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StreetWise's Oliver stifles speech again

After collecting the student's personal information, Oliver ordered them to surrender their videotape.
Anthony Oliver, the Executive Director of StreetWise, lied to prevent four Northwestern University students from exercising their constitutional rights outside the paper's offices last Friday.

"Turn off that camera," said Oliver covering the lens with his hand. "You can't videotape me. You don't have my permission to videotape me."

Camera operator Justin Rainier respected Oliver's claim to privacy.

However, Oliver was on the sidewalk and the students needed no "permission" to film him.

"It is unreasonable for any individual to expect privacy...where people gather," Don R. Pember writes in "Mass Media Law". "Taking pictures on a public not considered an intrusion."

Rainier and the other students, David Feldman, Ryan Murdock and John Monteverde, were at StreetWise Friday to interview Associate Editor Kari Lyderson for a documentary about the paper.

After conducting the interview they began taking footage of the building from the sidewalk. They had been doing so for approximately five minutes before Oliver and a security guard emerged from the building and confronted them

The students had just finished interviewing an unidentified StreetWise vendor when the men came out.

"StreetWise is a very great paper and a very great place," said the vendor during the interview. "Love to buy it. Love to read it."

Neither Oliver nor the security guard identified themselves to the students. StreetWise Production Editor Allan Gomez later identified the men as Oliver and Al Arredondo.

After Oliver demanded that they stop filming, both men pressed the students for their names, addresses, phone numbers, affiliation and some form of identification.

Feldman describes the men's actions as "menacing".

All four students gave their personal information. One of student's Social Security number was copied.

"[Arredondo] took down my student ID," Feldman said. "I don't know what he's going to do with it."

While Arredondo recorded the information Oliver continued to verbally harass the students.

"There's people inside who don't want to be photographed," he said.

According to Pember this reasoning has no legal foundation.

"A U.S. district court...ruled there was no intrusion when the National Enquirer took a photograph of a woman who was standing in front of her second-floor bedroom window," he writes. "She was clearly visible from the street below."

After collecting the student's information Oliver ordered them to surrender their videotape.

The students refused and whisked the camera away from Oliver.

Dawn Roberts, an Independent Media Center photographer-while documenting the events with IMC reporter Stephen Konieczka-was also confronted by Arredondo and Oliver who demanded her film.

Roberts asserted her right to photograph in public and refused to hand over the film.

Oliver and Arredondo asked the pair for their names, affiliation and identification. The journalists told the men their first names and IMC affiliation, but refused to disclose any further information.

As the two men retreated inside, Oliver continued to explain that Roberts and the students must have his consent to photograph StreetWise property and personal from the street.

He told Roberts to contact him if she wished to photograph.

Roberts questioned how she could contact Oliver, who never stated his name, without knowing his name.

"Call 554-0060 and ask for the 'man in charge,'" he said.




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