"Please stop detaining photographers"

AngeloAngelo Turning frowns upsidedownSuper Moderators Posts: 8,937 moderator
edited December 9, 2012 in The Big Picture
The National Photographer's Rights Organization NPRO, of which I am a member, has this day filed suit, through the ACLU, against the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department for harassment.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/10/aclu-sues-.html

http://documents.latimes.com/aclu-photographers-lawsuit/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/laprotest/


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Comments

  • SamSam San Jose CA Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited October 28, 2011
    My opinion of the ACLU was below zero, now it's been substantially escalated to abour 2 on a scale of 1 to 100.

    It is sad that people like this have guns and badges. You would have to be brain dead to think a terrorist would show up with DLSR or SLR with a big lens and stand in the open taking photos.

    If I wanted photos of the subway or probably any other site I will bet you a ton of almost worthless American $$ I can get it and get the photos in front of people like this officer.

    Sam
  • AngeloAngelo Turning frowns upsidedown Super Moderators Posts: 8,937 moderator
    edited October 28, 2011
    while I can't understand why you'd dislike the ACLU, an organization devoted to defending the constitution and our bill of rights, I agree with the rest of your sentiments

    .
  • Art ScottArt Scott Have PASSPORT will TRAVEL WICHITA, KS USARegistered Users Posts: 8,959 Major grins
    edited October 28, 2011
    Photography is Not a Crime: ACLU Suing L.A. Sheriff's Department
    Have not seen a post of this so I thought I would share:

    Photography is Not a Crime: ACLU Suing L.A. Sheriff's Department For Detaining Photogs Simply Because They Took Pictures - Los Angeles News ..... LINK below.

    http://tinyurl.com/43k9ram
    "Genuine Fractals was, is and will always be the best solution for enlarging digital photos." ....Vincent Versace ... ... COPYRIGHT YOUR WORK ONLINE ... ... My Website

  • newbnewb Snap Happy Registered Users Posts: 186 Major grins
    edited October 28, 2011
    Wow, surprised they went so far based on "suspicious" behavior.

    Guess I think a little harder about gettin shots of an interesting lookin city hall local to me. Just in case.
    D7000/D5000 | Nikkor Glass | SB600's | RF602's | CS5/LR3
  • Molotov EverythingMolotov Everything turn dials, click buttons Registered Users Posts: 211 Major grins
    edited October 29, 2011
    I just saw on the news the other day footage of a woman standing on her own front lawn filming the cops arresting some guy. They kept harassing her about what she was doing, she said she was just filming them, which is totally within her right to do so. The cops arrested her anyway and hauled her off to jail. They did eventually let her go without being charged for anything but still, she had to waste her day in jail and deal with the stress that comes with getting cuffed, threatened and hauled away. It's disappointing that a cop can just decide "you're doing something illegal" and even if you aren't they get to arrest you anyways. I guess the answer is better training of the cops on this, make sure they all know that this is legal and they shouldn't be arresting people for it.

    Also once in college my roommate got arrested for standing around in a train station writing stuff on a notepad. Again, for 'suspicious activity.' He got cuffed, thrown in a cell, the cops threatened to call INS and have him deported (I'm not sure where to, the dude was born and raised in New Jersey). But it seems like the more you argue with a cop the more they just look for reasons to mess with you. So if you're being harassed by a cop, what to do? Just be compliant even though you're not doing anything wrong, or call them out on it and risk just bringing more heat down on yourself? (I'm thinking specifically of those women in the OWS protests that were arguing with a cop over something and he pepper sprayed them)
  • bfjrbfjr Which Way Did They Go Registered Users Posts: 10,980 Major grins
    edited October 30, 2011
    I had put more of less the same up in Street but they headscratch.gif moved it.
    Really don't know why because I felt it applied directly to us Street Shooters.

    However I did want to say that 2 wks ago I took the Metro Train to Downtown and shot at Amtrak , Occupy, China Town, Little Toyko etc..

