is using his eyeballs.

There is a history here of overzealous police who have arrested or threatened to arrest photographers, confiscated their cameras, removed their film. So it is not at all surprising that people with cameras are a little testy, these days.  Once again, I invite you to do a little online digging. (Check the Poynter Online site today for accounts of several authority-versus-photographer encounters). If we have to account for our every action, for our very presence on the street, then we no longer have a free society. That includes those of us who are "idiots." 


bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @bmarvel @tdkisok Wouldn't it be great to live in a world in which the useful and necessary things are done only by noble and admirable people?

Joe.T
Joe.T

@russell.allison1
That stuff is great, and I'm sure he would love to have some of it, especially if you're buying!
Please remember that activists like Brett, and others do this on their own time with their own limited funds. If for any reason you can't or won't do the activism yourself, you can always sponsor an activist!

Rooster0620
Rooster0620

And yet none of that happened in this video.

This was not some tourist snapping pictures that suddenly got harassed by "the man". It was nothing more than some dude who didn't get enough hugs as a child doing his best to deliberately provoke a confrontation with a civil servant.

And you guys are worshipping him like he's John Hancock.

So yes...if you are making it a point to take time out of your day to deliberately attempt to start a confrontation with "insert cop/agent/authority figure here", that makes you an idiot, among other things, but one of those things definitely isn't the patriot you would like it to be.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@bmarvel @ScottsMerkin @tdkisok

No.

And in my opinion, far too many people are under the false impression that that is the world we now live in - in the sense that only the people that they agree with are noble and admirable.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@tdkisok @TheRuddSki Okay, tdkisok. Let's pretend for a moment that Sanders isn't an attention-seeking dickweed. Let's think about what he does rather than what he is. What would be your problem with photographing public servants in public places?

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@Rooster0620  Oh, for heavens sakes, Rooster.

It makes no difference if he's a tourist or an idiot or some dude who didn't get enough hugs. He's a citizen exercising his rights. Get over it. 

Nobody here is turning him into Patrick Henry (who could also be a pain in the ass, by the way). Focus on essentials: Citizen - rights - rule of law. You sound like a purse-mouthed old lady.

Joe.T
Joe.T

@bmarvel 

I don't support you breeding, but it is your right nonetheless.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@bmarvel @tdkisok @TheRuddSki Think about what a portion of the DEA does.  Agents go under, hide their identity, in order to put together the evidence needed to arrest and convict drug importers, dealers, traffickers and the like.  In many cases, if those agents are uncovered, even after the case they're working on is closed, it can be damaging to their careers, even their lives.

Imagine a few no good-niks, one or two months after several of their meth-chef buddies got popped and sent up, browsing YouTube.  They see another of their buddies on a video.  A guy who disappeared right about the time of the raid that nabbed their chemists.  The guy is walking into work at the Dallas DEA Division building.

There are legitimate reasons for prohibiting photography of public buildings, even from public property.

tdkisok
tdkisok

@bmarvel


My problem is with his attention seeking stupidity. Filming a government security check point will bring predictable results. He is doing nothing productive. The DEA agents came out because some stranger was filming people going in out of the facility. Some of which are probably working undercover. 


Now it shouldn't take a genius to figure out why agents came out there to talk to him. If you don't get it then no posting by me will pass on that basic logic to you.  

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@Joe.T Thanks, Joe. I'll inform my kids.

Joe.T
Joe.T

@RTGolden1
If they cannot handle the fall out for their job of initiating violence on non-violent people that have harmed no one but themselves, then maybe they should find a different, possibly a productive, job.


bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @bmarvel @tdkisok @TheRuddSki -- So you imagine that undercover agents just wander in and out of the front door of federal agencies? That's the kind of fantasy that comes from watching too much television, Golden. 

The reality is that are many ways of cloaking the identity of these people, none of which involve arresting folks with cameras. I know. I covered the Federal beat as a newspaper reporter for several years. 

But beyond your wild imaginings, there is one compelling reason for protecting citizens' rights to photograph public buildings in a public place: THEY'RE OUR BUILDINGS. It's our government. This is not (yet) a nation at war with its citizens.

In the aftermath of 9/11 all sorts of agencies and bureaus, from subway cops to city water departments,  clamped down on photography in the name of "homeland security." Police arrested photographers for shooting oil refineries at night, trains, farms (yes -- farms!), routine traffic stops, airplanes. Courts have promptly put an end to most of this nonsense. There is a web site called Photographers' Rights. Google it and learn something.     


Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...