Two Skydiving Records Set at Skydive Hawaii on Saturday – Tandem HALO Jumps Available to Public

Yesterday, on the North Shore of Oahu at Dillingham Airfield, KITV News Reporter Andrew Pereira and I participated in setting two Hawaii State skydiving records at Skydive Hawaii.

Andrew and I get ready for the jump of our lives

Andrew and I get ready for the jump of our lives

The first record was for the “highest altitude tandem “HALO” jump” leaping from the plane at over 4 miles in space at 22,000 feet.  HALO stands  for “High Altitude Low Opening” and one of the more famous HALO jumps took place recently when RedBull Skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped from 24 miles from space or approximately 128,000 in altitude.

Some folks may remember the first time I set the Hawaii Tandem Halo Jump when I jumped from 21,000 feet back on December 11th of 2011, as Frank T.K. Hinshaw stated the first time I jumped… every extra 1,000 feet in altitude makes the risks and the danger just that much more.

The second record set yesterday was for the “altitude and wingsuit flight time record for Hawaii of 22,000ft & 4 minutes 37 seconds in flight time,” set by Hinshaw himself.

Frank T.K. Hinshaw on the far right in his winsuit

Frank T.K. Hinshaw on the far right in his wing suit

Here is a short video of me interviewing Andrew Pereira shortly before we went up and as you can tell… he was pretty nervous about what he was about to do as this was his first time skydiving, less yet doing a HALO jump.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/WFlgZF_QVWk]

After we were instructed on what we were to do and equipped with oxygen tanks, we traversed out to the airplane where we would have no chance of turning back once we got on that plane.

Ignacio "Nacho" Martinez, Damon Tucker, Andrew Pereira and "Papa Dop" get ready to board the plane.  Photo Skydive Hawaii

Ignacio “Nacho” Martinez, Damon Tucker, Andrew Pereira and “Papa Dop” get ready to board the plane. Photo Skydive Hawaii

When we were close to 22,000 feet in altitude, “Nacho” Martinez posted the following picture to Facebook and said “Took off on load one and saw a huge school of dolphins. Then went up on the next load and saw 6 whales. Now breathing pure oxygen while climbing to 22,000 ft. How could you not love Skydive Hawaii!?”

At 12,000 feet we donned oxygen masks as the air get's thinner the higher you go.

At 12,000 feet we donned oxygen masks as the air gets thinner the higher you go.

Here is a quick clip of the freefall part of my jump from 22,000 feet:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/swv5Zym804A]

I free falled for about a minute until my tandem instructor Martinez pulled the chute at about 5,000 feet from the ground and then glided smoothly in for a stand-up landing.  I even got to steer the parachute myself for about 30 seconds and that was super cool!

I spy VH07V

I spy VH07V

Once again I can say it was cold… but it wasn’t near as cold as the first time I did the HALO.  Ever since I did the first HALO jump, they have offered this experience to the public as well… of course it costs a lot more then the regularly advertised jumps and I suggest you contact Skydive Hawaii directly at (808) 637-9700 or (808) 945-0222 if you or a group of folks are interested in doing this.

My view from 22,000 feet as we were about to jump from the plane

My view from 22,000 feet as we were about to jump from the plane

Here is the video of the second record that was broken… as T.K. said though “Set a new altitude and wingsuit flight time record for Hawaii today: 22,000ft & 4 minutes 37 seconds. . . not bad for not knowing I was going to go for the attempt until this morning. If I had inflight oxygen & gloves, I think I could get 6 minutes easy.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4NbkQod_bU]

I’d like to say thanks to Skydive Hawaii for giving Andrew and I this opportunity and to T.K.’s father Frank (Sr.) and the Hinshaw family for running such a great operation out on the North Shore.  They bring in a lot of tax dollars from the tourism industry and you know how much our islands depend on tourists having a good time and wanting to come back to Hawaii.

Hawaii Senate Passes Bill 369 – Relating to Video Conferencing

This afternoon in the Hawaii State Capital Chambers, members of the Hawaii Senate listened to testimony provided by video conferencing from Big Island residents that were in support of Hawaii Senate Bill 369, Relating to Video Conferencing.

