I got thrown out of the Capital Hilton this evening. Probably won’t make my mother proud, but that is my latest claim to fame. You may find this hard to believe, but I didn’t do anything wrong.
Here’s what happened.
Knowing that the US Mayor’s Conference is being held this week at The Capital Hilton at the corner of 16 and K streets here in Washington DC I got online and registered for a media pass so I could get some shots from the inside of the venue. And yes, I was hoping to get some shots on the outside also. Folks from OccupyDC have been protesting in front of The Hilton all week long. Today there was a little trouble in front of the hotel, so when I got there Washington cops had formed a line around the building not letting anyone other than staff – and mayors – in and out.
I went up to the closest cop and gave him my business card with my name and told him I needed to get my media pass which was inside. He called for the media co-coordinator – a guy named Joseph. Joseph met me at the curb took my ID and said he’d be back out in a second. He was going in to verify my “story”. About five minutes later, Joseph came back outside and escorted me inside and upstairs to the media room where my Mayor’s Conference media pass was waiting on me.
Keep that in mind – THE MAYOR’S CONFERENCE MEDIA PASS WAS WAITING ON ME.
I set my gear bag down, dialed in the camera and clipped the badge onto my vest. I went back down stairs, outside, through the police line and was getting some shots of the protesters out front as I took some shots and smoked a cigarette. Knowing some of the protesters, I spoke to them a minute or so and then started to head back inside to go up to the media room.
Joseph met me at the entrance of the hotel, took my media pass and told me, “Since you’re with them [pointing to the protesters] we’re taking your pass. Give it to me.” I was so stunned and shocked that I wasn’t able to come up with one of my patented retorts and cute comments. Just stood there in disbelief as he revoked the media pass he personally had handed me ten minutes before.
I told him my gear bag was still upstairs and described it to him. He went inside, got the gear bag and brought it to me. Figuring that it wasn’t a fight worth fighting, I strolled away puzzled by what had just happened.
I’m still trying to figure it out.
Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist and adventure photographer. His work has appeared in many national, regional and local publications including CNN, USAToday, Upsurge, Earthwalkers and Associated Content and he is a regular contributor to Huffington Post as well as OpEdNews. Nelson travels the country seeking out the people, places and things that make America unique and great. Nelson currently is in Washington D.C. pointing his camera at OccupyDC and freelancing for The Washington Times the second largest paper in the nation’s capital.
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