Armed man with camera protests on Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park police are watching the 2800 block of Sand Hill Road for the occasional presence of a man in tan military battle fatigues carrying a camera. Slung over his shoulder is what he says is an unloaded M-14 semi-automatic rifle.
The man, who says he is Los Angeles resident Michael Zeleny, took up his position Feb. 9 on a sidewalk near the entrance to an office complex near the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel at Interstate 280 in Menlo Park. He photographs vehicles entering the complex.
He does this to draw attention to a cold case of rape alleged to have occurred 24 years ago to a former associate, he said. A former business partner of the alleged perpetrator works at an office there, he said.
The protest, which includes signs, is taking place on public land, Menlo Park Police Department spokeswoman Nicole Acker said. "He's fulfilling all our requirements, so there nothing we can do," she said.
"I am here to exercise my First Amendment rights and I am very glad that somebody is listening," the protester said.
"This public protest is in no way associated with the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel," said hotel Managing Director Michael Casey. "That entrance is not the entrance to the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel. That entrance is the entrance to 12 different addresses; Rosewood is just one of them."
Police questioned the protester, but made no arrest. "They're very cooperative and very professional," the protester said of the police.
In an interview, the protester said he is carrying two clips of ammunition. It's legal to carry a visible firearm as long as it is unloaded, Ms. Acker, the police spokesperson, said. He said he has fired the rifle at a firing range.
His protest began in 2005, he said, adding that he plans to be at the Sand Hill Road location intermittently.