Utah LF Photog Arrested, Harrassed, Loses Job

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by bjorke, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    I don't like to spread stories from my own sites, but this one has got me truly steamed:

    http://www.photopermit.org/?p=105
    discussed:
    http://www.photopermit.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=234
    this past week the woman photographer was suddenly fired from her job after the FBI started investigating her from across the country (links in the discussion).

    The police screwed up under the banner of "national security" and now that one person has called them on it they seem bound and determined to harass her into oblivion.
     
  2. laz

    laz Member

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    Commenting only on the orginal incident:

    In this day and age it is so hard to judge incidents such as the one of a person being asked for identification while phographing within a city. Every day I travel into NYC and somewhere in my mind is always the question of what next?

    Maybe it's just working in a target that has made me greatly relax my usually far to the left opinions on personal liberties. I still write my yearly check to the ACLU, but when a policeman steps into my subway car I am happy he or she is there and would at their request be glad to identify myself or submit to a search of the backpack I carry.

    Sometimes one must sacrifice person freedom for the greater good.

    -Bob
     
  3. nexus

    nexus Member

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    *cough* no way. Absolutely not. There is less and less "personal freedom" going around this way. Its not the "terrorists" I worry about its our own governments and those who put them in power that I worry about.

    I can't see how on earth politicians and Americans who support the war can bleat on about "freedoms" and "liberties" and "democracy" but then at the same breath allow such BS like what happened to that photographer be ok because its for the "greater good" when the "greater good" isn't even a real threat.

    There should be no powers to allow cops to just arrest or ask people who are NOT doing anything wrong for their ID and name. There should also be no laws under the guise of "security" whereby people with cameras or who are minding their own business are expected to just do whatever the constabulary tell them to do, say and show.

    How can you say that its for the greater good with no sense of irony? If its supposedly a free coiuntry that people are jealous over and want to get rid of, then how can you support something like this? Its turning the supposed free countries of the west into dictatorships like in the former soviet union or heaven forbid China where the government just barrels down dissidents with heavy artilery, because thats the next step.

    And until people start waking up to this, there are going to be a lot more arrests and incidents of this happening. Next thing you know, cameras will be banned for security reasons. What next?
     
  4. Daniel Grenier

    Daniel Grenier Member

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    What I find truly puzzling is how the link between terrorism and LF gear can possibly be made by anyone - especially the Police. What is it exactly we`re doing in their eyes and mind when we have 50 lbs-worth of LF gear spread out taking pictures? I wonder if site-painters have the same problem when they bring out their easels and paint a street scene?
     
  5. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    How is direct contravention of the Constitutional protection against unlawful search and seizure, with absolutely no probable cause, contributing to the greater good?

    An enhanced (and I use the word very lightly) police presence may become necessary during times of heightened security, but an abusive police presence which usurps unlawful dictatorial power (and that what we have in this case) always uses the "personal sacrifice of freedom for the greater good" argument to rationalize the proliferation of fascism. This cop is a bully, pure and simple, acting against the law and we're institutionalizing this behavior in the name of "national security" or "fighting terrorism" or "the struggle against mopery with intent to creep" or whatever the euphemism du jour might happen to be.

    I hope she takes them to the cleaners good and proper.
     
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    If in fact the information contained in the article is correct and truthful, I would suspect she indeed has a good case, there has been a number of court rulings on stiutations of this nature, infact the NPPA has published another white paper with cases cited on the issue of First Amendment rights.

    http://www.nppa.org/news_and_events/news/2005/08/rights.pdf

    Dave
     
  7. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    There has never been much doubt about how a court would perceive these situations. The First Amendment is a Big Hammer compared to the concerns of a city policeman's ego (or even claimed national security interests, as evidenced in the Pentagon Papers case).

    What I see here is police abuse of their authority, and then further abuse to cover up their tracks and claim "see, the system is working, we're investigating terrorists!" despite the fact that they don't have any real terrorists to investigate, and they know it. They have the resources to do it, while Tanya Ortega de Chamberlin is just one lone individual (who has now been deprived of her job as well) -- to fight this may cost many months and many thousands of dollars, while the worst punishment the cops will get is an admonition and the taxpayers will foot the bill for any fines.

    recall the scene with Sir Bedevere in "Monthy Python," where the villagers dress up a girl as a witch just so they can have someone to burn, then rationalize the process? Well, the cops sure do look like those illiterate villagers from here.
     
  8. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    It would be interesting to know if she is a member of one of the national photography organizations, alot of them have legal defence funds to litigate cases just like this.

    Dave
     
  9. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sounds good, but is not what I believe this country is about.

    Isn't this where we quote that old man who said something about anyone who sacrifices liberty for security deserves neither?
     
  10. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    No, because that quote is not apropos. Exactly how do these actions enhance security?
     
  11. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm sorry I wasn't clear. They don't enhance security, except maybe in some people's minds.

    If they did it would still be too high a price to pay.
     