    Not only was I not questioned but I seemed to be well received by all. I even took shots of two LA County Sherriffs and there Bomb/Dope sniffing dogs inside Amtrak without so much as a question of why.

    It's all in your demeanor / presentation, I believe.

    This video clearly show an over the top Cop full of misinformation, and on the other hand the Photographer seemed to want to get that sort of reaction.

    I do shot a small Film RF camera that may have an impact to the positive as well.

    Just my 2.

    Oh yeah when we gonna go shoot together ?? :D
  • AngeloAngelo Turning frowns upsidedown Super Moderators Posts: 8,937 moderator
    edited October 30, 2011
    Ben - we typically merge threads dealing with the same subject and that action will default to the earliest posted which is why Art's and your threads landed here.

    I thought we were going shooting several weeks ago with David and Cuban? what happened?

    .
  • bfjrbfjr Which Way Did They Go Registered Users Posts: 10,980 Major grins
    edited October 31, 2011
    Angelo wrote: »
    Ben - we typically merge threads dealing with the same subject and that action will default to the earliest posted which is why Art's and your threads landed here.

    I thought we were going shooting several weeks ago with David and Cuban? what happened?

    .

    Well I guess David was called away and then heard nothing, but still open and interested in trying it again.

    Maybe we can go DT and raise some eyebrows rolleyes1.gif
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,581 moderator
    edited October 31, 2011
    While I agree that photography is not a crime in the given circumstance and I detest being lied to by people in a position of power and trust, I think the photographer could just as easily have said "My hobby is photography and I'm taking pictures of ...". Instead he chose to say he was an advocate of photographer's rights and continued to evade the cop's questions--furthermore, he's video taping the whole thing for what purpose? To sue the sheriff's office. Had it been the other way round, we'd call that entrapment.

    Me personally, I would have answered the guy's questions and moved on. If the photographer wanted to make an issue out of it, then fine. Do it after the encounter and let the video show what an ass the deputy was and how the photographer did his best to cooperate--I think it makes a stronger case. I mean after all, the place to argue right and wrong is in a courtroom and not on the side of the street.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • DemianDemian Major grins Registered Users Posts: 211 Major grins
    edited October 31, 2011
    I disagree entirely, ian408. If our civil rights aren't respected in the worst of cases, then we don't really have them. From a pragmatic standpoint, a lot of people could suck up to cops more and get away easier, but if those people are in the right to begin with, then they shouldn't need to.

    And AFAIK, if he talked the deputy away, there would be no courtroom. He wouldn't have standing to sue and couldn't claim damages. And the next guy the deputy harassed might not have had the resources or wherewithal to fight it.
  • SamSam San Jose CA Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited October 31, 2011
    I am going to side with ion408 and add to it. While the cop is definitely an ignorant a$$, and is overstepping his authority the photographer could have handled the issue better.

    Your right, this photographer has no obligation to cooperate with an unlawful detention or questioning, but it would have been much better had the photographer, without cow towing or being submissive, tried to explain that he was a photographer, photographers take photos, and the photos could be used on his website, in a book, magazine or just deleted. That sometimes it's hard to see what the image will look like from an artistic viewpoint until later when viewing on the computer. He could have, doesn't have to, volunteered to identify himself.

    Now if the officer decides to take the hardline bullying stance, then at that point you can stop voluntary cooperating, and ask if you are free to go. If yes walk away, do not continue any dialog. If the answer is no ask why you are being detained. No matter how hard it may be, remain polite, do not use obscenities. It doesn't matter if you can kick his butt. You will lose when his buddies show up.

    The time to address this is after the fact not at the moment.

    Bad cops are our enemy! Good cops are our friend. Try to figure out which one your dealing with before you get yourself in too deep.

    I personally believe the best way to have handled this would be to make an appointment with the chief of police and or the mayor. Lay out your complaint with the video and see if they are inclined to agree and to advise their officers with regard to photographers rights. If they want to give you the brush off, by all means if you have the ability take them to court.

