Sent to me from the dark screen:
DPortM said on 4 Aug 2009 at 7:29 am:
Sudley and Westgate Updates – Recent Filming in the Neighborhood
Eric Byler was in the trunk of a car driving around filming Westgate and Sudley neighborhoods on Sunday afternoon
Univision was back on the 9600 block of Lafayette in Westgate yesterday early evening filming the “taser” house and requesting interviews from the neighbors
How sad. DportM probably should have talked to Eric rather than ‘her friend’ to get the real story.
I have no idea about Univision. Guess they were out doing their own thing.
What they were doing is not my problem.
However, I did know Eric and and Jeff were in the ‘hood. I contacted Eric for his response to this rumor:
Yes, Jeff and I had set up the tripod in the trunk of the car to get a more steady shot. We were shooting what is called B-roll for the feature length version of 9500 Liberty. Some shots need to be done over because a feature film requires a certain level of production value.
There were some shaky camera shots during a scene about MS-13 graffiti. One was of Sudley Elementary School and the other was of the church next door. Since it w as going well, we shot another street as well and passed by Patty from Help Save Manassas.
Then things really got interesting, apparently.
When the police officer approached us, he told us that a woman had called and said a “dark haired man” was scoping out the neighborhood. I just laughed and said, “Oh, that’s just Patty. She knows who we are. She’s just trying to harass us.” The officer seemed to understand immediately. He asked if she is the woman who is always calling them about all sorts of things. I said I didn’t know.
I gave the officer my card and told him about the film. I explained how I’ve known Patty for two years as one of the most devoted members of Help Save Manassas. We talked about the attack on Chief Deane. During this time I asked Jeff to set up the tripod and get a shot. We had actually been hoping to spot a police cruiser in order to get some B-roll for another scene.
Then another cruiser pulled up. I said, “Two cruisers?” And he said that he had shared the report over CB with a fellow officer in the area. The second officer did not seem pleased to learn the 911 call had essentially been a prank. Then the rain started and we said goodbye. In the meanwhile, Jeff got a really great shot that I have already added to the film.
Several of us knew Eric and Jeff were in the neighborhood and had told him where various landmarks were. What a shame that valuable county resources had to be wasted by involving the police when no wrong-doing was taking place. Is it now illegal to shoot film? Would that ban be on video footage or digital cameras? It is time for some folks to stop using county resources for their personal vendetta. We can’t just call the police on people we do not like.
I received the following from Eric yesterday. I had decided not to post it. On second thought, perhaps some clarification is needed since several readers want to overlook bad behavior of their friend and cast blame on Prince William County Police. (Who could forget the trash talk about Chief Charlie Deane from the black velvets)
I really did not anticipate that anyone would be upset at the police officer for asking me what I knew about frequent calls from the area.
What happened was Jeff told me that Patty had reacted strongly to seeing us roll by. He said she had started following us on foot. I told him not to worry about it, but when a police cruiser approached me not five minutes later, I figured it had to be Patty that called.
After hearing the officer state the caller’s complaint, which did sound scary, I wanted the officer to know I was not a threat as quickly as possible. I said what came to my mind: that Patty must have called and that Patty knows who I am.
I interpreted the officer’s subsequent shift in demeanor, from mild concern to friendly professionalism, to mean that I had guessed correctly about the name of the caller. But another interpretation might be that he intuitively sensed I was not a threat. I think he probably asked me if the same person had also made other calls because I had seemed so certain about the identity of the latest call. I don’t know. But I can assure you that he meant no disrespect to Patty, Greg, or Help Save Manassas by asking.
The second officer did not characterize the call as a prank, just to be clear. That word choice was mine entirely, perhaps reflecting a recent experience where Patty was among a group of people who tried to disrupt me when I was filming. All of this is my interpretation, written in a hurry, and should not reflect poorly on anyone in the Prince William County Police Department. They were just doing their job.