Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I was recently caught in a police trap as a news reporter in Terre Haute.
I discovered just now-- exactly one week later-- that I am actually facing several charges from the Aug. 24 incident, including: Reckless driving, criminal recklessness and criminal trespass.
Here is my story:
During the Diesel Extravaganza event in Terre Haute, I took some pictures along Third Street Friday evening of pickup trucks, as I do each year. As I turned east on Margaret Avenue at about 9 p.m, I instinctively thought I'd try to get police pictures in the parking lot of a hotel there, as I take police - involved pictures often, if not daily.
As I drove in to the STREET that also leads to a restaurant behind Drury Inn, I was met by off duty police providing security at the hotel. I was asked if I was checking in. I simply replied "No, I am a reporter."
Nothing at all was discussed further at this point. The men standing there were immediately rude, so I thought to myself forget it -- and not saying one word more to them -- I slowly proceeded to look for a place to turn around to leave.
As I proceeded, I was called an "asshole' by Det. Brad Rumsey, of the Terre Haute Police Department. They did not tell me to stop.
Although I thought I remembered there was an alley behind the restaurant to exit from, I could not find any way out except back around as I drove speeds normal for a parking area, when I was stopped by the same policemen just a minute later -- with flashing lights.
At no point before this was I told to stop. I was driving less than 5 mph as l looked for a place to turn around, before being approached by the security officers again.
They asked for my drivers license, registration and Indiana Central News credentials. I complied. One of the men yelled out, "Do you want me to arrest you?" I responded, "what for? " Maybe they didn't understand I was trying to get the hell out of there since they were so uninviting. The shortest officer replied, "reckless driving" -- because he alleged I ALMOST ran over Rumsey's foot.
It was at that point, I began to understand they had no idea who I am or anything about my local crime-centered news website. The THPD patrol officers I have frequently photographed might have recognized me, and it might have been different outcome altogether.
I emailed the chief and assistant chief immediately to complain. I also called headquarters and spoke with the desk officer. I am hoping they can offer the department training for these types of situations in the future.
I follow several police agencies and have been in similar situations as a reporter , knowing well my First Amendment rights. I'm certain none of this horrible treatment I suffered, by being called insulting derogatory names, would have happened with professional police from other agencies I cover daily on my news website-- Indiana Central News--- I have been running for nearly four years. I am a crime reporter. The sole operator, photographer, reporter and director of this business of which I collect revenue from ad servers on the site. Additionally, I accept monetary donations from readers by Paypal links on my site as well as Gofundme.
Here is their story:
Detective B. Rumsey #173
08/25/2018 1644 Hrs
I was working off-duty at the Drury Inn due to the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza. Drury Inn was paying myself,
Officer Mowbray #101, Officer Stevens #169,and Curtis Stoffel to maintain order on the parking lot and to keep non-
hotel guests from entering their parking lot either on foot or in vehicles. While in performance of these duties all
Officers working were wearing their Police Department gun belts, and an off-duty police t-shirt. I also was wearing
a neck chain with my Police Department Badge on it. This, when worn, hangs in a prominent position on the
approximate center of my chest.
At approximately 8:50 pm I was at the front entrance to the parking lot when I was approached by a blue Toyota Rav4. The vehicle was being driven by a white female approximately 45 years old with dark brown or brunette hair. I waved to the vehicle to stop and it did as requested. I asked the driver if she was a registered guest at the hotel and she responded by saying "Can't I just drive onto the parking lot without being harassed?" I responded by saying that no one is allowed entry to the lot if they are not registered guests as per the hotel management directions given to the security staff at the beginning of the night. The female then responded by saying that she was the press and she was going to go onto the lot and see if she could take any pictures of beer cans. I answered her by saying that she was not coming onto the lot because it was private property and she said "Iam going on the lot and taking pictures because I am the press." At that moment I was standing within a few inches of the vehicle speaking with her and she drove off onto the lot even after being denied entry. In this process she nearly ran over my right foot (within 1-1 1/2 inches) with the left rear tire of her vehicle. Officer Mowbray #101 was slightly to my left (towards the front) of the front door at that time and she actually brushed up against his person with her vehicle as she drove off. I became angry due to her reckless driving behavior and called out to her as she drove away by saying "Hey asshole you almost ran me over!" This had no effect whatsoever on the driver who simply drove off to the south end of the parking lot in her vehicle.
**NOTE** This subject didn't show me anycredentials proving she was a member of the press or the news media at the time of that incident. I never had the time to ask for it before she drove away. Officer Stevens was approximately 20 feet away and was able to get into his vehicle an unmarked THPD Grand Marquise or Crown Victoria. He caught up to the woman in her vehicle on the north side of the Drury Inn building. I was able to get to his location on foot in short order at which time we were able to request both her press credentials and her state issued identification. Her press credentials were almost immediately returned to her and her identifying information was written down by Det. Stevens so this report could be accomplished after the incident was resolved.
She was identified as Lucy Perry of the Indiana Central News. She was verbally abusive to both myself and Det. Stevens and she said she had not almost driven over my foot. She claimed that we were infringing upon her freedom of the press rights granted to her via the U.S. Constitution. She would not accept that the Drury Inn was private property and that she had to listen to our order to her to not enter the property when it was given. She video recorded some of the encounter between myself, Det. Stevens and her via her cellular telephone through the window of her vehicle. Det. Stevens mostly spoke with her at the time of the stop due to my being angry with her for almost injuring me when she drove away.
I spoke with her very briefly but in the time I spoke with her I ensured she knew my name and that I could arrest her for the incident, and I admitted after she asked, that I had been the person to call her an "asshole." She was exceptionally offended that I had called her this and she wanted to complain to the Chief of Police. I told her that I would give her his number myself. She was provided with the Main number for the Police Department and asked to file her complaint in that manner. This incident was witnessed by Chief of Police Curtis Stoffel of the Fairview Police Department as well as the Assistant General Manger of the Drury Inn, Jacki Switzer. Both observed the driving behavior mentioned above and witnessed some, if not all of the initial verbal exchange between myself and Ms. Perry
Back to my story:
Saturday night, I continued my Diesel story around Third and Margaret Streets. I took pictures of activity at another hotel, filming police and trucks with no problem whatsoever. In fact, I was able to enter lots and exit smoothly where private security was provided as well. Civilians were noted in various areas along with me in their vehicles.
Their story is fictitious in so many ways. Direct quotes are not at all what I said. So many things stated that were not in chronological order at all. I'm shocked at all these lies told by police to protect themselves at any cost. Most of the things he stated happened initially, such as explaining I can't go through, happened at the end on my way out when they asked for my information. I didn't realize a large trailer was blocking that way -- and I was indeed trapped.
A simple reminder: No one told me to stop until I was in fact attempting to leave the area on Friday.
Now I will send this information to executive leaders of the Drury Inn so as not to hire private security untrained, as these men are, with responding to reporters.
I know the truth, even if I am found guilty of the allegations against me and my publication. By the way, I took about three photos at the scene, no video as Rumsey stated. Surely, Drury Inn or the restaurant next to it has video surveillance.
It should be noted, that finally, one of them said, "Have a good night." They left me alone and did not make me leave; I voluntarily left the property. I had no idea until today that Rumsey filed these charges.
This story will be updated.
Journalist, Terre Haute
Lucy Perry, 47, enjoys writing about issues in her hometown. She periodically expresses personal opinions in her blog, Terre Haute Times.
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News Writer: Lucy Pery PHONE: 317-527-4141