WHITE CASTLE, LOUISIANA – A local investigative news reporter had the steel bracelets locked around his wrists for attempting to get public records on the large salary increase recently obtained by the Mayor.
Chris Nakamoto was arrested and issued a trespassing charge (misdemeanor) for peacefully following up on a public records request detailing the amount of taxpayer money that is going to Jermarr Williams, the city’s Mayor. Nakamoto showed-up with his cameraman, Joe McCoy around 11 a.m. in search of omitted documents they were looking for as part of their records request which also included an audio recording of a city council meeting and a copy of Williams’ taxpayer-funded mileage reimbursement.
They were specifically looking for proof that the large salary increase was approved by the city council.
WBRZ stated “A public records request is a formal inquiry anyone can make to get access to public government documents. An elected official’s salary is public information. Nakamoto was at city hall checking on the records request.”
WBRZ reported that, Mayor Williams’ salary increased 20 percent between April and November of 2015. A pay raise for the mayor is required to be approved by the City Council with an issuance of a municipal ordinance.
White Castle has a failed history of producing public records. Last year, several residents filed lawsuits over the issue. A judge ordered the city to release all the requested documents and pay the penalties for breaking the transparency laws.
Nakamoto stated while being whisked away in handcuffs, “This is what the residents of White Castle deal with.”
While McCoy was filming the incident the White Castle cop instructed them to exit the public domain. The video shows Nakamoto saying that they have the right to be there and why they were being forced to leave.
Nakamoto tells the order follower “Okay this is a public building sir, we have a right to be here, we’re here to get our public records.”
The mayor’s henchman then tells McCoy to stop filming, McCoy comes back with “No. Public building, man.”
Mike Cavender, executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association, said “The arrest of WBRZ investigative reporter Chris Nakamoto for “trespass” in a public building while attempting to access a public record is a blatant assault on First Amendment rights. Especially in light of a judge’s order that these records be made public, this kind of action is wholly unacceptable on the part of the local police and city administration and cannot be justified or tolerated.” We had an instance back in early January where Don’t Comply reporters went to a bio-terrorism drill in a public building and our cameraman was confronted by police with threats of incarceration if he didn’t vacate the premises.
Elected officials shutting down any investigations that are aimed towards them are obviously guilty of wrongdoing. Sending an armed tax-funded bully to stop the unraveling of their economic fraud exposes the corruption even more by waving the wand to initiate violence in order to keep the money flowing undetected.
By Andre’ Gabriel Esparza – DontComply.com
A Pro Liberty, Pro Freedom, Human Rights Activist, very involved in a wide variety of Activism and Exposing the Truth at all costs.
confuses 1st Amendment rights to publish anything with right to film in a public building and to request public documents. categorically different rights.
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