Here is a screen shot from me providing testimony from here on the Big Island:

Talking to Senator Wakai before the hearing begins.

Talking to Senator Wakai before the hearing begins.

I provided the following testimony:

My name is Damon Tucker and I’m from Pahoa here on the Big Island of Hawaii and I’m here to testify via videoconferencing in support of Senate Bill 369.

Many of us folks on the neighbor islands would like to submit testimony in person at the legislature but we simply can not for many factors whether it be; time, money, jobs, kids, etc.

I’m sure that you folks as our Representatives get flooded with written testimony.  I ask you folks how often do you actually read all of the testimony.

Everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words… how many words do you think video could represent?

Keeping the public informed and maintaining transparency in the legislative process are key to a democratic system of government.

I believe that these hearings should not only be available to neighbor island constituents, but Oahu residents as well.  Legislative committee hearings are notorious for going late into the night often forcing some who would like to speak or listen to the debate to give up and go home.

With governments at all levels looking to maximize the return on every dollar invested in infrastructure and training, turning to video conferencing as the backbone of a forward-thinking communications strategy makes financial, environmental, and technological sense.

Executive Order 13589, issued by President Obama on November 11, 2009, states:

To ensure efficient travel spending, agencies are encouraged to devise strategic alternatives to Government travel, including local or technological alternatives, such as teleconferencing and video conferencing.

Two other folks testified in support of the bill and after listening to the testimony the Senate had a quorum and passed Senate Bill 369 unanimously.

 

Wordless Wednesday – A Picture With Me and His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Last week I had the privilege to cover His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Hawaii.  One thing you never ever want to do when covering an event like this… is to ask someone like this for a picture with him.

Many folks have asked if I got any pictures taken of me with him and I myself just felt blessed that he held my hand and I was invited to the event.

Then I started thinking about things and other photographers that were on hand and it turns out one of the best photographers in the State of Hawaii, Dallas Nagata White, was able to capture a picture of me sitting in the front row of the media section while we were given the opportunity to ask questions of His Holiness.

Yep... that's me on the far right in this picture wearing a Sig Zane shirt. Go figure... even His Holiness the Dalai Lama has more hair then me! (Photo courtesy of Dallas Nagata White)

His Holiness The Dalai Lama Blesses the Hokule’a, Answers Questions and HOLDS MY HAND!

I was invited yesterday for a private event held at Kualoa State Park on Oahu, where His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet blessed the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Hokule’a canoe and then answered questions for invited media folks in Hawaii.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/B2Rz_Hz0Fn8]

His Holiness arrived at Kualoa Park today for a private blessing ceremony for the Hokule’a. As he was escorted to the blessing by Nainoa Thompson and John DeFries, the Dalai Lama was greeted by the sound of conch shells and chants. The Dalai Lama’s earth blessing led into the consecration of the Hokule’a. At the end of the ceremony, the Dalai Lama boarded the Hokule’a with his entourage. The Dalai Lama’s gift of a scarf was tied to the mast, drawing a close to the poignant blessing. (photos courtesy of Pilars of Peace)

Cy Bridges and other members the Hakipu’u Ohana perform a chant to welcome His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet to Kualoa Regional Park on Oahu.

Hakipu’u Ohana blow the pu shell (conch shell) announcing the arrival of His Holiness

His Holiness climbs aboard the Hokule’a

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet jokes with members of the Hokule’a Crew following the Earth Blessing and Consecration of the Hokule’a and the World Wide Voyage.

Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, takes in the Earth Blessing by His Holiness

The crew of the Hokule’a tie a Khata that was given to them by His Holiness to the mast of their canoe

After His Holiness did the blessing, he moved over to a tent where His Holiness fielded questions from the media that was invited… I almost tripped moving to my seat knowing he was coming so close to me!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/eiZ_t0wP6VI]

He spent about 30 minutes talking to reporters and I just kind of was stunned in amazement that I was sitting right across from him!

