Claim: A woman was arrested for trespassing for taking pictures of an airport tourist attraction from a publicly accessible area.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, May 2012]
Origins: In July 2009, a 53-year-old woman named Nancy Genovese was arrested on a trespassing charge just outside the
According to a Long Island Newsday report published at the time of the arrest, law enforcement officials said
On one of those prior occasions, "She had wandered on the property, looking around, and was approached by staff at the Air National Guard," Caracappa said. "She was asking them about containers on the property, and they said, 'We can't tell you that,' and asked her to leave." But she was seen and recognized on the property again by an off-duty Southampton Town police officer, and upon arrival Deputy Sheriff Robert Carlock made the arrest, officials said.
In the front seat of her vehicle officers found a shotgun with about
Genovese's actions during her arrest and during the arraignment appeared somewhat erratic, Caracappa said, and she is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation while at the Suffolk County jail.
Genovese, a divorced, unemployed mother of three, has no known record of criminal behavior, and is not listed on any security watch lists, Genovese said. The weapons in her vehicle were legally registered, he said.
Gabreski Airport is a general aviation airport owned by Suffolk County and open to the public. It is utilized by private aviation, corporate flights, and air taxi services. It is also home to the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard. Nancy Genovese was detained and arrested outside the main entrance to the public airport, on Old Riverhead Road, on public property, directly in front of a helicopter shell placed at the airport entrance for the sole purpose of attracting tourists. There are no signs warning the public from taking pictures, and in fact, why would you set up a helicopter shell by the roadway to attract visitors if you don’t want pictures taken? Another point that is important to remember is that it is perfectly legal to take pictures of an airport or military base from public property. Posting a “no photos” sign does not diminish your constitutional rights.
Nancy Genovese denies that she was ever previously warned by anyone not to visit the airport, and insists that Undersheriff Caracappa is lying. Even if Undersheriff Caracappa’s version of what happened was 100% true, Nancy still did nothing wrong. When she was arrested, she was on public property. No one in that airport can prevent Nancy Genovese from standing or travelling on public property.
In February 2009, Genovese learned of the planned Iowa National Guard exercise in Arcadia. "This is the beginning of the end," she posted to one Web site. "They will do this in some other town, but it's just the beginning. Tell me how do I buy a gun? Do I buy a rifle or shotgun?" In the end, Genovese bought both, purchasing a shotgun and an
He claimed Suffolk County sheriff's deputies humiliated Nancy Genovese after arresting her in July 2009 while she took photographs of a decorative helicopter on display outside the Gabreski Airport Air National Guard base in Westhampton Beach, on eastern Long Island. A deputy sheriff allegedly said he would arrest her for terrorism to make an example of other "right wingers," according to Brewington.
"Ms. Genovese was subjected to a level of abuse because they did not share the same political views as she did and saw this as an excuse to deny her even the most basic civil rights," said Brewington.
During her time in the Suffolk County jail, Brewington claimed Genovese was subjected to humiliation and was strip searched.
Genovese said in a statement provided by Brewington that she was relieved "that the jury heard the truth and that I now have had the chance to clear my name. If this can happen to me, and officers can abuse their power like this, I can only imagine how other people who are not as fortunate as me have been treated."