Photograph the Police, get arrested

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by arigram, Jul 31, 2006.

  1. arigram

    arigram Member

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  2. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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    'tis a police state, after all
     
  3. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Give me a break.
     
  4. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    He used a cell phone camera. That should be illegal.
     
  5. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    I was a metro police officer for years. Had I been so stupid as to arrest someone for that I would quite likely have been given a couple of days off without pay at the very least. That said, it's almost certain that we aren't getting the whole story.

    Bruce
     
  6. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    I suspect the moron was out there taking pics & possibly endangering the lives of police officers, and probably his sorry-a** self.
     
  7. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Hmmm....sounds like another EU "leftie-over" telling US how oppressed we all here really is.

    I'm no pollyanna and have about as much use for the current Administration as I do for the gout - but if it's so bad here - why are so many wanting to get in?
     
  8. Artur Zeidler

    Artur Zeidler Inactive

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    This kind of thing is pretty common these days. Gung ho, law unto themselves police harassing and/or arresting photographers on trumped up non-existent laws (you have to love a police department that doesn't actually have a supervisor on duty).

    What with this and police chiefs found guilty of torturing suspects, the Chicago Police found to have systematically tortured black suspects over a number of years and so on, it is no surprise that this other stuff happens.

    See http://www.photopermit.org

    http://www.photopermit.org/forum/

    (run by an apuger I believe) for endless examples

    Unfortunately, in the last few years studies shown that training and professional standards across numerous police departments in the US, especially (though not only) the smaller departments, have declined. I say unfortunately, because this is my particular area of expertise having been involved in this since 1977.
     
  9. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If Cruz version is correct, it shows a perfect example of street level law enforcement run amok, making up the law as they go. I personally have seen this behavior out of security idiots (trying to throw me off public sidewalks, etc.) but not from real law enforcement, nor would I expect to, unless there was an actual public safety concern. Obstruction? Gimme a break. Somebody needs to start cracking down on this crap.
     
  10. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Yes, my social thinking goes more to the left than to the right, I am from Europe, you have a problem with that?
    I am telling you nothing. There are facts and if you are blind to them by fanatical nationalism it is your problem.
    Things are not better in Europe or elsewhere in the world for that matter.

    As a photographer you should worry that photography is getting criminalised and its not the first example of if, there has been many threads on APUG about this matter. The NY metro for example or LFers getting harassed as being suspicious of terrorist activities.

    And anyway, I didn't write the article, I just found it on a popular US technology site.
    Wake up.
     
  11. SteveH

    SteveH Member

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    Im not quite sure what studies you are looking at....but...
    In this day and age of the 'sue everyone' mentality, departments cannot afford to downgrade training. Being 'in the biz', and a graduate of two police academies, I assure you that my training was well over 10-15 TIMES the training that an officer received in 1980.
    As far as the smaller departments go, that is also a false statement. Even if a department has one officer, his/her training must still comply with the state's guidelines. Most departments defer their officers to a state-run academy, as the cost of running one would quadruple their budgets. Usually, only large metro areas hold their own academies.
     
  12. MAGNAchrom

    MAGNAchrom Member

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    Hey its the left vs. the right thing all over again!! Yippeee! Let's be devisive!

    Y'all know its the fault of the blue swallows, I mean the red swallows --ooops!

    Enough already!

    Perhaps in this thread what we are really witnessing with this story and its responses might simply be left-brained vs. right-brained viewpoints?

    Ok, I admit there might be some no-brained viewpoints thrown in here as well. :wink:
     
  13. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    This almost happened to me last weekend, in my own yard. Here's what happened. I live in a small apartment building - four units, so there's little parking. On Sunday, my neighbor's father and brother paid a visit and parked in the only space available - the front yard.

    Just as they got out of their cars, two other cars crashed at the intersection, and the foot of one of the drivers slipped off the brake and hit the gas. His car crashed into my neighbor's father's truck and slammed it into her brother's car. The front wheels of the car continued to spin and dug deep holes in my yard.

    The driver of one of the vehicles began to blame my neighbor - saying the cars should not have been parked where they were, so I went inside, got my Nikon F and a roll of film, and began taking pictures to document what happened.