Here are some of the pictures I took during the question and answer period with His Holiness (Click for larger view):

Here is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet’s answer to a couple of the questions asked:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/haV-68S9FY8]

And a more serious question regarding the military presence here in the State of Hawaii:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/pSSDIhagJDA]

After the question and answer session… His Holiness actually held my hand for about five seconds!!!!  I still haven’t washed my hand!

ABOUT HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA

His Holiness the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent struggle for Tibet and received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his “many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, nonviolence, human rights and religious understanding.” He recently won the 2012 Templeton Prize for his work in spiritually relevant scientific research. Author of more than 72 books and the recipient of numerous awards and honorary doctorates, His Holiness describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. For more information about the Dalai Lama, please visit: www.dalailama.com.

ABOUT THE HAWAI’I COMMUNITY FOUNDATION 

With 95 years of community service, the Hawai’i Community Foundation is the leading philanthropic institution in the state. The Foundation is a steward of more than 600 funds, including more than 160 scholarship funds, created by donors who desire to transform lives and improve communities. In 2011, more than $43 million in grants and contracts were distributed statewide. The Foundation also serves as a resource on community issues and trends in the nonprofit sector. Visit www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org for more information.

ABOUT PIERRE AND PAM OMIDYAR 

Active philanthropists who are guided by their belief that people are inherently capable and basically good, Pierre and Pam Omidyar have committed more than $1 billion to help individuals improve their lives and ignite change across a variety of sectors and geographies. The Omidyars received the 2011 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in recognition of the lasting impact of their work and generosity. In 2009, Pierre and Pam made an historic $50 million commitment to the Hawai’i Community Foundation to establish the Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund, which is being used to launch several community initiatives. To learn more about the Omidyars’ commitment to Hawai’i and ongoing philanthropic interests around the world, go to www.pillarsofpeacehawaii.org/hosts.

Red Bull Stratos Project Smashes My Tandem Altitude Skydive Record!

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to go with Skydive Hawaii up to 21,000 feet where I faced temperatures of NEGATIVE 56 Degrees below Zero and set a Hawaii Tandem record for Altitude jumping in a tandem jump.

Well this Red Bull Stratos Skydiver has really topped them all at 71,580 feet, well over three times the height that I jumped at!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/r-TCO2IdoTA]

On March 15, 2012, Austria’s Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a space capsule from an altitude of approximately 71,580 feet as the Red Bull Stratos project moved forward into the manned flight stage in New Mexico. The 42-year-old rode the space capsule attached to a giant helium balloon above the so-called “Armstrong Line.” The goal of the Red Bull Stratos project is to see Baumgartner attempt a record-breaking freefall from 120,000 feet this summer where he’ll potentially become the first man to go supersonic without the support of a vehicle.

From the Desk of Gerard D. Lee Loy – Re: Claims of Damon Tucker

Related Links:

Sorry… No Political Ads on My Site This Year

I appreciate the offer of having politicians asking to place ads on my site.  I myself would rather feel free to be able to blog about politicians the way I want w/out having to worry about them pulling an ad from my site.

With that being said… I will once again say that I will not be accepting any political ads on my site!

I will accept press releases that I can easily cut and paste to my site… however, accepting them… does not mean I will print them.

I try my best to keep this site from being politically influenced…. however I know there are those that would like to influence what I put on here… (it won’t happen)

More Incredible Footage From Last Weeks Record Breaking Tandem Skydiving Jump… Mike Zagorski’s Clip

Last weekend my friend Mike Zagorski and I had the opportunity of a lifetime as we were invited to set a tandem altitude skydiving jump with SkyDive Hawaii. While the video that was taken of me was cool… I really like the footage that was taken of Mike using a GoPro camera attached to a couple of the skydivers.

Mike Zagorski and I set a Skydiving Tandem Altitude Record in Hawaii

You can check it out here:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/Mu2VVYHftuI]

I asked Mike about his experience and he said:

While on the ground I met with my instructor; Tandem Master – Shaun Dunn, who asked me if I wanted to do some “flips”… I responded with “Hell yeah!”. Surely enough, as soon as we left the plane we were backflipping into the blue skies over O’ahu’s North Shore. The first few seconds felt a little weird… “Goodbye perfectly good plane!”… but then I got used to the feeling of falling and forgetting the fact that I was 21,000ft above terra firma with my life in the hands of the guy (and parachute) strapped to his back.

