On March 1, a small group of activists gathered outside the State House in Boston as part of a the World Wide March Against Corruption. Activists gave speeches about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), war, drones, militarized police, Citizens United, GMOs, and other topics. After the speeches, activists began marching through the city, eventually concluding the protest at Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
After the march, I stuck around to talk with some of the activists when I saw two uniformed individuals standing outside Quincy Market. I thought they were Boston police officers, so I began recording and approached them. After getting a closer look, I determined that the men were with a private security firm, so I started to walk away.
One of the two guards apparently didn't want me to record him, so he walked up to me, grabbed my arm by the elbow without warning, and attempted to grab my camera. Two of the activists witnessed what was happening and joined me in recording. The guard told us that we couldn't record him because we were on private property.
The market, although it may have been private property, is open to the public and there are no signs saying that photography or video-recording is prohibited. It's also worth noting that Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a popular tourist attraction. The website for the marketplace boasts that "[t]he unique and burgeoning array of shops, restaurants and outdoor entertainment have made it a premiere urban destination that attracts more than 18 million visitors annually."
It's unclear why security guards for the marketplace would want to stop people from shooting video there and even more unclear why they would think that assault is acceptable way of dealing with someone recording.
Matt, a friend and an organizer with MassOps, and I reported the assault to the on-site supervisor of the guards. The supervisor asked me to provide my address to him which I refused to do in front of the person who had just assaulted me. The supervisor told me his name was Eric Bennett, the Assistant Director of security. He refused to provide the name of the guard who assaulted me, but asked him to provide his badge number which is 390.
The security guards were employed by Universal Services of America which is contracted to provide security services to Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
I plan to follow up with calls to both Faneuil Hall Marketplace management and Universal Services of America.
If you're worried about getting assaulted next time you visit Faneuil Hall Marketplace, you can use these phone numbers to contact the marketplace and their security company.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace: 617-523-1300 Universal Services of America: 866-877-1965