    The police went into hysterics. One ran up to be and screamed in my face. I had to ask him to repeat himself three times, telling him I couldn't understand him when he yelled like that. I finally understood that he was saying I didn't have any right to be there. I pointed out that it was my yard, I had every right to be there.

    Then he threatened to arrest me for "interfering with my accident scene." I told him I'd sue his ass off. He ordered me to leave, so I went inside and took photographs of the police standing around doing nothing through my window.

    We seem to have a rash of stories about police objecting to photography with real cameras while ignoring the true culprits - digital and cell phone cameras.
    juan
     
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  15. arigram

    arigram Member

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    No, it's not. And I hope it doesn't turn this way.

    Maybe some people are happy with photographing flowers in their basement.
    I like to photograph people on the street, like the vast majority of photographers. I think it concerns us.
     
  16. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    He used a camera phone.... he was NOT a photographer. :rolleyes:
     
  17. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    One of the first things I learned as a newspaper shooter ?
    Get the Picture and Stay Out of the Way.

    "Rights" are one thing, "Human Nature" is another.

    We know why cops are most afraid when they are called to a "Domestic Disturbance".

    There are problems with the Blog that was cited to begin this thread: both stories are twisted versions of incomplete, single account stories. Neither story was picked up by other local news. What really happened ? Who knows.

    Cops aren't perfect, and they don't usually fly off the handle.
    Normal people go to pieces every day. And cops probably have cameras stuck in their face far more often than do normal people, seldom with benign intent.

    Stick a camera in somebody's face - anybody's - in ANY circumstance,
    and you probably deserve what you get.

    Imagine this: your kid has just been vile, and you are in the process of
    correcting his misbehaviour. A complete stranger appears behind you and begins taking pictures.

    What are the questions that come first ? WHO ARE YOU ? WHY ARE YOU TAKING PICTURES ? And so on. Human Nature. It's too easy to make somebody look bad, to make somebody appear to be abusing a child, breaking the law.... anything. You resent the interference, and rightly so.

    A camera will incite anxiety in normal, innocent people as quickly as brandishing a firearm. Especially when the the photographer doesn't know how to conduct himself. More important than knowing films and lenses, you need to know how to belong in an event, and how to make the camera non-threatening. Are you REALLY there just to be a witness ? Really ?

    If there were an accident that put an automobile in my front yard,
    first thing I do I chill out as quickly as I can, and go out and introduce myself to the cop. Walk slowly, and behave like you live there.

    When the pleasantries are out of the way, I tell him I'm going to take a picture of the scene from my porch for the insurance company. Then, I do it, go in, and get out of the way. HINT: use your Point & Shoot, not the Nikon, zoom, motor, strobe.

    Some people see 'action' and want to pretend they're a cop, a journalist,
    or avenging angel. They want to 'make a difference' but don't know what they are doing.

    You want to 'make a difference' ? Be out in the neighborhood every day, not just when there's something exciting. Hate injustice ? Get involved. Want to get rid of Bad Cops ? Become a Good Cop.

    Want to get rid of incompetant, criminal, and corrupt elected officials ?Vote.
    .
     
  18. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    So then, why not post the story about how Greece has been criminally prosecuting a bunch of middle-aged Brit tourists who were taking pictures of commercial airliners?
     
  19. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I know how to conduct myself. I was a news photographer for TV stations for years - I know how to stay out of the way, and how to keep my head on a swivel and be sure I stay out of the way. I was not in sticking a camera in a police officer's face, I was well away from everyone. The police officer had to run about 25-feet to get in my face.

    It was broad daylight - no strobe - I don't have a motor drive.

    The other neighbors were in the same area as me. None of them were spoken to. The objection from the policeman came solely because I was taking photographs. He was obviously very afraid of something - I have no idea what.
    juan
     
  20. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    A fun game to play is to sit at the cafe table,
    and watch the passersby. Find the cameras.

    It's embarrassing to watch inexperienced and earnest
    'street photographers' trying to work. If there is one in the area,
    I usually go inside. Or, if I'm really irritated, I'll see how many pictures I can get of him before he realizes he's being shot.