After almost 2 minutes of freefall, we hit some cloud cover and the chute was deployed…. The next few minutes were spent swooping around the sky. I guess this is what it feels like to be a bird!

The skin-rippling speed of the freefall was amazing, but it was still cool to float around and admire the view for the final 5 minutes of the ride!

Skydive Hawaii were very friendly and put great attention into the details of our jump and I can’t wait to return and do it all over again!… and again

Mahlalo once again to SkyDive Hawaii for this once in a life time opportunity.

Related articles

Press Conference Tomorrow in Regards to My Obstruction of Government Operations Arrest

*UPDATE 11/8 12:28* The PRESS CONFERENCE HAS BEEN POSTPONED
My attorney Gerard Lee Loy and I will be holding a press conference tomorrow, at 2:00 pm in front of the Hawaii County Courthouse regarding my “Obstruction of Government Operations” charge that I was assaulted, arrested and thrown in jail for.

My iPhone as it was returned to me from the evidence room

I will be unavailable for comments after that as I’m leaving for Oahu to attend the APEC Summit until Sunday.

Broken Nikon L110 Camera

Today’s Court Result

Today was supposed to be my initial court date for the crap I’ve been going through.

We requested that the the case be transferred to the Third Circuit Court for jury trial.  I have not plead anything at this point.  The judge honored the request and my next court date will be on September 21, at 8:00 AM in the Third Circuit Court.

There may be more in the newspaper and/or television news about today… but at this point I would just like to remind folks that all questions regarding this case need to be made to my attorney as I will not be answering questions regarding this until further notice.

I Have an Attorney – Future Inquiries May be Sent to Him

I have hired Big Island Attorney Gerard Lee Loy to represent me in my recent legal case against the County of Hawaii.

All future media inquiries should be sent to him.

Parx News – Reprinted With Permission

The following posts are reprinted via permission of Andy Parx.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

COULD YOU REPEAT THAT FOR THE WEST COAST?

COULD YOU REPEAT THAT FOR THE WEST COAST?: We’d sure would have liked to be a fly on the wall at Hawai`i Island Police Department (HIPD) headquarters when officer James Waiamau got his chewing out, most likely not for what appears to be the actual beating and arrestof Damon Tucker- yeah, we’re making a week of it and you’ll see why- but for being so stupid as to pick a guy who has a fair-sized megaphone… a guy you’d think Waiamau would or should have known (although many think he and they knew exactly whom they were harassing).Presumably, with the state-wide publicity and the official HIPD release saying it “recognizes the media and the public have every right to photograph police activity in a public place from a safe distance,” you’d pretty much think that the cost of defending, much less settling, Tucker’s probable lawsuit would have everyone on their best behavior, especially if a “photographing in public” incident comes up again.

Moreover you’d think that when they found out that they had a problem with the report number on Tucker’s “Obstructing a Government Operation” summons that he received upon leaving the cell block, the officer they sent to give him the corrected paperwork would have some semblance of an idea of what to do and not to do if someone was there with a video camera.

But there it is- a video, shot by Big Island Video News’ (BIVN) David Corrigan in which Officer K. Veincent orders Tucker to tell Corrigan to stop video taping.

Tucker was there for an interview with BIVN and apparently had agreed to meet up with Veincent there too… at the “scene of the crime.” About five minutes into the piece a red late model Dodge Charger with a blue roof light pulls up and Tucker leans into the passenger window.

He then turns around, looks into the camera and says “He doesn’t want you video taping- he doesn’t see the reason why.”

The first part is insane enough- police are presumed to have the “persuasive power” so an illegal request comes under harassment and misconduct. But the fact that Veincent presumes that the videographer has to have a reason to continue makes you wonder who the heck is in charge down at HIPD headquarters.

