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Thursday, April 18, 2024

YouTuber Detained for Illegally Entering Schenectady City Hall

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On⁤ Monday morning, a YouTuber found himself in handcuffs at‌ Schenectady City Hall after he defied a ⁣city law by continuing to film ​inside the building.

Sean Reyes, who⁣ runs the Long Island Audit YouTube channel, was taken ​into custody⁢ and ​charged⁤ with trespassing, as confirmed by Schenectady police.

During the video, Reyes ⁢stated that he was at City Hall in​ his capacity as a ⁤citizen journalist, intending to file Freedom of⁤ Information Law requests related to alleged city corruption. It’s worth noting that ​Reyes‌ is not affiliated with any recognized news⁤ organization.

Reyes has a criminal history, having served a three-year sentence in‌ a state correctional facility from 2013 to 2016 for attempted robbery.

In ​a ​GoFundme ⁣fundraiser initiated after ⁢his arrest,⁤ Reyes revealed that he has been arrested 10 times in the past three years since ⁣he started his citizen journalism activities.

The video, which was live-streamed⁤ on ⁤Monday morning ⁣and has since attracted over⁣ 100,000 views, shows​ Reyes entering‍ the office ‍of Schenectady‌ Mayor Gary McCarthy and requesting to speak⁣ with him.

An aide asked Reyes to stop⁢ recording their conversation, but he refused. ⁣He then⁢ provided his email​ address‌ and left the mayor’s office.

Reyes subsequently ⁤visited the office of Schenectady General Services Commissioner Paul LaFond,‍ where he ‌requested access to the​ city’s financial records.

He ⁢also had a conversation with Finance Commissioner Anthony Ferrari, during which he asked⁤ for McCarthy’s city credit ‍card records. Ferrari informed him that the ⁤mayor did‍ not possess a city-issued card.

Despite being asked by a city security guard​ to ‍stop filming, Reyes continued to record inside ‌the Waste Collection office. The guard‍ reminded him that filming inside the⁤ building beyond the security desk was prohibited⁢ by an executive order ‌from the mayor.

The order does‍ permit filming ‍in City Hall for public meetings and​ throughout the building with prior​ permission.

The executive order stipulates that ​public access to city-owned and leased buildings can be limited if the areas are ⁣“primarily intended for the use of city ‌employees in the conduct of their business.”

Two security​ guards‌ directed Reyes to ‌McCarthy’s office for any further queries⁣ about the order. However, Reyes ignored their⁣ request to turn off his camera as​ he⁣ moved past​ the‌ security desk.

When Reyes continued to film, the security guards warned him that he would ⁣be deemed a trespasser and asked to leave the premises. Reyes responded by asserting his status as a ‌journalist and ⁤his intent to record the building for the sake ⁤of transparency and accountability.

Despite repeated requests to leave, ​Reyes refused. Uniformed​ Schenectady‍ police officers were summoned to the security ⁤desk,⁢ and Reyes⁣ was warned that he would be⁤ arrested for‌ trespassing if⁢ he ‍did not stop filming and leave.

“You’re going to have to go ‍ahead and do⁤ that, sir,” Reyes responded to the officer. He was⁤ subsequently arrested for trespassing.

Mayor McCarthy⁤ explained that‌ the executive order was put ⁤in place in October ​2022 to‌ protect City Hall employees ‌from harassment.

“It’s not people making a ‌legitimate inquiry, but‌ the manner ⁢in which they claim to be auditing is really​ done more in ⁤a manner that could be construed as harassment or intimidation of ‌people,” he commented ‍on⁤ Monday. “It’s sticking a camera up close to people’s⁢ faces or walking into areas that might be somewhat restricted.”

After being released from police custody, Reyes ⁢live-streamed ‌again on Monday ‌afternoon.​ He announced that⁤ he had⁤ received a summons to ⁢appear in City Court on April 19. During ‍the broadcast, he returned to​ police headquarters to request police body‍ camera footage ⁣of his earlier encounter with‍ officers inside City⁢ Hall. A sergeant on ⁢duty informed ‌him that he would need to file the⁢ request at City Hall.

Reyes did not return to City⁣ Hall⁤ during the 24-minute live-stream, which has been viewed over​ 47,000 times as of the⁣ time of writing.⁤ He ⁢did, however, mention that he was considering legal action against the city, potentially in ‌the form of⁢ a state or⁣ federal ‌lawsuit.

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Emily Stanton
Emily Stanton
Emily Stanton, a skillful journalist previously based in Boston, is adept at covering a diverse array of stories. Her thorough and engaging reporting style, honed with a Master's in Journalism from Boston University, focuses on community-relevant stories.
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