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Video: A no drama First Amendment audit in California

Stockton firefighters invite videographer into firehouse

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The firefighters in the City of Stockton, California aren’t just good at rapidly getting water on a fire and making a quick knock down (as we’ve seen on videos quite often), they also know how to handle a First Amendment audit. highdesert community watch news network, like Stockton Fire Department, has lots of videos on its YouTube channel. But many of the videos from the man who runs highdesert community watch news network show confrontations with police and others over the use of his camera in public areas. His video, showing a recent visit to Stockton Fire Department Station 2, was posted Tuesday and is titled “STOCKTON FIRE DEPT (Doing it right) Making change, 1st Amendment Audit.”

This video is just the opposite of many of the 1A audit videos we’ve seen in that there is zero confrontation. The firefighters didn’t even seem to understand this was a 1A audit. Instead, they just treated someone with a camera shooting pictures and video of the firehouse from a public place as a citizen interested in the fire department. They walked up to him, not to tell him to turn off his camera or chase him away, but to invite him and the woman with him into the firehouse to shoot more video.

Yes, people who do these 1A audits can be real pains and annoying. It just seems to me that the better outcome for all involved is the Stockton Fire Department approach to those with cameras. It defuses the situation and fails to provide what some 1A auditors want, a confrontation and/or a potential violation of the videographers civil rights.

I suggest again, for those who would rather get in a videographer’s face, to watch the video from Lexipol’s Gordon Graham on First Amendment audits.


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