As to the rest of the interview- which was attended by Barbara Lively the legislative assistant to Hawai`i County Councilman Fred Blas- Tucker, visibly shaken during and after the meeting with Veincent, shows clearly where the beating and arrest took place as he goes through a “walking tour” of the chronology of the incident.

Then at the end of the piece, he can be seen fighting back tears and saying “as you can see I’m clearly across the street… The fight happened right over here (pointing) so I’m way far away from where the fighting was.”

Judging by the official statement, somebody at HIPD clearly recognizes, if not what the right thing to do when an officer comes across someone taping their activities from a “safe distance” is, then at least what it’s going to cost the county.

But Veincent quote possibly just put another “zero” at the right of the figure that Tucker will ultimately receive by continuing the harassment and intimidation.

We’ve been pretty critical of our own Kaua`i Police Department and some of the clearly knuckle-headed, bad policy and bad publicity actions over the years. But they’ve got a ways to go in the goon department to catch up with their brethren at the other end of the state.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

THE BEAT AND THE BEATEN

THE BEAT AND THE BEATEN: The “alleged” beating of Damon Tucker“allegedly” by a Hawai`i Island Police (HIPD) officer- the quotation marks because neither of those two “facts” seem to be in much dispute now- began to seep into the mainstream corporate media yesterday and today with the two articles taking two decidedly different views of the incident.>The headlines alone presaged the coverage with Hawai`i News Now (HNN)- the name for the combined TV news programs on KGMB, KHNL and KFVE- reporting “Big Island blogger claims police brutality” and the Big Island’s much reviled Hawai`i Tribune-Herald merely noting that “Man alleges police assault.”

While the HNN coverage stresses that Tucker’s blog “inform(s) Big Island residents and promotes Hawaii” and that he was taking photographs while covering an event, the HTH piece gets 634 words into the piece to merely note that Tucker “operates an Internet blog about the Big Island” and makes no connection between his presence at the scene and his work.

The HTH piece does identify the arresting officer- whom Tucker identified as the officer who allegedly beat him- as James Waiamau.

Both stories include a statement from Hawaii County Assistant Police Chief Henry Tavares refusing to make any “additional statement” other than to note that Tucker was arrested for obstructing government operations and, more importantly, that “(t)he Hawaii Police Department recognizes that the media and the public have every right to photograph police activity in a public place from a safe distance.”

Tucker, by the way, claims he was across the street from the police action at the time he was taking the pictures.

While it should be noted that anyone can take photos of police from a safe distance in a public place, the issue that seems to have captivated the blogs is the twofold question of whether Tucker, in covering an event is, in fact a “reporter” and does it matter if he is when it comes to his right to photograph the police from a “safe distance”?

And, are bloggers who report on things as reporters… and, assuming the answer is yes, does than make the blogger who reports a journalist?

While there are professional journalist organizations no serious journalists suggest that there should be any official credentialing restriction of who is and isn’t a journalist. Not only is it a question of what the requirements would be and who would set them but the first amendment pretty much guarantees the freedom from government interference in reporting.

The fact is that the act of reporting makes a reporter- something that more and more reporters’ “shield laws” recognize, including ours in Hawai`i. And while some may quibble over whether someone who simply sits in their underwear and pontificates is reporting anything, Tucker, by going to an event, taking photos and writing it up for public consumption is certainly a reporter, even though he himself had at times seemed torn as to whether to call himself one.

Professional journalist Tiffany Edwards Hunt at her Big Island Chronicle site says it isn’t as much whether Tucker was reporting as it was whether he was acting as a reporter should in a situation like that. She wrote that:

Damon’s greatest mistake in this story is not identifying himself as soon as the police officer told him to stop taking pictures.

At that point he should have said, “my name is Damon Tucker and I maintain a blog. Where can I stand to continue taking photographs?” (He didn’t identify himself until after he was hand-cuffed.)

Damon will likely monetarily gain from this, and hopefully us media professionals can asset some kind of protocol for journalists and residents who act like journalists. But it is definitely time for police and prosecutors to get more sophisticated about dealing with the public.

Slamming people to the ground when you don’t want them taking photographs?! Come on. The County of Hawaii will have to pay dearly for that sort of heavy handedness.

