Bryan Carmody is a 49-year-old freelance videographer in San Francisco who was recently arrested for obtaining and selling a police report that detailed the final moments of well known Public Defender Jeff Adachi. The police are currently investigating who leaked the confidential police report on Adachi as part of a criminal probe. A Judge signed off on search warrants which justified the search by stating officers were investigating “stolen or embezzled” property.
A lieutenant and Sergeant stopped by Bryan’s house weeks before the raid and asked him to reveal his source but he politely declined. After the police obtained the warrant, they returned to his home, broke down his door with a sledgehammer, and confiscated his notebooks, cellphone, computer, hard drives, and cameras. They also raided his “newsroom” where they seized a thumb drive, CDs and the leaked police report about Adachi’s death which was kept inside of a safe.
The raid caused an outcry from media outlets and journalists across the United States who claim that it violates the First Amendment and sets a dangerous precedent. Carmody is currently free after being detained by police during the raid on his home.
Before this firestorm, Bryan Carmody was a freelance videographer who was known for being first on the scene. He worked with several different news outlets around the San Francisco area.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. After being raided, Bryan Carmody says he will not reveal his source
Despite the police raiding his home and confiscating between $30,000 – $40,000 worth of his equipment, Bryan has remained steadfast to his commitment not to reveal his source. He said he has not shared the name with anybody and the document the police confiscated has no markings that would help them identify the person.
The police claim that the person who leaked the report may have been bribed to do so. When asked if he paid his source anything for the report Carmody responded, “No, not even a cup of coffee.” Carmody and his lawyer believe the cops are trying to pressure him into giving up his source. “It’s designed to intimidate,” said his lawyer, Thomas Burke. “It’s essentially the confiscation of a newsroom.”
2. Journalists across the United States came to his defense
After the Los Angeles Times broke the story initially, journalists united to show their support for Carmody. They believed the raid violated his rights as a journalist and would lead to more intimidation tactics in the future. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also came to his defense and emphasized the importance of the first amendment.
There was almost unanimous support for him across reporters, journalists, and news outlets. Many of his peers encouraged him to remain strong and keep his source confidential. Even those that disagreed with him before or did not like him professionally were against the police raiding his home.
3. Other journalists have accused him of harassing them on Twitter
Susie Cagle, an Oakland based reporter for VICE and Vivian Ho, a journalist for The Guardian, both chimed in on Twitter with claims that Bryan Carmody had previously harassed them.
Susie claims that Bryan called her “a fake journalist who deserved to get arrested” but despite his alleged comments, she was still against the police raiding his house. Vivian echoed her sentiments, calling Bryan’s treatment of other journalists “repugnant and inexcusable”. She used the same words to describe the police raid on his home. Neither journalist has provided screenshots or proof of this harassment though Susie claimed to have them.
Another Twitter user posted screenshots from Bryan’s business account @nbaynews and alleges that he was a “right-wing troll” who tweeted negative things about Occupy Oakland.
The screenshots are unconfirmed as are the accusations of Bryan saying negative things about Occupy Oakland.
4. The Police held him in handcuffs for 6 hours as they searched his home
After police officers broke down his door with a sledgehammer, they handcuffed Bryan for 6 hours from 8:22 a.m. to 1:55 p.m while they searched his home and collected his personal belongings. The search warrant said the SFPD officers and FBI agents were there investigating “stolen or embezzled” property.
Bryan is a legal gun owner, which may have been the cause of him being handcuffed the entire time. But the Los Angeles Times reported that the guns were in a safe at the time of the raid. Also, officers took off their bulletproof vests during the raid due to the heat, showing they were not scared of gunfire from Bryan or anybody else.
Police officers obtained the second warrant for his newsroom while he was cuffed.
5. Bryan Carmody has set up a GoFundMe page to fund his legal defense
The police confiscated all of Bryans equipment, about $30K – $40K worth during the raid, which left him unable to do his job. Bryan is a freelance videographer that relies on his equipment to generate income. He is currently trying to get his equipment back from the SFPD but they have been unresponsive
His friend Aaron Lee set up a GoFundMe for Bryan to raise money for new equipment. On the page, they describe Bryan as “an independent journalist who has covered news in Northern California for nearly three decades.” adding, “Over the last three decades, Bryan’s content has been aired on every national news network, cable news outlet, and nearly every local T.V. station in America.”
Bryans friends are asking for “$10,000 to replace equipment that was taken during the raid, help Bryan get his business up and running again, and prepare for his legal defense.”
They have exceeded their initial goal and raised $11,331 total.