Some people on Twitter are wondering: Wha’ happen’? Well, since I’ve been writing about my ridiculous battle with the law since its inception, and it’s rather long, here’s the cheat sheet:
July 24, 2011: The first day same-sex marriage was legal in New York State, an associate and I went to report on the National Organization for Marriage’s little hate-fest in downtown Buffalo. It was one of several rallies NOM had organized across the state. Naturally, I brought a dildo to use as a fake microphone. In total, I interviewed one guy using the prop. He chuckled, turned a bit red in the face, and walked away. That was it, dildo-wise.
About 20 minutes later, I was arrested for filming a cop. My camera was confiscated and erased. I managed to recover some of the video, including the same cop’s reaction to being videotaped by my associate, but sadly not when she freaked out on me.
I was charged with a few counts of disorderly conduct, disruption of a religious service, and: §240.26-1 Harassment in the Second Degree because I “did also follow officers and did attempt to video tape officers during the assembly.”
74 days later, the harassment charge was dropped and replaced with: §240.20-3 Disorderly Conduct – Abusive or Obscene Language or Gesture in Public Place because, you know, videotaping a cop isn’t illegal, and this photo exists:
The DA’s office blew up that photo to about 24″ x 36″ and the jury stared at it for the duration of my farcical trial. I asked if I could keep it. They said no and laughed at me. Two members of the church working with NOM that day testified that they saw me doing crazy things with the dildo-phone—while the arresting officer testified that I was on the other side of the street, that she never saw the dildo-phone, and that she purportedly cuffed me for using foul language. I was not. The jury’s verdict:
I was sentenced to 75 hours of community service. I scraped paint in an old theater for about 5 hours, got some shit in my eyes, hurt my back, so I said, “Fuck this!” and walked. In lieu of community service, I was then sentenced to 15 days in jail. I’ve already done 4.
My lawyer was able to stay the sentence pending the outcome of our appeal. That decision came down today: Denied. So I have until 5 pm tomorrow to turn myself in. Not totally sure if I’m going to, but I’m going to prepare for it anyway, so I need to finish up some other work and go grocery shopping for my mother.