    But it's much more fun to sit out and watch the world go by.



    d
     
  21. StephenS

    StephenS Member

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    Well, I think in the U.S. people should have the right to take photos in public places - on the sidewalk, etc. Take a photo of a kid at the park you might get accused of being a child molester. Take a photo of a woman walking down the street you may be accused of being a pervert. Take a photo of a bridge and you may be accused of being a terrorist - especially if your skin is a certain shade.

    People have gone nuts with law and order stuff and if you watch Fox news you'd think every other person was going to abduct a child or scud a nuke plant. Every time something happens we have yet another new law hastily passed to make sure anyone doing the same thing in the future is sure to suffer to the max.

    Personally, I'd rather have some crime and some danger than live in a world where people are afraid to express themselves and, god forbid, take photos of cops.
     
  22. arigram

    arigram Member

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    You just want to start a fight because a "foreigner dared to mess with your country". Don't be immature. I won't play your game.
    This story about Greece is old and well documented and discussed.
    Anyway, I am not a nationalist and care not to defend any country, let alone this one. You are new here, you have probably missed all the comments I have made about Greece and probably my recent thread about photographing a demonstration and its photos. I have been harassed by the police in Greece and I am one of the last to defend them.

    All I did is point to a source of discussion about the rights of photographers. I did not even comment. If I wanted to hurl propaganda against the US I could do better than that.

    So discuss like an adult and let personal and rediculous nationalistic attacks on the side.
    Please.
     
  23. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I find it rather dishonest to equate a couple of individual police officer's over-the-line actions with a recent universal erosion of freedom.

    As a news photographer, I was threatened with arrest numerous time over the years for taking pictures or just for being present with cameras. That was as much as 30 years ago. And I remember the "old guys" at the paper telling stories of how cops had threatened them 30 years before that. Some actually did get arrested. We just considered it a normal part of doing the job. Today, it's a media event. Of course, we didn't have 24/7 reporting from thousands of information sources, hungry to inform the public of every event in the course of human existence.

    Sometimes I long for the days of the Huntley-Brinkley and Walter Cronkite 15-minutes of national news reports once a day. I might have the right to know everything but I really don't want to know everything.
     
  24. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    live free or die!
     
  25. anyte

    anyte Member

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    Freedom doesn't mean that no one can question our actions or intent. Freedom doesn't mean that we can't or won't be accused of wrong-doing. Freedom means that there are checks and balances to aid us when these things happen.

    Police don't single out people with cameras. They single out people across the board. It's not like they are out there hunting down everyone with a camera or slapping the cuffs on everyone they see with a camera. I've been spotted with a camera dozens of times and never has a law enforcement agent ever questioned me, let alone yelled at me or slapped cuffs on me.

    That article seems to hint at the police having told the guy to go inside prior to having cuffed him. The quickest way to find yourself in cuffs is to blatantly defy the police and ignore a request to go inside. I wonder if the guy went inside to retrieve the camera phone after having been asked to go inside. I can understand how that might prompt the police to place the person in custody.

    Lee Shively makes some good points as does df cardwell in mentioning how the typical person may react when a stranger is caught photographing them in an awkward moment.
     
  26. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Although, like the other journalists have pointed out, its expected from the police to harass, hurt or arrest you in that line of business, I disagree that it should be tolerated or been accepted in a democratic society.
    If you are not obstractring the police work or endangering anyone, why should one be arrested for taking photographs in public even if they are police officers. I thought they exist to assist and protect lawfull citizens not to harm them if they are not over stepping the lines.
    If I am a journalist (or anyone for that matter) should I refrain from taking a photograph by the threat of being arrested or harmed if that does not violate any laws?
    If I am asked kindly it's up to me to decide to be curteous and respect the privacy of an individual and not to photograph them, like I often do with all people.
    But it is not illegal to take a photograph in public and it should not lead to an arrest.

    I carry a journalist ID that clearly states that police officers are to assist me to fullfill my duty. If I let the police do their job and they let me do my job, what's the matter?
    Even so for a civilian that is not "protected" by such a card.

    Does the goverment need to start issuing photography permits? If one can carry a gun, why not a camera?