News videotape seized; activist arrested
NEVADA — Lincoln County authorities arrested a self-styled government oversight activist in mid-July when he interfered with the seizure of a news crew’s videotape on a ridge overlooking a restricted military base in Rachel.
The incident occurred at Freedom Ridge, a public location 12 miles from the Groom Lake air base. There, a news crew from KNBC-TV of Los Angeles interviewed activist Glenn Campbell, according to a press release from Campbell.
In the interview, done by reporter Chuck Henry and camera operator Julie Yellen, Campbell discussed problems associated with the base, which the government will not admit exists. For example, the government can violate environmental laws at the base with impunity, Campbell said.
During the interview, security guards patrolling the area called the local sheriff. The guards claimed the crew had taped the base, which is prohibited, Campbell said.
A Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy, Sergeant Doug Lamoreaux, arrived about 45 minutes later and asked the crew to give him their tapes for inspection by the Air Force, Campbell said.
Reporter Henry refused but said he would let Lamoreaux view the tapes through the camera’s viewfinder to show him the tapes contained no shots of the base. Lamoreaux said only the Air Force had the authority to see the tapes, the press release said.
When a rainstorm came suddenly, Campbell, the crew and Lamoreaux drove down from the ridge to Groom Lake Road, where they met a second deputy, Kelly Bryant, the press release said.
Lamoreaux again asked Henry for the tapes, and Henry again refused, saying he would let Lamoreaux view the tapes, the press release said.
Lamoreaux said he would seize the tapes without a warrant, because he had “probable cause” for the seizure. He claimed the crew taped him as he drove up Freedom Ridge when he was in the general direction of the base. He also said a Supreme Court ruling, which he could not name, permitted him to seize “contraband” from vehicles without a warrant, the press release said.
As the deputies approached the crew’s car, Campbell reached in and locked the doors on the side Lamoreaux was approaching, the press release said.
Lamoreaux arrested Campbell for “obstructing a public officer” and took the five recorded videotapes from the car, the press release said. In mid-July, the Office of Special Investigations had the tapes, Campbell said.
Campbell said he locked the car not because he wanted to prevent Lamoreaux from taking the tapes, but because he wanted to delay him and discuss the matter of seizing the tapes without a warrant.
Campbell added that without a warrant referring to the tapes, the tapes could “vanish” if they are given to a government agency that “officially doesn’t exist.”
“If these people who don’t exist don’t give the tapes back,” he said, “they’re gone.”
In the press release, Campbell mentioned a similar incident two months earlier involving an ABC news crew, as well as three earlier incidents involving tape seizure in which he was involved. In all three cases, the tapes were not returned.
“There’s a long history of vanishing” in the area, Campbell said.
Campbell posted bail; arraignment is scheduled for August 3, the press release said.