Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cop: "Let me explain: BP doesn't want any filming. So all I can really do is strongly suggest that you not film anything right now."

Posted By on Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Mac McClelland, whose reporting from the Gulf for Mother Jones has been indispensable, brings us this latest bag of bull from BP, which insists that it's not trying to restrict press access to public spaces. According to McClelland, this was filmed on non-BP property in Houma last week by Drew Wheelan of the American Birding Association, who was stopped from filming by a Louisiana state police officer:

Wheelan: "Am I violating any laws or anything like that?"

Officer: "Um...not particularly. BP doesn't want people filming."

Wheelan: "Well, I'm not on their property so BP doesn't have anything to say about what I do right now."

Officer: "Let me explain: BP doesn't want any filming. So all I can really do is strongly suggest that you not film anything right now. If that makes any sense."

It makes no sense, unless, of course, BP has some authority over police and sheriff's departments in Louisiana, a scenario that BP denies but which seems to crop up again and again. WDSU-TV's Scott Walker, whose own encounter with an official who attempted to deny him access to a public beach went viral, received an apology from a BP flack nine days later.

Wheelan's encounter didn't stop there. Read McClelland's entire report, and the next time someone asks you "Well, what do you want President Obama to do?", tell them he could start by looking into why a foreign corporation seems to be allowed to act with extralegal authority on U.S. soil. It's the sort of thing you'd think the Tea Party might care about, too.

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