Shields brought together 25 community leaders behind closed doors - media wasn't allowed to attend - along with a camera man from CAR 25 to record the meeting, presumably to show on the city's cable-access TV station.
But now it appears Shields is bottling up the video. Paul Ancona, the city's director of information systems, who oversees the city's TV station, said Shields requested that CAR 25 not broadcast the video recorded by CAR 25 coordinator Scott Nelson.
"It was requested we not put the video on the air," Ancona said. "Alderman Shields made the request."
Ancona said it was Shields' call on whether to broadcast the video because he organized the event and asked CAR 25 to attend.
"He's the one who requested we video tape it," Ancona said of Shields. "It would be his call if we broadcast it."
Shields' decision to close the meeting to the media and now to withhold the video raises questions about what happened at the meeting. One source said Shields doesn't want to release the video because he doesn't want it used for a negative purpose.
But another source who was at the meeting said nothing particularly controversial happened.
The JT interviewed people coming out of the meeting who said main topics were racial profiling and discrimination and the need for jobs and job training.
Ancona said it was not unusual for CAR 25 to video record community events for possible broadcast on the station. Any group can request a video camera at their event, he said.
"If it has some community interest we'll try to accommodate it," Ancona said.
On a side note, it's questionable whether Shields had the right to prevent the media from attending the community hearing in the City Council chambers. While the city makes the chambers available for public use, they are not available for private use. (For example, a business couldn't rent out the City Council chambers for a board meeting.)
While no local media pushed Shields to attend the meeting, it's likely he could not have stopped a reporter from attending.
Update: Participants at the meeting may not have known they were being recorded. Here's an email we received from someone who was there:
I was at the meeting, but I'm not aware of anyone announcing it was being recorded for CAR25. Something might have been said about recording audio.
One guy got up to speak at the mic and pointed up at the camera to see if it was being recorded. People chuckled after that and I got the impression that it was not being video recorded.
Anyhow, the reason that they don't want that tape out is that some folks were pretty vocal and called people out by name. I don't think anyone that spoke would necessarily be uncomfortable with what they said being public (with some exceptions), but without knowing they were taped....that wouldn't be right.
Most comments weren't a big deal.....same issues that have been reported on Post and JT. Police discrimination, Becker arrest, State Street development, hiring practices, racism, etc.
The meeting being closed was news to me when I got there. That wasn't announced in advance. If they did plan on it being CAR25, then I don't know why they didn't just open it up.And ...
Scott (Nelson) was there, but it only seemed like he was fixing a problem with powerpoint. He only came after Shields called him because he couldn't get the presentation to work and the meeting was running late. Nothing was said about CAR 25 at that point or putting this meeting on the airwaves.Update 2: Activist Alphonso Gardner, who was at the meeting, said he was unaware the meeting was being recorded. Gardner said he had no problem with his comments being recorded and made public, but he didn't know if any video was taken at the meeting.
"I'd like to know in the future if I'm being recorded," Gardner said.