KRMF has filed a federal civil rights suit against the Borough of Collingdale and two of its police officers for inexplicably arresting on February 22, 2014 two women whose “offense” was to merely video police officers in the performance of their duties.
As described in a television news report on NBC Philadelphia, the incident started with the report of a simple neighborhood dispute. The complaint, filed on September 23, alleges that once police arrived at the home of plaintiffs Kia and Michael Gaymon and their daughter, Sanshuray Purnell, they aggressively approached the Gaymons. Concerned for her safety, Kia Gaymon took out her cell phone and began to video the encounter from inside her home. When an officer told her that she was not permitted to do so under Pennsylvania’s wiretap law, she told the officer–correctly–that no law prohibited her from taking the video. In response, the officer arrested Ms. Purnell while she was standing on the front stoop of her home and then proceeded inside the Gaymons’ home to arrest Ms. Gaymon. Both women were charged with disorderly conduct. The charges were later dismissed.
The lawsuit alleges that the officers had no legal cause to make the arrest and bring charges, that the officers unlawfully entered the Gaymons’ home and that the officers’ actions violated Ms. Gaymon’s First Amendment right to observe and record police.
The case will be litigated by KRMF partner Jonathan Feinberg.