(Dmytro “Henry” Aleksandrov, Headline USA) This week, the O’Keefe Media Group [OMG] filed a lawsuit against Gov. Josh Green, D–Hawaii, and the County of Maui after the group was told it could not take photographs or video on public land while they were investigating the aftermath of the fires that burned the surrounding area to the ground.
The hidden camera footage revealed that law enforcement officers in the area told OMG journalists that they were prohibited from taking pictures or video on public land due to the governor’s emergency order. It got to the point when they even threatened founder James O’Keefe with arrest if he refused to cease recording.
In the video, O’Keefe said that he was filing the lawsuit to “… invalidate the criminalization of protected First Amendment activity” and to prevent Maui County from criminally charging anyone who exercises one’s First Amendment rights.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Hawaii, the purpose of which was to prohibit Green from “… unilaterally criminalizing the fundamental rights of free speech and a free press to which Plaintiffs are guaranteed under both, the United States and Hawaii Constitutions,” the Post Millennial reported.
The other plaintiff in the suit was an anonymous OMG journalist who identified himself as John Doe. He was taking photographs while he was reporting during the trip to Lahaina on Sept. 1, 2023, which he was prohibited from doing by Maui County, by and through its Sheriff’s Department [MCSD], and criminally charged for his reporting.
“MCSD officials informed John Doe that it was not a law, but rather, the ‘Emergency Proclamations’ Governor Green had issued regarding the Maui wildfires that made his engagement in constitutionally protected First Amendment activity a crime,” the suit said.
The actions taken by law enforcement as a result of Green’s order violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the suit added.
“This isn’t merely about the freedom to take photos. It’s about the freedom of the press and the right to hold our leaders accountable,” OMG said.