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Kansas teen, police spar over videotaping in Capitol

  • The Associated Press
  • Published Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, at 2:35 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, at 4:52 p.m.

— A Topeka teenager has had another confrontation with law enforcement over his attempt to use a video camera to record interactions between police and the public.

Addison Mikkelson was at the Statehouse on Wednesday to participate in the Kansas Day activities planned in the building, which included the dedication of the Capitol.

The 17-year-old said while at the site he noticed people jaywalking in the presence of Capitol Police.

“He didn’t do one thing,” Mikkelson said of an officer.

Mikkelson says he then started videotaping the activity and asking the officer why he didn’t intercede. The teen returned to the Statehouse on Thursday with his camera running and had a discussion with an officer before being escorted from the building.

Capital Police declined to comment about the incident Friday when asked by The Associated Press.

The teen has made other attempts to videotape law enforcement officers in Topeka doing their job in recent months, including one that led to his arrest on Christmas Day for obstruction. Mikkelson was taken to a juvenile center before being released. He had his cellphone confiscated by the Kansas Highway Patrol after a New Year’s Day incident at a Topeka store.

His videos, including the latest incident at the Statehouse, have been posted online. In the clips, Mikkelson, who has been praised by free speech proponents, says that he is exercising his First Amendment rights.

During the incident Thursday, Mikkelson’s video shows footage of the security area near the entrance to the new Statehouse visitor center. He is met by an officer, who informs Mikkelson that he is not allowed to take video of the security measures.

The officer can be heard telling the teen where he can film in the building and telling him to turn his camera away from the entrance.

After the two debate the legality of Mikkelson’s filming, the officer escorts Mikkelson out of the building.

“This is corruption, and I want everyone here to see it,” Mikkelson says as he was walking out.

Mikkelson said police were making more out of his videotaping than necessary, adding, “It’s obviously a constitutionally protected right.”

Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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