Security at Olive Harvey College Sabotaged Taping of a Controversial Community Meeting on a Proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensary for the 8th Ward

By Juanita Bratcher

Editor & Publisher, CopyLine Magazine

Freedom of the Press in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, yet security at Olive Harvey College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago sabotaged CopyLine Magazine staff’s taping of a controversial community meeting that took place in the college auditorium at 10001 S. Woodlawn on August 11, 2015.

Their most egregious action was talking out both sides of mouth and most of it making very little sense, if any, as to why the meeting couldn’t be taped.

Juanita Bratcher, Editor & Publisher of CopyLine Magazine, is an award-winning Journalist. She has been a news reporter/publisher for 39 years, the author of seven books, poet and songwriter.

Bratcher was beckoned by staff after being given several different scenarios pertaining to the taping, which included:

  • 1st Encounter: When first entering the building, CopyLine’s camera staff was told that there was no set-up available for Media video-taping, that it was a safety issue for them because they didn’t have a designated area. Later staff was told by the same woman (security) that they could sit upfront to tape out of the way of people.
  • 2nd Encounter: Shortly after setting-up, another person approached them and informed them that taping in the aisles was a safety issue, that they could not be responsible for equipment falling on the heads of those in front of us (and certainly, we would never violate any safety issues), so staff was told to use the area that they usually prepare for Video-taping; we assumed, to provide an audio feed.
  • 3rd Encounter: After moving to the area suggested, we were suddenly waved away and stopped by security and told that in order to video tape one had to first obtain permission from CCC before an event was held. When told that this was a public facility, security agreed but said it was not public because the room had been rented out (in this case by 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris’ Office) and was a private event. We were told not to tape until they could get in contact with CCC head of security at another location. Of course, we complied with that, but were later told that filming was not allowed because it was a private event. Bratcher then asked could she tape if the alderman gave permission to tape. Then they went back to the notion that you had to get prior permission from CCC, which was nothing but the “runaround”.
  • 4th Encounter: After putting away the video camera and walking back to seat, while CopyLine’s camera person had been told earlier that she could use her camera; when pulling out the camera to take pictures, was told that even pictures were not allowed by CCC Security. This after originally being told that pictures were fine. Again we complied.
  • For four times CopyLine’s cameraman had to move to different places in the auditorium, at their request. When told to shut down, a staff person decided to take pictures by phone instead of recording the meeting. Then staff was told by security they could not take pictures or videotape. Security never interfered with others using their cell phones to tape the meeting. But kept eyes on CopyLine’s staff, monitoring them very closely, and even staked out the opposite side of the isle from where they sat.

On August 12, 2015, Bratcher called CCC administrative office to make a complaint about what had occurred at the prior day’s meeting on a proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensary. No definitive answer was given, but CopyLine was promised a call back on the issue after they look into the matter. CopyLine is still waiting on a call back from CCC.

So much for freedom of the press! Don’t you think? CCC security made darn sure it never happened.

Juanita Bratcher is an Award-Winning Journalist, the Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com and the author of several books, songwriter and poet. She has been a Journalist for more than 39 years covering politics, education and a wide-range of other topics.