Film­mak­ers ha­rassed by coun­ter­demon­stra­tors

‘We’re just try­ing to doc­u­ment what’s go­ing on,’ one says

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - Nation&world - BY PA­TRICK WIL­SON Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch

Three men with cam­eras who doc­u­mented an anti-Con­fed­er­ate march through Rich­mond on Satur­day all de­scribed be­ing ha­rassed by marchers for film­ing.

Daniel Le­don of Hen­rico County, Lo­gan Hin­son of Roanoke and Vin­cent Cannizzaro of Rich­mond de­scribed them­selves as free­lance videog­ra­phers and in­de­pen­dent jour­nal­ists who didn’t know one an­other be­fore the march.

The af­ter­noon march hap­pened af­ter many who gath­ered in the morn­ing for a rally and coun­ter­protest near the Robert E. Lee mon­u­ment had left.

“One per­son spit at me,” said Cannizzaro, a store man­ager who does wed­ding videog­ra­phy. “They were try­ing to run me over with bicycles. They were just yelling at me, call­ing me a fas­cist, they were say­ing that I’m on the wrong side of his­tory . ... I’m an in­de­pen­dent jour­nal­ist, aspir­ing jour­nal­ist. I work for no one, I’m just try­ing to doc­u­ment what’s go­ing on.”

The march went along Broad and Main streets, and ended near the Gen. J.E.B. Stuart mon­u­ment.

Hin­son said the an­tiCon­fed­er­ate pro­test­ers ac­cused him of be­ing with the me­dia while he filmed, “say­ing that the me­dia is fas­cist.”

“When we’re out here with cam­eras, we’re not try­ing to harm any­body’s rep­u­ta­tion or try­ing to ruin any­body’s life, we’re just try­ing to doc­u­ment what’s go­ing on,” he said.

Le­don said he was ha­rassed by nu­mer­ous marchers.

“They started walk­ing up with their bikes, putting tires up in our faces, mak­ing threats at cer­tain points, just us­ing very vul­gar lan­guage,” he said. “At the mo­ment, I was a lit­tle wor­ried. Thank­fully, they never did any­thing, but I mean, it was a bit of a scary sit­u­a­tion.”

Some mem­bers of the march car­ried ban­ners that read “Sanc­tu­ary for all!” and “These f------ kill fas­cists.” An an­tifa flag was vis­i­ble in the crowd. An­tifa is short for anti-fas­cists, a de­scrip­tion for far-left­lean­ing mil­i­tant groups that re­sist neo-Nazis and white su­prem­a­cists at demon­stra­tions.

The ha­rass­ment came af­ter a pho­to­jour­nal­ist from WTVR CBS6 was as­saulted in Rich­mond while film­ing a sim­i­lar march with his phone the night of Aug. 13, a day af­ter vi­o­lence at a white su­prem­a­cist rally in Char­lottesville. Some­one hit him on the head with a blunt ob­ject, and he needed four sta­ples to close the wound.

A jour­nal­ist from po­lit­i­cal news out­let The Hill was punched in the face while film­ing in Char­lottesville on Aug. 12.

Mickey Oster­re­icher, gen­eral coun­sel for the Na­tional Press Pho­tog­ra­phers As­so­ci­a­tion, said peo­ple need to re­mem­ber that there’s no rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion of pri­vacy in a pub­lic place, and pho­tog­ra­phy in pub­lic is pro­tected ex­pres­sion.

“If you don’t want to be pho­tographed or recorded, you should just stay home,” he said. “If you’re in the street ex­press­ing your­self and want­ing to be able to march and protest and say and do things as long as they’re le­gal, you’re al­lowed to do that. And the same thing is true of the peo­ple who are pho­tograph­ing and record­ing them. It’s a pub­lic event. It’s a mat­ter of pub­lic con­cern.”




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