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Held at Gunpoint By Sherrifs: Another Day at the Office
The day started out badly enough. I woke up in my hotel 1 hour after my flight had already departed. I quickly got my butt moving, checked out and took a subway into downtown Pittsburgh while trying to arrange a new flight. Since I had a ton of time to kill before my next flight, I hit the area of Pittsburgh where some of the homeless subjects I have been interviewing for an upcoming documentary were. 1 man was arrested last week, and I wanted to see if he was out yet to finish his segment. I noticed one of the bags of nonessential gear I left at his camp was open and had been gone thru resulting in the loss of 3 2way radios, a flashlight, and a computer mouse. The subject according to his camp mate was still in jail.
As I was leaving the area I walked smack dab into 10 Allegheny County Sherrifs with guns and tasers drawn on me. "Good Morning, Yes I am Don Carpenter, and I understand you have some papers for me." I replied with a smile. "sorry fellas, these papers have been sent to the wrong address, sorry it took so long." I had been held at gunpoint and detained by law enforcement before, and this certainly won't be the last time due to being an activist and journalist, so i had no fear.
I accepted the civil summons and paperwork from a deputy, but didn;t read them yet. "Do you need me to explain these to you?" asked the deputy. "Nah, I've been following the progress of these papers online for a couple weeks now sir, and I'll read them later. again sorry, but I had no legal obligation to tell the plaintiff in Ohio where I am at." I replied. I asked a deputy who was now smiling (relieved that I wasn't a terrorist leader perhaps?) why it took 10 deputies with guns and tasers drawn to serve simple court papers on a civil matter. "We know who you are from Occupy Pittsburgh, and if you read the papers you will understand why we came with our weapons drawn, Mr. Carpenter. Said the deputy now holding a bottle of water in his hands.
I asked if I was being detained or free to go, and walked past the sherrifs bidding them a good day. I then read the papers on a civil matter filed from someone I used to work with and who i cared about,(but washed my hands of long ago) and immediately saw why the sherrifs responded 10 deep. In the civil complaint, she had named me as the leader of anonymous.
Awhile back this person and another individual had pissed off members of anonymous, and some members of the collective did their usual thing: doxes, prank calls etc. I had nothing to do with it, nor did i ask them to do with it. Nor is it my responsibility to get involved in disputes that I have nothing to do with. But now I am being blamed for it and named the leader of Anonymous. Sorry folks, i am neither a member of anonymous, nor their leader.
I'm an activist and a journalist. However, covering anonymous for the last 6 months and dealing with them thru Occupy Pittsburgh in the early days, i can see where a mistake can be made.
So yeah, civil stuff. being accused of being a terrorist leader, and also implicated in an alleged crime as it pertains to some documents I obtained independently and reported on in the interest of the public's right to know during the Steubenville case. (Both of these matters have nothing to do with this now civil case btw)
So there we have it. Yet another day at this office, this time I wasn't even doing anything or filming. A hearing is scheduled for July 1st at 9 am on this civil matter against me. I wasn;t subpoenaed, so I don;t have to go. It all depends on if my work overseas is completed or not by then if I go to this civil hearing. I really don't care about the matter. This is being brought on by people I washed my hands of months ago. If this is what they need to move on with their lives:SO BE IT. I have nothing to do with what's being alleged.
The record needs to show I am not being charged with a crime. I was served with civil papers. I was NOT arrested or detained. I was NOT searched. nothing I had on me was searched. The sherrifs came hard because it was alleged I was a leader of what the government refers to as a terrorist group.
The entire thing lasted no more than 1o minutes.
My hearing was earlier this morning. My ex presented evidence to which the judge said did not meet the rquirements for the motion she had filed, and even noted some of the things she presented were me trying to help her when anonymous was attacking her. the motion and case was thrown out of court although the judge did say that all acted poorly. The matter is over and done with the Honorable Judge Henderson looking confused at times as to how another judge could have let the initial motion and court order proceed with such little evidence against me.