The Filming of George Floyd’s Murder Would Have Been Illegal in Boston
James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas brand of gotcha reporting has twice now made him the test case of the boundaries of First Amendment protection of journalists. “You might love, hate or simply want to ignore Project Veritas,” said Gene Schaerr, Protect The 1st general counsel. “But their rights are everyone’s rights.”
The recent raid on O’Keffe’s home by the FBI and the confiscation of his cellphone provoked critical comment from the American Civil Liberties Union and New York Times media columnist Ben Smith. Less noticed was the denial today by the U.S. Supreme Court of Project Veritas Action Fund v. Rollins, in which that conservative activist group sought to overturn a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Unlike many other federal courts, the First Circuit ignored the threat to the First Amendment posed by a Massachusetts law that makes it illegal for anyone but law enforcement officers to record others without their permission.
In our amicus brief, Protect The 1st noted a long history of the public interest being served by the exposure of misdeeds, from the undercover reporting of Nellie Bly in 1887 to 18-year-old Darnella Frazier, who received a Pulitzer Prize citation for recording the murder of George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis in 2020.
Protect The 1st will continue to defend the standard in many parts of the country that affirms Americans’ right to record. We will continue to look for other opportunities to encourage the Court to resolve the important legal issues presented in Project Veritas’ petition.