Police allegedly force reporters to delete photos, video after protesters disrupt Senate healthcare vote
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As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) asked for a vote to proceed on the controversial healthcare related procedure, protesters loudly chanted “kill the bill, don’t kill us!” and “shame!” at the lawmakers, prompting the sergeant at arms to “restore order in the chamber.”
The vote was to begin debate on repealing, and possibly replacing, the nation’s current healthcare law. The Affordable Care Act has seen a recent surge in popularity as efforts to remove it by Republicans have intensified.
Protesters chant "kill the bill" and "shame" as senators begin a key procedural vote on the Obamacare repeal bill pic.twitter.com/f7Q9M3uexy— POLITICO (@politico) July 25, 2017
As the Senate narrowly voted to pass the motion, the healthcare protesters were handcuffed and removed from the hallway outside of the Senate chamber, according to reporters on the scene. The same reporters, however, were allegedly told to not take photos of the protesters and delete any videos they had taken.
Reporters blocked from Senate halls where protesters being arrested, shouting, "Kill the bill!" Being told, "no photos. Delete your photos."— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) July 25, 2017
Sergeant at Arms just backed reporters off, called it a 'crime scene.' Protesters have been escorted away.— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) July 25, 2017
Capitol Police made me delete the video I recorded. https://t.co/NQH2fLFYiO— Andrew Desiderio (@desiderioDC) July 25, 2017
About 10 protesters were handcuffed & removed from hallway outside Senate chamber. We were told it's a "crime scene" & not to take photos— Gabby Morrongiello (@gabriellahope_) July 25, 2017
Anyone, including reporters, has the right to take photographs or video in a public area as long as they are not interfering with police work. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) quickly responded to reports of police forcing reporters to delete their photos and videos: “Police may not delete photographs without a warrant, period.”
As those protests were going on in the Senate gallery, “several hundred” protesters made their voices heard at the nearby Hart Senate Office Building.
ADAPT activists being taken out one by one by Capitol Police, being greeted by huge applause as they go pic.twitter.com/EJddxpIi2Q— Jeff Stein (@JStein_Vox) July 25, 2017
Police escorting the first wave out pic.twitter.com/feAxq0VnAf— Jeff Stein (@JStein_Vox) July 25, 2017
Capitol police arrested more than two dozen protesters involved in the action in the Senate gallery, according to Think Progress.
.@SenJohnMcCain-Thank you for coming to D.C. for such a vital vote. Congrats to all Rep. We can now deliver grt healthcare to all Americans!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
It is not yet clear what the Republican-led healthcare legislation will include nor how it will affect Americans and the U.S. healthcare system. Lawmakers are crafting the legislation on the fly through the amendment process. Debate on the legislation will continue for 20 hours.
Activists and Democrats are urging voters to call the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and contact their senators to voice opposition to the legislation—whatever it may ultimately be.
Republicans just turned their backs on human decency. Don’t stop calling: (202) 224-3121. https://t.co/s0tOO78gPi— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) July 25, 2017
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).