photo and indie film features true story: “Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist” (99 min) by Nancy Bechtol–Released/premiered 2014 at Logan Theatre, Chicago
this is excerpted from the Wikipedia Article:
Alvarez had prosecuted individuals under the Eavesdropping Act for recording police in public. Chris Drew recorded his non-violent arrest for street peddling of art. The peddling charge was dropped and Alvarez pursued the much harsher charge of recording police officers voice’s without their permission. This charge could have a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. Criminal Courts Judge Stanley Sacks dismissed the case on 2 March 2012, stating that the eavesdropping law was unconstitutional and that it was too broad and criminalized innocent behavior. Alvarez announced that she would appeal the ruling. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois successfully sued Anita Alvarez and she was ordered to stop prosecuting the ACLU employees and their agents under the Illinois Eavesdropping Act. Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled that the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, 720 ILCS 5/14, violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution when used as a method to prevent the open recording of law enforcement’s audible communications in public places while performing official duties, or the communications of others that are incidentally captured. It was ruled that Cook County would have to pay the legal fees of the ACLU which amounted to $645,549.
Chris Drew Legacy:Interview :Dr. Barbara Iverson, Columbia College-School of Journalism, Assoc Professor, Chicago Talks, Journalist. Video by:Nancy Bechtol, APA photojournalist©2012 .This interview is part of the Chris Drew Legacy Interviews series # people sharing insights to the artist/activist and his life work. Barbara speaks about her connection with Chris and a larger circle of concerns including public rights, grassroots connections, the “art patches”, FCC, Free Speech, the Illinois Eavesdropping Law and the Constitution.
Two probono lawyers stepped up to defend Chris. First Mark Weinberg, Civil Rights Attorney, then Joshua Kutnick.
The Law was declared Unconstitutional in Chris’ case based on “wholly innocent conduct” March 2012 by Judge Sacks. Attorney Kutnick won vs IL State’s Attorney, Alvarez. Chris Drew RIP May 2012. The Illinois Supreme Court finally abolished the Law, March 2014. Now a feature documentary, “Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist”. by Nancy Bechtol. 2014 release.
11.14.14 Chicago Premiere at Logan Theatre http://www.thelogantheatre.com/index.php/movies/coming-soon?view=showdetail&id=568 of indie doc “Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist” (99 min) film by Nancy Bechtol. Music by Behind the Sun. Andy Alton & David Mansfield. “Paper Airplane” Courtesy of Hey Now Records. www.heynowrecords.com