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  1. #1
    Shawn Dougherty's Avatar
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    About our Rights: Photographing transit systems in the US

    MTA video.

    Here is the article.
    Last edited by David A. Goldfarb; 06-04-2011 at 04:27 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: The thread title has been updated to reflect the subject of various threads on this topic that have been combined here.

  2. #2
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    That sounds more like Nazi Germany. I always thought the Baltimore cops were too uninspired and donut-stultified to be bothered. Guess I was wrong.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    That sounds more like Nazi Germany. I always thought the Baltimore cops were too uninspired and donut-stultified to be bothered. Guess I was wrong.
    These were transit cops, not regular ones. They must really love their choo-choos. I saw the clip on the local news this morning; the higher-ups are embarrassed, to say the least. The "officer" spewing nonsense about the Patriot Act should be feeling pretty vulnerable right now, because they'll sacrifice him in a heartbeat to avoid a lawsuit they're guaranteed to lose.

  4. #4
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Actually, I shouldn't be so hard on the Baltimore cops. They're a darned sight more competent than DC cops, some of whose motorcycle squad units look like Shriners on the mini-bikes. When I had some personal effects stolen out of my car, the Baltimore cops found them and returned them, which is far more than I can say about DC - my house was robbed twice and both times, there was this "eh, it's just another burglary" attitude. ITs as if the fact that I have homeowners insurance makes it ok, and that I wasn't really victimized.

  5. #5

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    The cops obviously were digging a hole for themselves. The photographer asked multiple times as to what law he was alleged to have violated and each time got a different vaque answer. Unless they were charging him, he had a right to walk at any time. However, by having multiple cops there and acting as they did, they could be offside and liable for abuse of badge or position, unlawful restraint or false imprisonment. As the MTA has published that photos can be taken, the officers who are MTA employees have opened themselves and the MTA up to civic claims. The issue of the recording is under wire tapping laws and it only takes the permision of one of the participants to permit it and not all the participants. Hence, the photographer is permitted in most jurisdicitions t continue photographing the activity. Also, the officers are public figures and there is more permissive latitude in phtographing a public figure than a private citizen which is what they were citing to.

    I do not know about MD but many States have a statute requiring showing of identification upon request by an officer with no prior requirement of probable cause. Failure to do so is usally a criminal offence. If MD has such a statute, then he could have been charged.

    On the other side of the coin, they acted very civilly and with restraint. In more communities than one would imagine the photographer would have been charged with something and then been charge with resisting arrest to justify the bruises or worse.

    While I do not support the slide toards a police state that has occurred since 9/11 and think it is time to start reversing the trend, I think the photographer should have been a bit more cooperative and provided the identification. The shutting off of the camera, I agree he need not do as the officers voluntarily submitted themselves to being photographed by approaching him. He did not approach them.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianL View Post
    The issue of the recording is under wire tapping laws and it only takes the permision of one of the participants to permit it and not all the participants. Hence, the photographer is permitted in most jurisdicitions t continue photographing the activity.
    Brian, wiretapping laws vary widely. Until last year, recording the officers in MD would have been considered a crime, since they did not explicitly consent. However, a judge overturned that law, ruling that police and public officials do not have the expectation of privacy when carrying out their duties in public (but that's probably something else these officers would get wrong).

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianL View Post
    I do not know about MD but many States have a statute requiring showing of identification upon request by an officer with no prior requirement of probable cause. Failure to do so is usally a criminal offence. If MD has such a statute, then he could have been charged.
    The MTA director has already admitted that he was NOT required to show ID.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianL View Post
    On the other side of the coin, they acted very civilly and with restraint. In more communities than one would imagine the photographer would have been charged with something and then been charge with resisting arrest to justify the bruises or worse.
    Really? As a MD resident, I found their behavior to be disgraceful and embarrassing. If they had used force, I would have been in favor of having them imprisoned for assault. As it is, if I were one of them, I'd be worried about keeping my job.

  7. #7

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    I thought I heard one of the cops tell the guy to "decease and desist"...seems a bit harsh.

    Bob
    Best regards,

    Bob
    CEO-CFO-EIEIO, Ret.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    That sounds more like Nazi Germany.
    That's a little harsh, Scott. At least they were polite. Wrong, but polite. And the photographer was acting like an idiot. When asked "Are you refusing to show me your ID?" he should have either said "Yes" or shown the ID. IMHO he was provoking these cops.

    In Nazi Germany the brown shirts would've simply gone upside his head with nightsticks, not greeted him with "How are you, Sir? How ya doin' today?"

    Cops are people, too. I've never had any trouble with them when attempting to photograph as long as I treated them as such. Most of the time they're very interested in my equipment. At the National Cathedral one officer even advised me to be careful about how I used the photo I was taking of 'Ex Nihilo', since the Cathedral had successfully sued the makers of the film Devil's Advocate for their (mis)use of it without permission.
    Last edited by c6h6o3; 06-03-2011 at 10:34 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Jim

  9. #9
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    What do you expect.

    Continue to pay rank & file the pittance they get now and you get what you pay for.

  10. #10

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    Moose, in most jurisdictions the public figure exception exists. As with all laws, the detail is in the law and would need to be researched. A public employee is within the realm of public figure when performing his duty or else no footage of the Rodney King video would have been allowed or others. There is an underlying movement to except police and the like from this exception since 9/11 but hopefully it will go nowhere as in any society there needs to be a balance between the law and the publics' rights.

    I was not condoning their actions only saying that in many cities they'd have rough housed the guy. The officers, or at least the first one needs to get some education as to what the law and regulations are. On the plus side for him was his restraint especially as the photogrpaher was egging him.

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