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[liberationtech] @BaltoSpectator

Gregory Foster gfoster at
Sun Dec 2 12:44:54 PST 2012

Baltimore City Paper (Dec 2) - "Citizen Journalist Broadcasts Own Police 

Baltimore Sun (Dec 2) - "Local blogger surrenders to police after live 
broadcasting standoff" by @justin_fenton:,0,3406641.story

The legal facts of this event seem likely to hash out clearly. However, 
I encourage engagement as the event seems to embody a few themes of 
relevance for this list:

- Some element within the Baltimore Police Department monitored 
@BaltoSpectator's Twitter account for some period of time prior to 
serving the warrant.  The acts of speech were considered serious enough 
to justify an escalation of force.  The exact details of that escalation 
are still emerging, but it's clear BPD "surrounded his home" and it also 
appears that SWAT was deployed.

- @BaltoSpectator used social media to effect virtual witnesses to his 
arrest.  Apparently a regular at Baltimore-area crime scenes through 
volunteer work for Investigative Voice and as an independent gadfly, he 
was concerned for his safety and it seems not a little bit paranoid.  In 
the event, he was successful - gaining over 2,500 Twitter followers on 
Saturday with 20K listeners tuning in to the 5-hour live broadcast.

- During the broadcast, @BaltoSpectator requested a 911 operator connect 
him to the BPD forces serving the warrant, eventually connecting with a 
negotiator (Lt. Jason Yerg).  @BaltoSpectator broadcast that 
conversation with Lt. Yerg, providing transparency into and an 
accessible record of the negotiations.  Given the legal precedents 
currently being established as regards filming law enforcement officers 
in the line of duty, livestreaming adds another layer of complexity.  In 
this case, it appears to have ensured minimal use of force by the BPD.


On 12/1/12 11:49 PM, Douglas Lucas wrote:
> In the most recent post on his site, dated Dec 1 -
> - @BaltoSpectator claims he was detained for 40 days without charge,
> bail, or warrant, and that a lawyer and state Senator were told he
> wasn't there.
> Seeing my tweet about the above, @justin_fenton, crime reporter for the
> Baltimore Sun, said: "It was an involuntary commitment, as I recall.
> That's a whole convoluted tale that I dont have facts on"
> On 12/01/2012 11:20 PM, Gregory Foster wrote:
>> As @MTarro stated:
>>> Just bizarre to read the @BaltoSpectator swat situation play out on
>>> Twitter. Almost like seeing IDF and Hamas tweet attacks.
>> Lots to sort out here, but certainly a few things to talk about. Here's
>> some loosely vetted resources to help track this event.
>> Website:
>> Spreaker audio broadcast from the event:
>> Tweets from earlier, implicated in Baltimore PD's decision to
>> recalibrate force when serving a Failure To Appear warrant?
>> A Maryland State Delegate mentioned by @BaltoSpectator as potential counsel?
>> A fellow with a close view:
>> An alleged screencap of an arrest record:
>> Video of @BaltoSpectator being taken into custody:
>> Ended his audio broadcast with a recording of a Ron Paul speech.  As
>> @MissBeaE stated:
>>> Say what you will, @BaltoSpectator #BaltimoreSpectator has reminded
>>> people of the role and importance of independent radio.
>> gf
Gregory Foster || gfoster at
@gregoryfoster <>

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