And Damon are you ready to refer to yourself as a media professional yet?

Hunt’s queries may get to the crux of the matter- that one can be a reporter without being a journalist, especially in an age of the “new media” where “citizen journalists” abound.

The fact is that while many professional journalists point to the “responsibilities” that go with the “rights” conferred on journalists it’s a matter of debate what those responsibilities are and whether in fact there are any at all.

Surely Julian Assange of Wikileaks would argue there are few if any responsibilities. That’s why many professionals argue he is not a journalist.

But in the case of Tucker and others who engage in the act of reporting the question is what kind of responsibilities do they have if they are denied the special privileges that journalists are afforded by government officials, especially police.

Hunt argues that Tucker should have identified himself. But would that have made a difference? She also noted that:

I too agree that we the public have a right to take photographs. But we also need to speak up and assert that right when an officer tries to fell us to stop taking photos. We are to ask where police want us to stand in order to not hinder their operations.

If police were sophisticated they would have their officers trained on dealing with the media or media posers who post footage on their blogs, Facebook or YouTube. Next time the police officer will detect the photographer / picture taker to the “staging area” and call in the PIO… That’s how it is done elsewhere.

Well, maybe, in a perfect world but the problem is that there is a history of disrespect for “bloggers” and even reporters and journalists who aren’t employed by the “right” media on the Big Island. Apparently, as on Kaua`i, the HIPD does not even issue “press passes” any more which, as we noted yesterday, are- or were- used to allow reporters behind police lines.

And if they did they probably wouldn’t issue one to Tucker.

In addition, if “news” happens to “break out” unexpectedly and a reporter engaged in covering another event is standing there with a camera- as apparently happened Friday- should they have to stop and chance missing “the shot” to ask where to go to take a picture of it, especially if they are a safe distance from the disturbance?

The fact is that we would not capitulate to the protocol that Hunt described due to the potential for abuse on the part of the police. Because it is the police who are requesting a privilege in asking that someone voluntarily suspend their right to take photographs of police (in a public place from a safe distance). With the history of abuse of that privilege, both here and across the mainland, it makes that request one that can’t be ethically granted by a journalist, reporter or anyone else.

It appears this story has legs. And, as Larry Geller at Disappeared News wrote Sunday, related stories are being repeated across the county with increasing frequency lately.

One more note- among the comments on Hunt’s stories is a discussion of the fact that there are video cameras all over the town of Pahoa- where the incident took place- due to the police’s “weed and seed” program there.

Unless and until the rights of not just reporters but all citizens are respected by authorities, credentialing journalists and burdening them with rules of engagement will have to wait for a mutual respect that, we predict, will be a long time coming.

Monday, August 8, 2011

(PNN) TUCKER SAY HE WAS FILMING A FIGHT FROM ACROSS THE STREET WHEN BEATEN, ARRESTED BY COPS

(PNN) — Aug 8 — Damon Tucker, the reporter/blogger who says he was severely beaten by Hawai`i Island police Friday night. says he was across the street taking picture of an altercation between two women when he was “blindsided and taken down” and then arrested by a Hawai`i Police Department (HPD) officer.In an email response to PNN inquiries Tucker said that “I was taking pictures of folks leaving a concert a fight broke out (sic)… people were breaking things up… cops moved in and I was across the street taking pictures of it all.

Tucker says that he had left the venue where he was covering a “Red Eye Blind” concert in Pahoa when “(o)ne cop came over to tell me to put the camera down… so I complied… he left… 15-20 seconds later I started filming again and I got blindsided and taken down.”

He said it was a younger officer who originally asked him to stop filming and a much bigger and veteran one who “roughed me up”- the latter being the same officer who arrested, booked and processed him at the police station,

Tucker, who is well known in Pahoa, says he was wearing a shirt with his name on it in the form of his twitter address and tried to identify himself to the officer whom he says accosted and arrested him.

“I tried to tell the officer who I was… he would have none of it” Tucker said in the email. “(W)hen we were at the station he asked if I had an official ‘Reporters Badge’ or something to that effect and I said no… I run local blogs and I’m a well known blogger throughout all of Hawaii.”

