In a heavily edited video released on October 21, conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe purported to rebut statements made by Philadelphia ACORN worker Katherine Conway Russell about O'Keefe's and Hannah Giles' visit to the Philadelphia ACORN office, but O'Keefe did not dispute the authenticity of the police report ACORN filed with Philadelphia police following their visit. The filing of the police report by ACORN -- Russell can be seen holding a copy of it in O'Keefe's video -- indicates the Philadelphia ACORN office had no intention of helping O'Keefe and Giles conduct any illegal activities, and ACORN said the police report “proves our clear understanding of this scam that was being portrayed.”
“Heavily edited tape” includes no evidence ACORN office provided actual assistance in engaging in illegal activities
O'Keefe releases heavily edited video that omits ACORN worker's statements. In the video released on Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com on October 21, the audio and video of O'Keefe's and Giles' July 24, 2009, visit to the Philadelphia ACORN office have been heavily edited. Many of Russell's statements in the video of the office visit were edited out and replaced with audio of O'Keefe purporting to explain what she said. As Fox News reported: “The new eight-minute video depicts O'Keefe and Giles entering ACORN's Philadelphia office and meeting with Conway-Russell. O'Keefe and Giles are seen speaking with Conway-Russell, but audio portions of the video are missing or edited in some portions.”
O'Keefe: We muted the audio because of “ACORN's legal attack upon us.” In an update to the video at BigGovernment.com, O'Keefe wrote:
**UPDATE 2:24 PM EST** We muted the audio of the ACORN employees on the video released today due to ACORN's legal attack upon us. We call upon ACORN to state publicly now that it has no objection to the public release of any its employees oral statements to us. If they are interested in the truth, why wouldn't they do so?
Fox News: “They played that heavily edited tape but did not show the ACORN worker's audio for legal reasons.” O'Keefe and Breitbart also conducted an October 21 press conference at the National Press Club to publicize O'Keefe's video. In a report on the press conference and the video, Fox News correspondent Eric Shawn stated, “They played that heavily edited tape but did not show the ACORN worker's audio for legal reasons.”
O'Keefe's video does not dispute police report filed by Philly ACORN office following visit
ACORN released police report following O'Keefe's visit. ACORN has publicly released a July 24, 2009, Philadelphia police report stating that an ACORN employee complained to police that O'Keefe had created a “verbal disturbance” at ACORN's office.
Russell can be seen holding police report in O'Keefe's October 21 video. O'Keefe's video shows footage from Russell's September 17, 2009, YouTube video in which she made statements about O'Keefe's and Giles' visit to the Philadelphia ACORN office. Russell said that following O'Keefe's visit, “We called the police and filed this report.” In his October 21 video, O'Keefe does not dispute that ACORN filed a police report about his visit.
Below is an image of the police report, which Media Matters has confirmed is on file with the Philadelphia Police Department:
Fox News cites Philadelphia police report posted by Media Matters. In his October 21 report on the press conference and video released by O'Keefe and Breitbart, Shawn stated that Media Matters for America, “a group that has been very critical of coverage of ACORN, released this police report. It's from the Philadelphia Police Department. It shows, they say ... basically James O'Keefe was in that office causing a 'verbal disturbance.' ”
Other news outlets have reported on police report. On September 11, CNN's Abbie Boudreau reported that an ACORN spokesperson “told us today that the filmmakers made similar efforts in Philadelphia, and in that case, ACORN workers actually reported the filmmakers to the police. ACORN provided a copy of that police report to us.” The Washington Post reported on September 17 that "[a]n ACORN spokesman said they [the videographers] were turned away in Miami, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, where workers called police and filed a report." The Post further reported on September 18 that “ACORN emailed a copy of a Philadelphia police report dated July 24 to The Post to verify its account that police were called and the couple was shown the door. O'Keefe is named on the report.” The Philadelphia Daily News reported on September 16 that Philadelphia ACORN president Carol Hemingway “e-mailed copies of the incident report to the news media.”
ACORN spokesman calls O'Keefe's video “concocted,” says police report “proves our clear understanding of this scam that was being portrayed.” In response to the October 21 video, ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson told Fox News: “This is another example of Fox Entertainment treating concocted video as if it's actually news. ... The police report we filed contemporaneously proves our clear understanding of this scam that was being portrayed.”
San Diego ACORN official also reported duo to police following encounter. In a September 22 article, the Associated Press reported that California police said an ACORN worker contacted them about “possible human smuggling”:
Police say a worker with the activist group ACORN who was caught on video giving advice about human smuggling to a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute had reported the incident to authorities.
National City police said Monday that Juan Carlos Vera contacted his cousin, a police detective, to get advice on what to with information on possible human smuggling.
Vera was secretly filmed on Aug. 18 as part of a young couple's high-profile expose.
Police say he contacted law enforcement two days later. The detective consulted another police official who served on a federal human smuggling task force, who said he needed more details.
The ACORN employee responded several days later and explained that the information he received was not true and he had been duped. [AP, 9/22/09]
L.A. ACORN employee reportedly says she attempted to help videographer “prostitute” go to women's center. Los Angeles Times media critic James Rainey reported:
And visits to other ACORN offices have gone almost entirely unmentioned. Lavelle Stewart, a fair-housing coordinator in the group's Los Angeles office, told me this week that she tried to get the “prostitute,” who claimed she had been beaten by her pimp, to go to a women's center.
“The fact she was not taking the help I offered her made me think something was not right,” Stewart said. “It raised a red flag.” [Rainey, Los Angeles Times, 9/23/09]