By Dawn LaMadeleine
(This letter was originally sent to The Hour)
NORWALK, Conn. – I have read this story several times, and am deeply disturbed by it, on many levels!
In a snapshot, a reporter inadvertently left her tape recorder on during recess at a Common Council meeting and accidentally recorded a private conversation.
Did I read this right? Am I missing something!
Hmmm… How can anyone have an “expectation of privacy” in a public place, amongst a crowd of people? In my opinion, they can’t!
If the mayor and his cronies wanted to have this alleged “impromptu negotiation session,” they could’ve just taken a few steps into a private room, closed the door, and have had all the “expectation of privacy” in the world!
Now had that been done, (and this reporters recording device was left on), a criminal complaint of “unlawful eavesdropping” would be 100 percent justified!
Now, in the bigger picture, two very equally disturbing thoughts come to my mind:
Firstly, it appears as though this mayor runs City Hall using gestapo tactics! Through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear (of an arrest).
Secondly, by threatening the reporter with criminal charges for exercising her First Amendment Constitutional Rights (publishing an openly-viewed ~ clearly-heard conversion, in a public place), did the mayor violate her civil rights?
I’d be curious what the ACLU thinks on this matter!