The subject of law enforcement officers has become rather heated ever since then-candidate Donald Trump stuck his neck out for the boys in blue. In keeping with the trend, I’d like to propose a question: Should the police be allowed to enforce a politician’s verbal restriction against making a video of him at an open meeting?
First, what the heck is a politician doing at an open meeting if he doesn’t want to be filmed? If he didn’t want to be filmed, he could have gone to a closed-cabinet meeting with a few select individuals and talked his head off for two hours while his audience gradually fell asleep.
But instead he chose to go to an open meeting. He probably thought he could make an exception and ask the people not to film him. Instead, the film-hungry population took it into their heads to video as many politicians as they could squeeze onto an SD card. They disregarded the politician’ wheedling pleas and shot away, clicking from so many different angles that he felt he was in a virtual electrical storm.
In this desperate conundrum, the half-blind politician caught the arm of a police officer and begged him to make the people stop. Naturally, the good-natured officer obliged and started forming a path through which the politician could escape the surging tidal wave of flash-bulbs. But the irrepressible crowd pressed forth, eventually driving the politician from the scene, sweating, back to his closed cabinet.
Should the police have been more authoritative? It’s a tricky question. If the police were not allowed to defend the politician, they would be forbidden from defending an American citizen, thus violating the Constitution.
However, the politician had no right to ask the police to stop the crowd because this was an open meeting, designed for the very purpose of allowing the people to glimpse and take pictures and videos of politicians. The crowd was in the right, with the law on their side. And besides, who likes politicians anyway?