Saturday, November 1, 2008

F4J Pittsburgh PA Rally at Heinz Field Huge Success Despite Disruption by Security and Police

F4J Pittsburgh PA Rally at Heinz Field Huge Success Despite Disruption by Security and Police

Fathers-4-Justice members from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia rallied in front of Heinz Stadium this past Sunday, October 26. Members felt a football stadium on a Sunday afternoon would be the perfect place to find dads and increase public awareness. The rally was a tremendous success. Members, armed with flyers, signs and flags, walked through the public parking lots and along the sidewalks talking to people about equal parenting. “People were running after us to get our information, one guy chased me, when he caught up to me, he said he has been fighting the family court system for almost 24 years. He thanked me for being there and spreading our message. He asked for some information to give to all of his friends in the same situation, I gave him a stack of flyers, and off he went to distribute them. That was a great moment.” Brian Holladay, a National Boardmember for Fathers-4-Justice, said.

Fathers-4-Justice fights for the civil rights of parents and grandparents, so it is odd that authorities, in what appears to be a violation of civil rights, interrupted this rally.

Jesse Storm, President of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Fathers-4-Justice, was detained and threatened arrest by a Pittsburgh Police. Storm explains, “This stemmed from a Rally that was taking place by a few states. We where stopped by the Security at the Heinz Field. They told us that we where not allowed on the public sidewalks and the public property surrounding the Heinz field complex. We had the “Daddy Justice Film" camera with us to record our rally and continued to film security asking us to leave public property. When Sgt. John Fisher of the Pittsburgh Police, showed up his issue was with my camera. The Sgt. asked me to turn off the audio recording device. I showed him that camera was turned off, he attacked me pulled the camera out of my hand and handcuffed me. He stated that recording, audio, was against the wiretap laws of Pennsylvania. I tried to explain to him that we where on a public side walk and there was no assumption of privacy. Nevertheless, he handcuffed me. Sgt. John Fisher, a Landmark security office and another police officer took me inside Heinz field. They took the “Daddy Justice Films” from my camera even after I informed that that I work for "Daddy Justice Films", a media source.

After a phone call, he district attorney instructed them to release me immediately. The DA said we are allowed to demonstrate on the sidewalks and to continue our rally. We attempted to moved forward with our rally, Landmark security stopped us again insisting that we where not allowed on the public sidewalks or egresses around the field.”

Fathers-4-Justice planned a peaceful rally and demonstration to increase public awareness. Security officers and police interrupted the F4J rally for an hour. Storm says, “By the time I was released and given permission to continue the rally, and stopped again by Landmark security, most of the people where inside the field. Thousands of dollars where wasted on printing flyers, rental cars, fuel and tolls to get these folks to the rally.”

Fathers-4-Justice is grateful for what was accomplished but feels they could have interacted with twice as many people had they not been illegally stopped. When asked if anyone plans to press charges, Holladay said, “Our board of directors will discuses the issue this week.”

Christine Smith

F4J National

Media Coordinator

Tel: 440-306-2444


Unknown said...

Fantastic - Onward - Jim

Anonymous said...

As a reporter for Daddy Justice Film, you were reporting on a public news event, and there was no expectation or presumption of privacy under Pennsylvania's wire tap law. By interrupting you, police and security personnel violated your U.S. Constitution First Amendment Right to Freedom of the Press. I certainly hope you will be seeking relief through the courts for this Civil Rights violation.
To prevent this in the future, get and display your press credentials. Even if you can't get "official" (whatever that means) press credentials from the "authorities," print your own identifying yourself as a member of the news media and wear it on your clothing in a clear plastic badge-holder.

Michael J. Murphy said...

Yours is a good point Jeff. Those of us who chronicle events are part of the media without a doubt.

I've used it several times when my Parental Alienation Blog has been targeted for take down by my ex in family court proceedings.

It is also a constitutional right in Canada.

The work of Fathers 4 Justice and the Pain of Fathers ~ Activism in the UK

Equal and Shared Parenting ~ The Movie