Irony: Couple Cuffed For Engaging In Free Speech In Front Of Independence Hall

A video that runs approximately 13:00 minutes records an ironic incident that took place on Saturday May 18 documents the incident of Mark Passio and Barb Marinelli, a couple who were engaged in handing out flyers and talking about ending the Federal Reserve system in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They were detained and hand-cuffed for passing out flyers and engaging in free speech.

According to Mark Passio, "On Saturday, May 18th at 3:00 pm, I was walking with my wife Barb in Philadelphia from Market Street to Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets, and handed out a few fliers about how the Federal Reserve Bank is de-valuing our nation's currency to people standing in the line at the Liberty Bell location (something I have done almost 20 times in the past).

He then engaged a couple of people who asked him for the information he was speaking about. Following that encounter, he and his wife walked to Chestnut Street and they were stopped by two Park Rangers. They were told they could not be handing out flyers.

According to Mark, they had finished handing out flyers for the day, but still had a few in their hands.

"They began citing some obscure federal regulation that I had never heard of," Mark said. "I calmly told them that I was peacefully exercising the Rights of Free Speech and Free Press as I was walking through the area, which are Natural Rights which cannot be granted by man, nor alienated from man, and which they do not have the "right," regardless of what the terms of their "job" may tell them, to usurp from me or to stop me from exercising."

Mark informed them that the unalienable rights to Free Speech and Free Press were also guaranteed and protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. He added that the Constitution is the highest legal document of American law and certainly trumps and negates any un-Constitutional federal regulation which they were quoting to him and his wife.

He then calmly informed them that they were violating those rights by attempting to stop people from exercising them and claiming that our free speech can be invalidated by an obscure regulation.

Additionally, Mark said that the Park Rangers told him that he would have to pay the Federal government for permission to exercise his free speech via a permit.

He then attempted to walk away, but what happened next is quite frankly chilling. "They appeared to be viciously angered at my declaration that I had engaged in a peaceful activity that was a Natural Right, and that they had no right to attempt to stop me from exercising it," he said. "Along with many other Park Police who had gathered while I was speaking to the original two officers, they followed me and Barb onto Chestnut Street, violently stopped us from proceeding on our way, put handcuffs on both of us (mine were applied so tightly that I have lost feeling in a large portion of the top of my left hand and will need to see a doctor about possible permanent nerve damage), unlawfully arrested our freedom of movement for over 20 minutes, unlawfully searched my person when I told them that I did not consent to any searches, stole my property in the form of the remaining fliers which I had paid to print, and, adding insult to injury, also stole a $20 bill from my wallet, which I discovered was missing when they returned it to me, after releasing us."

They attempted to cite Mark, but Mark says that he would not accept that he had done anything morally wrong and when they threatened him with a warrant for his arrest, he continued to refuse.

In the video, the guy filming captures the badge numbers and a couple of names of the Rangers "guarding" the couple. Mark is clearly making people aware of what is taking place as his wife speaks to the camera man. Mark even calls upon police across the street to "do their duty" against the tyranny taking place. The officers stand quietly and cowardly by on the other side of the street.

One woman walks up with her son and was appalled, saying that one of her ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence just across the street, and this is what they are teaching the children.

It's amazing that they were treated like criminals and forced to sit handcuffed for merely exercising their free speech to other people in the very vicinity of where the Founders declared independence! Simply amazing!

I'd say it was time to burn up some emails and telephone lines on these thugs. Honestly, if you look, there were about 10 Park Rangers around this couple. It is shameful what these Rangers were engaged in. This couple was not a threat to anyone and yet they were handcuffed and guarded.

Contact information for the Park Rangers can be found here.

The U.S.National Parks Service's Philadelphia N.E. Regional Office address is:

Dennis Reidenbach, Regional Director
U.S. National Parks Service
Custom House
200 Chestnut Street,Fifth Floor
Philadelphia, Pa.
Tel: (215) 597-7013

UPDATE: The citations have been voided by the Dept of Interior and Passio says he will be filing a criminal lawsuit.

