NEVADA–In early March a Nevada activist was convicted of obstructing a police officer after he locked a vehicle’s doors to prevent authorities from seizing a Los Angeles television news crew’s videotapes in the Nevada desert.
Activist Glenn Campbell was convicted of the misdemeanor in Justice Court in Alamo and sentenced to serve five days of community service and pay a $315 fine. Campbell said he plans to appeal the conviction to the district court in Ely.
In mid-July deputies from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office seized five KNBC-TV videotapes from a news crew on a mountain range overlooking the secret base, which it is illegal to photograph. Private security guards patrolling the base alerted the sheriff’s office after observing the news crew pointing their camera toward the base. The television station claimed that the crew did not photograph the base. Authorities later returned one of the tapes.
As the deputies initially approached the TV crew’s vehicle, Campbell, who was being interviewed by the crew, locked the vehicle’s door on the side the deputies were approaching. Campbell pushed the vehicle’s door locks down after the deputies announced that they would seize the crew’s videotapes without a warrant. Campbell then was arrested and charged.
The secret base is known as the Groom Lake base to most locals and activists and called “Dreamland” by Air Force pilots, according to Campbell. Military officials refuse to acknowledge the existence of the base. (Nevada v. Campbell)
The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.