Officer Paul Harris openly threatens the Greene County Herald, and their editor and journalist Vaduva over a panhandling ordinance.
On Sunday, Dayton, Ohio police officer Paul Harris threatened a Greene County Herald journalist with arrest. Reporter Virgil Vaduva has in fact been arrested while in the course of reporting and taking photographs, but this would be the first time he was threatened with arrest for debating an off-duty police officer on Facebook.
The whole thing started after the Greene County Herald posted several videos related to protests against the City of Xenia’s anti-panhandling ordinance. We ran some of these videos too, and talked to Vaduva about his activism outside of his work with the local news source.
The City of Xenia, Ohio has banned being poor and asking for money within township limits. Now activists like Virgil have changed the game with civil disobedience “panhandling protests” where they donate the money collected to charity. They’ve given the city three months to scrap the law or face a federal lawsuit!
Back in 2013, the City of Xenia passed Ordinance 13-31 which essentially prohibited poor people from asking for any form of assistance.
In response to this, last Thursday, three local activists crashed a Xenia City Council meeting to demand the law be scrapped. Vaduva was one of them. He told the City Council that the City has three months to ditch this illegal and unconstitutional law, otherwise, they will be slapped with a federal lawsuit.
Watch that video below…
In the mean time, Virgil volunteered to commit a 4th degree misdemeanor in order to raise money for a local charity and demonstrate the absurdity of this ordinance, which, he explains, “criminalizes speech and the act of verbalizing questions to another human being in a public space.”
All proceeds of his panhandling were donated to local charities!
But once a Dayton cop started trolling the Greene County Herald Facebook page, which had posted the video above, Virgil couldn’t help but step in, at the request of his employer.
You can find this brief exchange screen-captured below:
Paul Harris openly threatens the Greene County Herald, and their editor and journalist Vaduva, in the thread above. He seems to see no problem with threatening to arrest someone for a peaceful protest against an unjust law. But to add to the problem, Officer Harris threatens to arrest Virgil in the City of Dayton, not in Xenia. These cities are separated by around 18 miles, and yet Officer Harris threatens to enforce Xenia laws within the city limits of Dayton.
Dayton prohibits panhandling at night, but there is nothing illegal about doing so during normal daytime hours. But Officer Harris is not concerned with the law, even as he chimes in with the offensive NYPD “breath easy, don’t break the law” catch phrase. Instead, he is interested in enforcing his will upon someone debating with him on social media, even though he would be making a false arrest if he made good on his threats to Vaduva.
Remember, Greene County is the same place where John Crawford was gunned down last August by Beavercreek Police Officer Sean Williams. It would seem that there is a widespread pattern of corruption in that neck of the woods.