It’s Time to Inspect D.C.’s Hack Inspectors
by Peter Tucker
Yesterday, Jim Epstein of Reason TV and I were arrested at a public meeting of the D.C. Taxicab Commission (DCTC). The meeting was held at the U.S. Park Police headquarters. Somehow, Park Police officers got roped into becoming the DCTC’s armed security and both Epstein and I have been charged by the Park Police with “Unlawful Entry/Remaining” and “Disorderly Conduct.” Our “crime”? Taking pictures or video.
Less than an hour into the public meeting, a hack (taxi) inspector – with “K. Bears #17″ written on his shirt – told me I couldn’t take pictures. He stood in my way to ensure that I didn’t photograph the DCTC commissioners on the dais. I settled on taking a photo of him instead. Not long after, things went haywire.
“I am troubled by actions taken by the [DCTC],” wrote Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells in a strongly worded letter to Attorney General Irvin Nathan. “While the details are unclear, following a request of DCTC members or staff, two armed Park Police officers entered the auditorium, put a reporter in handcuffs, and removed him from the room. This was reportedly for taking photographs or making a video recording of the proceedings at an open and public meeting.”