    Sam
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,581 moderator
    edited October 31, 2011
    The point I'm trying to make is that you cannot win the side-of-the-road argument and even if you did, do you really think it will make a difference long term? You're arguing with the wrong person.

    BTW, no one said anything about sucking up. If you are wronged, you have rights. You have the right to file a complaint against the officer. If you feel it's a civil rights violation, you have the right to file a claim and have it investigated. If you feel it's necessary to file a lawsuit, that's your right too.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • dbvetodbveto Major grins Registered Users Posts: 660 Major grins
    edited October 31, 2011
    I watched the video and even though I think the cop was wrong the photographer was being a little uncooperative his actions may have escalated the issue with his actions.
    . If an officer comes up and asks me questions I will answer Why would Al-Qaeda buy photo's when they can just do a google search

    https://www.google.com/search?q=LA+Metro+turnstiles&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1024&bih=593&sei=%20uQqvTsfAOIPkiAL5vZkd

    And on the subject of combining Threads a lot of times it just make is confusing when you follow a conversation and it wildly jumps because of the merged conversations.
    Dennis
    http://www.realphotoman.com/
    Work in progress
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  • AngeloAngelo Turning frowns upsidedown Super Moderators Posts: 8,937 moderator
    edited October 31, 2011
    a little background for those of you assessing the matter.

    if I were to view the video and only the video I would agree that Shawn comes off as uncooperative and even a bit belligerent. despite my agreement with Demien, and my belief that there was no reason in the first place to even be questioned as he was doing nothing suspicious or illegal, it is always better to deal with such a matter with kindness and respect.

    however, understand that there has been an ongoing and growing problem with the LAPD and the LASD and that the case before us was born from 2 incidents involving legitimate press photographers who were unlawfully detained, questioned, held and threatened by deputies. neither of the two had the opportunity to tape their encounters to prove they were mistreated.

    Shawn heads the National Photographer's Rights Organization and devotes hmself to righting wrongs for all photographers. It was through a posting of this video on the group site that brought the original plaintiffs to him and ultimately the ACLU asking if the video and incident could be used to define the case.

    .
  • SamSam San Jose CA Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited October 31, 2011
    Thanks for the background information.

    Sam
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,581 moderator
    edited October 31, 2011
    I can understand the frustration but the cop on the street is not going to change. He was told something by his superiors and that's what he does.

    I guess we'll just have to disagree on how this gets resolved.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • AngeloAngelo Turning frowns upsidedown Super Moderators Posts: 8,937 moderator
    edited October 31, 2011
    but Ian, this isn't necessarily a systemic problem. it's about the rogue cops who decide they want to play lord and master over everyone, anyone, at any time and anywhere. in contrast I've had run ins with moronic security guards telling me I can't photograph a building and when I get a cop involved they tell the guard to bugger-off. so there's good and bad.
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,581 moderator
    edited October 31, 2011
    Rogue or not, you cannot win that argument in the street and the street isn't the place to fight about it.

    If you think you've been wronged, the place to fight is the complaint department. There's a process. You could go straight to court if you didn't want to pursue the other option. The street isn't the place.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • AngeloAngelo Turning frowns upsidedown Super Moderators Posts: 8,937 moderator
    edited November 1, 2011
    oh I agree and that was part of my meaning in post #15
  • AngeloAngelo Turning frowns upsidedown Super Moderators Posts: 8,937 moderator
    edited November 28, 2012
  • EaracheEarache Unsharp and Oversaturated SO CALRegistered Users Posts: 3,533 Major grins
    edited November 28, 2012
    Chalk one up for Liberty!
    Even with it's warts, America is doing OK!
    Eric ~ Smugmug
  • bfjrbfjr Which Way Did They Go Registered Users Posts: 10,980 Major grins
    edited December 9, 2012
    You did what happened to me this year, Angelo?

    I was detained and questioned
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