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  • jj

    they are park rangers, just get up and walk away ^^ if it were a real incident that required cops, the ones across the street would have come over,,,,,,, just keep walking when dealing with a park ranger, as soon as you are off the park grounds stop turn around and flip them the finger ^^

  • Doc Savage

    Their real crime was "Contempt of Cop". They wanted a scene and they got one. To stand there and site the Constitution and God given rights to a policeman results with the policeman thinking "why are you F...'n up my day. It is not about suppressing their rights. They said they had finished for the day. "Sorry officer, we did not realize we had to have a permit. Thank you and goodbye. The permit idea is to keep venders from trying to sell stuff in parks and to regulate what is sold. Do you want someone selling porn magazines where your kids are? "They searched me without my consent",hey Jack they DO NOT need your consent. Thought you would know that being a expert on the Constitution. Oh yes you have irreversible nerve damage in your wrist. Their behavior undermines people who are really trying to inform people about the corrupt government.

  • NoCrud

    This is an invasion of Civil Rights, pure and simple. IF this had been told to the park rangers, it might have had an effect because "Invasion of Civil Rights" is a buzzword that police use against anyone who merely tells someone to get off the sidewalk.

    The only thing that may be used against those who were protesting that I can imagine is if they say that official permission for a protest had not been issued. But, I think everyone in that group needs to go after the Rangers.

    I once was in a US Forest and had a small radio set up as part of my Amateur Radio hobby while my three sons ran around playing. No one else was around. Suddenly, here came a park ranger saying I could not operate a radio station in the park. He was completely out of bounds because I was licensed and knew the law. What did I do? I left to find a place where I did not have to put up with stupid/ignorant people. That man was one of those "typical government workers" that wanted to exercise power and control. The thought that a bear might have chased him up a tree now warms my heart. In fact, I hope he's still in that tree.

  • DOUG1

    I'm confused. Was this couple in a park. Park Rangers don't have any powers outside the bounderies of a park. If not in a park, the Randers commited a crime. They could be charged with Unlawfull Restraint and even Kidnapping. If they were in a park, there are rules and restrictions to using the park and the couple could have been in the wrong.

  • 19Delta0025

    All you armchair lawyers and libertarians need a serious dose of reality. Most of these postings demonstrate why the Park Service (Dept of the Interior) follow the regulations they do. The publishers of this site need to extend an apology to the Law Enforcement Rangers (who are Federal LE just like any other) for use of the term "Gestapo". The term is not accurate historically or institutionally. Visitors to the birth place of the United States do not want to be bombarded with the proselytizings of every wing-nut on the planet. If you want to tell everyone the White House is secretly controlled by the dry-cleaners association you can apply for a special use permit. Thousands of groups and individuals have been accomodated in such a manner over the years. But you do not have a right to conduct unfettered, un-reviewed disinformation campaigns on unsuspecting Visitors. Just like you can't shoot the animals at Yellowstone or go water skiing over the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. None of these regulations are obscure or mysterious except to people who choose to ignore them or are too clueless to ask first. A Seasonal (summer-hire) Park Ranger makes less than a manager at McDonalds. For that you get to fight with drunks who want to urinate on the Liberty Bell Pavilion, keep Chinese bus tours from taking all the planted flowers or try to explain to someone that it was the City (not the NPS) that towed your car (because you didn't read the sign).Hardly Gestapo. I would challenge anyone to find a Federal Agency that does as much with as little money as the NPS or who operates more in the tax-payers' interest. Most of you simply read the one-sided account above and decide it's another example of oppression. For people that pride themselves on their intellect, there's not much evidence of any here.

    • NoCrud

      Married to the Service, huh? Oh, well — anyone can exercise their freedom of spiel.

  • kunner

    While I disagree with what the park rangers did, term like Fascism, and Gestapo are excessive. Officers should not have left them on the ground handcuffed for so long if cuffs were necessary at all. They don't get to enforce only the laws the agree with they enforce all laws and then the courts can decide if the law is correct.

    It truly Fascists the camera man would have been in custody or worst so let's keep things in perspective and not over react to a ticket.

  • David Jordan

    Sounds like Nazi Germany! This type of behavior will be obama's legacy! It's about time for a revolution!

  • Thomas Gentile


  • Robert Martin

    at least they didnt get beat.

  • DefiantDeity

    I think these park rangers are in the wrong but that guy is really annoying. I almost wished one of those rangers kicked him so hard in the face that it broke his jaw just so he would shut up. Perhaps they detained him because he was running his mouth causing a disturbance. We don't really know the truth unless they have it all on video.

  • Thomas Weiss

    That was unbelievable.

  • thomas jefferson

    HEY THE POLICE GANGS are robbing everyone and if you don't suck them off ,your not a good american,when they come to your door,hand them your SIX year old little girl, maybe they will let you live cowards.................................................

  • TAM44

    We have a terrorist in the white house and the government don't care about your rights and are doing all they can to destroy America for this enemy.