There is no state or national “certification” for who is or isn’t a reporter or journalist although some local police departments do issue “press passes,” usually solely in order to allow reporters inside police lines, but not to confer any first amendment “freedom of the press” rights, which are federally protected and not “conferred” by police.

Tucker says he started filming because a fight had broken out outside the club.

“Two girls were fighting,” he wrote, and “from what I have now heard… one girl got hit with a bottle. I was leaving the club and heard the commotion and turned around and started to film from my iPhone, at least one of the girls I saw at the station.”

Apparently Tucker was not in close proximity to the police action and was within his constitutional rights to film from a public sidewalk whether he was a “reporter” or not.

He described what happened after he was beaten.

“I was in cuffs outside the club for about 30 minutes while the cops continued to diffuse the more dangerous situation. After that situation was diffused they brought me down to the police station… where the younger officer had to look in a book to find something to charge me with. At about 45 minutes into the booking… I asked if I could use the bathroom… officer said sure… empty your pockets… and then through(sic) me into a jail cell with no cot or anything for nearly 45 minutes. I was then released on my own PR (sic) given the summons I posted on my blog and left with the assistance of an officer on duty who dropped me off close enough to my house so that I could have a cigarette on the way home and not startle everyone in the neighborhood or shame folks by me being brought home by a police officer at 2:00 in the morning.”

In addition to the gruesome picture that Tucker posted on his blog, Reporter Tiffany Edward Hunt also took pictures of Tucker and posted them at her “Big Island Chronicle.” site.

She also posted an “Open letter to Police Chief Harry Kubojiri” on Saturday asking for “a statement regarding Damon Tucker’s account of police brutality for taking photos in Pahoa last night,” which she says was emailed to the chief, a spokeswoman for the police department and the mayor’s office.

On Sunday Tucker posted pictures of what he said were the bloody, dirt-caked clothing he was wearing during the incident.

The email to PNN was also sent to a national clearinghouse web site called “Photography Isn’t A Crime,” which documents incidents of harassment by police and others of both reporters and citizens for legally taking picture in public places. The web site says its purpose is to “educate everyone about the rights and responsibilities of photographers.”

This is not Tucker’s first run-in with police while covering news and taking photos. On Christmas Eve, 2008 Tucker was investigating complaints of violations of the American with Disabilities Act at Pahoa Post Office when a HPD officer threatened him and forced him to delete pictures Tucker had taken of the parking lot and the officer.

Tucker has said he will be seeking legal counsel today and filing a lawsuit.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

(PNN) COPS BEAT, ARREST REPORTER FOR TAKING PHOTOS OUTSIDE CONCERT IN PAHOA

(PNN) COPS BEAT, ARREST REPORTER FOR TAKING PHOTOS OUTSIDE CONCERT IN PAHOA(PNN) — Aug 7 — Big Island reporter and blogger Damon Tucker was severely beaten by police and arrested for “hindering a government operation” Friday night while taking pictures from a public sidewalk outside a concert he was covering in Pahoa.

According to a post on his popular Damon Tucker’s Blog “the police have now confiscated my camera and cell phone as well as roughing me up and locking me up in a police detention holding cell for taking video and pictures of them in action from the sidewalk in front of Pahoa Village Cafe.”

Seven pictures posted yesterday, taken by Tucker’s wife upon his return from the emergency room, show apparent multiple deep abrasions scraps and bruises on all of his extremities and torso.Tucker says his right shoulder is damaged, he is limping on his left leg and is in severe pain.

He says that he took the pictures on his cell phone which was confiscated by police as “evidence,” as was his camera which he was not using.

Tucker wrote that he will “be filing a lawsuit against the Hawaii County Police department soon for a few things.”

In his Friday night post Tucker wrote that:

People are allowed to take pictures and videos of police officers w/out getting roughed up. I’m battered, bruised and bloody from an officer slamming on the sidewalk… Thankfully I have eyewitnesses that will come forward to say what happened.

My wife took pictures shortly after I was released from jail tonight…

I just want my cell phone back and camera back…. I was rolling video when the officer took me down and they took my cell phone and camera from me for “Evidence”.