  12. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    That's right, assuming the article is correct and truthful. It only presents one side of the story. Rushing to judgement that this is a huge violation of the 4th Ammendment is premature. Did she do something to provoke the officer or provoke the incident?

    I'm not sure why photographers and journalists are always presumed to be so saintly.
     
  13. haris

    haris Guest

    Because when government and police assume that someone making wrong doings we get results like in London when police killed innocent Brasillian man assuming he is terrorist...
     
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  15. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    The officer himself said that she did not -- that he did not suspect her of commiting any crime. Which was the point of the original article, and why the police dropped charges after arresting her for... nothing.
     
  16. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Agreed, as a nation we are in the grip of paranoia. There are some places in the country that warrant extra security, and other areas that don't; it shouldn't be at the expense of the destruction of our personal liberty.
     
  17. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Robert,
    You'll be voting Democrat before I'm done.
     
  18. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I don't understand why those proponants of the wasteful boondagle that we call the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act continually feel that it is the citizens who are in error.
     
  19. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    Well in Ireland anyway people are presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

    This harrassment of photography is just too stupid for words, I mean any terrorist will have Google Earth or something not a LF camera. I have to say I'd be very nervous as a tourist over there and so have no plans to return, much as I did like it.
     
  20. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I haven't photographed in the US in over 6yrs but the idea of being suspected of something when photographing is bizarre. In NZ everyone stops and chats to me and looks at the Dorff in awe, maybe NZ's time will come too and instead of people thinking "isn't that neat" they'll think "what is that guy up to?".. :sad:
     
  21. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    its the same in Ireland, Sean.
    A police patrol car reversed back to where I had my tripod/camera once and the cop asked me for advice on what camera to buy for his wife.
     
  22. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    It is funny, even before 9/11 the only place I was ever able to photograph without being hasseled was either Yellowstone or when I lived in Hawaii, I remember when I first moved to Montana about '97 and I set my 4x5 up outside our Library, which is also the builiding that the oldest School house in the area and wanted to take some shots, nice climbing plants on the build with increadable ambiance, and I was questioned by the local cops, took one shot and moved on, then went to the home of the founder of the city to take shots, and same thing...this was before homeland security or any other thing they like to say they are protecting now a days, it was really bizzare and I almost got thrown in Jail, cause I guess after the second time of being hassled, I got a bit smug with the cops and asked them if they thought I was James Bond and had a miniture nuke in the camera! LOL

    So, this is not something new since 9/11, it has been happening for a while now..

    Dave
     
  23. MenacingTourist

    MenacingTourist Member

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    Proud to be a Utahn :sad:

    I just read about this in the Salt Lake City Weekly (http://www.slweekly.com/editorial/2005/cityweek_2_2005-09-01.cfm) and I am sad to say I'm not suprised. I really hope her suit sends a strong message to Utah law inforcement. Reminds me of the "Skateboarding is not a crime" stickers only now I want to change it to Photography.

    My favorite part of the article is, "Speaking prior to the firing, Brent Robbins, FBI spokesman, said the incident shows the local terrorism task force working." That guy is a Tool.

    Grumpy in Utah,

    Alan.
     
  24. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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  25. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    I'll buy one. Make that four.

    Bruce


     
  26. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I think you're only seeing the side of the story you want to see.

    There may be a bozo cop involved; no shortage of them anywhere. The charges were tossed; didn't even make it to the Desk Sergeant. So what? Move on. If she wants to sue them, then fine, that's also her right. Go for it, but don't expect public reimbursement of her legal fees unless the court determines they are warranted.

    Why was she fired from her job? More conspiratorial persecution? Doesn't sound like it. Quoting from the article: "CoStar spokesman Mark Klionsky would not say why Ortega de Chamberlin was fired. He said it was unusual for the company’s “clearly marked” vans to arouse suspicion."

    If someone worked for me and got hassled for no reason, I would back that person to the hilt, even back her legal fees. But when someone gets fired, that tells me her boss was fed up with her for one reason or another.

    "She worries about winding up on a government list as well as national security encroaching on artistic freedom. “If police officers or anybody in authority don’t know what people’s rights are to take photos, to be artists or reporters, the individuals end up suffering,” she said."

    Ohh, Pul-lease.

    Is this lady the only photographer in Salt Lake? I doubt it. Is she the only photographer taking commercial real estate photos? I doubt it. Is she the only photographer taking pictures on a public sidewalk? I doubt it. Is he the only one that's been hassled in the name of homeland security? Don't know. Maybe we should see if this is a trend or not. From what you've presented here, looks like her's is an isolated case.

    Given the facts that she got fired, and had several previous encounters with Law Enforcement, and seems to be "marked" by them, could it be that she has been needling them in some fashion, trying to provoke an incident? And could that string of semi-provoked events have been the cause for her firing?

    That scene in Monty Python always reminded me of a bunch of neo-Socialists turning on someone who had broken away from the party group-think.