Earlier today, news broke that NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg refused to disarm his security detail in the interests of gun control. The answer came when journalist Jason Mattera confronted him and asked him to disarm, while the mayor was visiting Washington DC for the US Conference of Mayors on January 18.
Bloomberg answered, “Uh, we’ll get back with you on that.” Then later, after Mattera had left the area, an Officer Stockton followed him down the street.
Officer Stockton asked Mattera to present his drivers license. Mattera refused, and asked Stockton if he had jurisdiction to ask him any questions.
Stockton replied that he had “security jurisdiction.” Click to enlarge.
I asked PJ Media’s legal experts, Hans A. von Spakovsky, and Christian Adams, about this question of “security jurisdiction.” Both formerly worked as lawyers in the United States Department of Justice.
Police officers who are outside of their normal jurisdiction but who are acting as protection for a public figure like Bloomberg certainly have the ability to act to protect their principal from a threat of imminent harm. But no such officer has “security jurisdiction” that allows him to harass a member of the press or a member of the public who is not physically threatening his principal. There is no law justifying what the NYPD officer was doing.
Even a Washington, D.C. police officer assigned to help protect Bloomberg while he is in Washington would have no right to engage in such harassment. And it is clear from the video that Mattera wasn’t doing anything other than asking Bloomberg a legitimate question about a political issue that Bloomberg has taken up publicly in a very pronounced way. The NYPD officer was acting far beyond his authority.
And you can quote me on that.
Adams’ reply regarding “security jurisdiction” was a bit more succinct:
No such thing.
Officer Stockton had no legal authority to pursue Mattera. He was out of his jurisdiction. As you can see at the very end of the video, Stockton continued pursuing Mattera long after he had left the scene of the brief conversation with Mayor Bloomberg. He even asked Mattera for his date of birth while pursuing him down the street in Washington.