UPDATE: I’ve posted some of the the video here.
I guess it’s my fault, since I forgot my press badge. But I also feel like I just suffered some possible anti-gay harrassment from overzealous Dallas police officers.
You see, I was down at the peaceful ExxonMobil protest outside the Meyerson this morning with my Flip camera, getting some video to go with our coverage. At one point some crazy lady, presumably an ExxonMobil shareholder, stopped in the middle of the street and began yelling at the protesters, “Shame, shame, sinners!”
So I followed the lady across the street and kept filming her. She turned around and asked whether I was a reporter. I responded that I was and asked whether she was a shareholder. “Why?” she said before turning around and walking inside. At this same moment, a Dallas police officer yelled over my shoulder, “Leave her alone.”
So I turned around and filmed the officer briefly. Incidentally, this same officer had also warmly greeted the crazy lady as she walked past, after he failed to do anything as she stood in the middle of the street yelling, creating an obvious traffic hazard. But apparently he didn’t like the fact that I filmed him. That, and I didn’t have a press badge.
A few minutes later another cop approaches me and says I need to be on the same side of the barricades as the protesters. “I’m with the media,” I said. “Dallas Voice.” He asked whether I had a press badge, and I told him I left it at the office. Guess he didn’t believe me, because he told me to get on the other side of the barricades. (This was, mind y0u, after I had been on the public side of the barricades for about an hour filming. It was also as other reporters stood nearby on the public side of the barricades.)
Funny thing was, I just so happened to have DPD Chief David Brown’s business card in my pocket. I went to the gay LULAC chapter’s monthly meeting last night, where Brown spoke, and he handed me a card afterward. It was a fairly late night, and I had forgotten to grab my press badge before I left the office. So I didn’t have it with me when I left the house this morning at 7:30 for the ExxonMobil protest. But I did have Brown’s business card.
I reached in my pocket and pulled out the card and told the officer, “I don’t have my press badge, but I do have Chief Brown’s business card.”
“Go ahead, call him,” the officer said in the whiniest of tones.
I pleaded with an undercover detective who I’ve seen at every gay-rights protest I’ve attended in the last three years. “You know me, and you know I’m with the media,” I told her. But she claimed she didn’t recognize me and told me I’d have to listen to the officer. Who knows, maybe she really didn’t recognize me. I recently got my hair cut really short. I’m willing to give DPD the benefit of the doubt here, but frankly it just seemed like retaliation for filming the crazy lady and then filming the officer, who seemed overly sympathetic to the lady.
Anyhow, I needed to get back to the office anyway, so I left. David Taffet is still down at the Meyerson, and he’ll be posting a report later. Thanks for your time.
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