This is not Tucker’s first run-in with police while covering news and taking photos. On Christmas Eve, 2008 Tucker was investigating complaints of violations of the American with Disabilities Act at Pahoa Post Office when a HPD officer threatened him and forced him to delete pictures Tucker had taken of the parking lot and the officer.

Tucker declined further comment for now saying he is weighing his options and will post again about the incident on his blog. He is due to appear in court on September 8.

Some Interesting Links – Mahalo for Your Support

My body is getting better each and every day. Today I had two more follow up x-rays to make sure nothing was broken in my hand or elbow.

Still too bruised up to figure out what is really going on with my back for now and I’m hoping it’s just whiplash… but will be doing more follow up after radiology sends my new X-Rays to my follow up doctor.

In the meantime… here are some interesting things being stated around the net… Mahalo for your support:

Picture of Me in the Huffington Post

I just found out a picture of me was in a  Huffington Post article on Wednesday:

In the Navy: Social Media for Better Customer Service

If you go to the slide show in the middle of the article I’m in picture 9 of the slide show.

I’m sure this will be the one and only time I’ll ever be in the Huffington Post so this is kind of cool for me!

Mahalo to those that pointed this out to me!

This picture was one taken from my recent field trip aboard the USNS Mercy.

I Spy… ME in the Honolulu Advertiser

If you have been following my blog, you will know that a week ago I had the chance to tour the USS Destroyer Chung-Hoon out at sea.

Today, Honolulu Advertiser Copy Editor and Odds and Ends writer Shauna Goya featured her pictures and write up on the trip.

I also notice that there are a couple pictures of me included!

You can check it out here: Jack is the ODD Winner

Damon Tucker Google SearchStories

In response to Traci Toguchi’s “SearchStories” post… I thought I’d put one of my own together.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGRNtdT-2y4&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

Branding Myself and the New Header?

So this past weekend at the Big Island Internet Society meet up that was held at Big Island Pizza, the topic that Larry Czerwonka talked about was how to brand yourself.

Members of the Big Island Internet society discuss among other things... the internet

The biggest thing that he mentioned… was using your own name to brand yourself.

Unlike companies which have to come up with a name, a logo and a catch phrase for their products, you were born with all that built in. From the moment you were born you have had your own unique brand and as we transition from the Industrial Age into the Information Age be very thankful for that uniqueness… http://bialoha.ning.com/profiles/blogs/branding-you

So with that, I thought about things and I decided to change my header from the Pahoa sign to something that I thought represented my blog in general.

Besides that Mike Hale started up another site called Pahoa Online that used a very similar picture to the one I took… so I didn’t want any confusion going on as his site becomes more popular.

So what do you think of my new blog header picture?

eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar Starting Online Paper in Hawaii

Pierre Omidyar http://www.omidyar.com or http://ebay.com

Well the buzz has been out for a few days now that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is going to be starting up an online newspaper geared towards the Hawaii audience.

Of course I applied for the position of “Editor” for this new online start up, however, I also encourage others to apply for the position that he initially tweeted about:

Very excited to finally be able to tell someone about our new local news venture. Help us build it! http://bit.ly/23O8p4

I was pretty stoked that he was quite receptive to my tweet telling him about the FBI Blogs that I started and currently administer.  I recently tweeted him the following:

Would be great to somehow tie in blogs to your new project. Let me know if http://fbiblogs.com is of interest.

And I was shocked and stoked that he actually responded with this:

@damontucker I agree. Lots of great bloggers here. Your site looks great. about 2 hours ago from Tweetie in reply to damontucker

What I think would be really cool, is if he decided to bring on neighbor island representatives and accepted bloggers as a form of media… and hey… we’d love to get a nickle now and then if things work out!

Any rate @Pierre I hope you do look at some of us neighbor island folks in this new venture that you are taking upon yourself.

Wish you the best of luck Pierre, even if I’m not one of the lucky ones chosen and I wish the best to those that are.  Hawaii has long lacked a great online paper and I can only do so much with the FBI Blogs!