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Maui Police … Trying to Act Like “Big Brothers”

Last month, I blogged about Tommy Russo’s run in with Dog the Bounty Hunter and the Maui Police in my post Maui Police Rough Up MauiTimes Publisher Over Dog the Bounty Hunter Incident.

Well it turns out the Maui Police are really overstepping their boundaries and they have subpoenaed the IP addresses of folks that made comments on the MauiTimes website over a 24 hour period of time.

Larry Geller over at Disappeared News writes:

If the report of the original incident is accurate, Maui police are badly in need of an education. Generally, police may not prevent a citizen, whether a reporter, blogger, or ordinary shmo, from photographing them from a public vantage point as they go about their business (this is one of he issues in the MauiTime article which attracted the comment in question). They also may not gather IP addresses, which can be used to identify persons who access a website, on a whim. In our society, unfortunately, police are seldom held accountable when they themselves break the law.

There seem to be a few things Maui police need to learn about the first amendment at least. As a blogger I was glad to learn that MauiTime publisher Tommy Russo will fight the subpoena.

I have to say that if the police ever asked me to turn over the IP addresses of anyone whoever commented on my site I would tell em to go to hell!

Bloggers are protected in the State of Hawaii via the Journalism Shield laws and we do not have to cite our sources of information and/or turnover to police IP Addresses of folks that comment on our site.

The Hawaii Legislature has passed a two-year extension of a law protecting journalists from having to reveal sources or unpublished information in court….

…Hawaii’s journalist shield law is stronger than those in most other states because it also protects online bloggers.  Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have permanent shield laws.

Maui Police Rough Up MauiTime Publisher Over Dog The Bounty Hunter Incident

Tommy Russo, the publisher of the MauiTime, has stated that he was assaulted by the Maui Police Department while he was trying to film Dog the Bounty Hunter in action on a public street.

Dog the Bounty Hunter

The MauiTimes Challenges the Dog to Release Footage of the incident

On the evening of April 12, I was assaulted by a member of reality star Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman‘s security team. Soon after, I was assaulted again, and had my First Amendment rights violated, by a member of the Maui Police Department

You can see video of the incident here:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBcO2CXldyA]

Russo has also now challenged “Dog the Bounty Hunter” to release his footage of the incident:

I challenge Dog and his crew to release their video footage of the events.

Bottom line: because I attempted the completely legal act of recording on public property I was shoved, hit, had my property taken and was prevented from accessing emergency services. Once “help” arrived, I was further assaulted and had my Constitutional rights violated.

You can view the full article here: MauiTime Publisher Tommy Russo Assaulted by MPD.

I still don’t understand why police don’t think we can photograph them in public?