It's not illegal, but you're being detained...

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More photographer harassment, here in Baltimore:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iMr76atjUA&feature=youtu.be

There's also a 2nd video clip. This shows lack of knowledge of, or disregard for, statutes by these MTA officers. They then go into a harangue about wiretapping laws, due to audio capability of the camcorder!

Thanks for replies to my earlier similar post.


Best,

Alan
 
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Yea, so my opinion if the guy just showed his ID they would have left him alone. I have no problem with police officers using their 'instinct' to approach individuals photographing transit lines as long as they do it respectfully as these officers did. Sure they did not sound like they were Harvard educated but do you expect them to be?

Its common sense to not be a wise ***** and give these guys a hard time and instigate things like this guy did. Even though he was well within in his right to photograph the trains he must also understand the threat of terrorism is the first thing these officers think of.

I have seen videos where officers didn't ask any questions and were aggressive in arresting photographers which I am against but in this case - just comply with the officers.

I really dislike when people need to overly display their "rights". I am sure people will debate me and say he had every right to photograph because of XYZ and I 100% agree. But when the officers approached him his brain should have said "Ok is it worth getting into it with these guys? Its a lose lose scenario if I **** them off"
 
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It is my understanding that you are required to give your ID to an officer under a terry stop law. Otherwise, I would say the cops are completely in the wrong.
 
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It is my understanding that you are required to give your ID to an officer under a terry stop law. Otherwise, I would say the cops are completely in the wrong.
Yes I also understand they can ask for your ID - if you do not have it on you its not a crime but they can ask for your information (Name, Address social security etc...)

Look at it this way - the cops do not know if this guy has warrants out for whatever crime - chances are he doesn't but you never know.

Just don't give any police officer the reason to further extend the questioning. If he arrests you on the spot then you have a very nice lawsuit on your hands after the fact.
 
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I'm a transit cop in Houston. We have a light rail system.
We require written permission from the transit authority to photograph while on our property.
You can photograph from off the property but will probably be approached and interviewed briefly. If we get no "flags" that your photographing for nefarious purposes we leave you alone.

Police officers like any other group have individuals who are not the sharpest and don't understand the line between information gathering and violation of rights. If your photographing our facilities I can make contact with you and ask questions. Without probable cause I can not just detain you. It is easy to obtain probable cause. City ordinance provides that if you are on our rail platform you are in a paid fare zone so I can verify you paid your fare. If you can not prove that you paid your fare I can detain you for theft of service. If you are photographing from the sidewalk your on public property and about I can do is make contact and identify myself and just ask a few questions that you have no obligation to answer. Of course if you are uncooperative I'm going to find a way to escalate the encounter. It is pretty much a no win situation. Best thing to do is to just cooperate and explain your motives. If someone is a tourist or has an address from a moderate distance away from downtown. I just document the encounter and do an information report. and move on.

I'm not saying it is right, correct or not. It is what it is. I have been told not photograph places when on vacation even though I know there was nothing wrong with doing so.
 
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I agree with madecov - there is no advantage in being aggressive. I think the best attitude is to make it clear you are not a threat - by cooperating. If you don't act as if you have something to hide, it will be much easier.
 
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I'm a transit cop in Houston. We have a light rail system.
We require written permission from the transit authority to photograph while on our property.
You can photograph from off the property but will probably be approached and interviewed briefly. If we get no "flags" that your photographing for nefarious purposes we leave you alone.
Well put, a few years back I was shooting Ospreys fishing in the bay at Sandy Hook NJ, I didn't realize it at the time but across the bay is Earl Naval Weapons base, long story short a passing park ranger lit up his lights got out of his car and questioned what I was doing and ask for ID, I told him what I was doing and gave him my ID. He ran my ID and after 5 minutes he said he was sorry and asked that I not shoot that side of the bay and drove off.

I could of made a fuss to prove my point that I wasn't doing anything wrong but it just wasn't worth it. I was really upset because all I was doing was shooting birds but in his eyes driving by me I was shooting the navy base.
 
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I am proud of the photog. I would have done the same thing. The officers were out of line, and when called on it, they escalated the situation by using made up laws and rules. I am 100% supportive of law enforcement, but they were not enforcing any law(s). And in my opinion they broke a few. I am saddened by peoples apathy when others are chipping away at our rights and freedoms in the name of "terrorism".
 
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is the same over here, in some way i can understand it but sometimes they go to far.
 
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My best friend (now deceased) and my uncle were both cops. They were good guys and good cops, so my feelings usually side with cops. They knew how to do their jobs PROPERLY. The cops in the video were WRONG and clearly demonstrate that they are ignorant of how to do their jobs properly.

According to the Supreme Court decision which is now often referred to concerning a "Terry Stop", a person is required to verbally provide their identify to police officers, but that court case does NOT require that identification paperwork be provided. (Requiring paperwork id was a big part of the Arizona illegal aliens law that was so controversial.) The photog did answer the police questions and did provide his id as required by the Supreme Court and US law. The cops stated the photog was required to provide physical id so they were obviously ignorant of the law. Also, the cop's statement that Patriot Act prohibits filming of ALL railroads is completely wrong and that statement is absurd.

Notice that when the photog asked which ordinance he was breaking, the cops just came back with crap about "911". Had they KNOWN the specific ordinance that they were detaining him for, they should have been able to cite it or refer to it in some legitimate way. They did not, because the ordinance doesn't exist and they are not good at their jobs.

+1 "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin
 
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He never explained his educational goals involving transit and photography. He didn't want to show ID. He sounded like he was trying to hide something. I thought the police were treating him very well and he was not cooperating.

I was stopped yesterday for running a stop sign in a new location. When the officer stopped me, it was yes sir, no sir and showed him ID, insurance and owner's card. He said he was going to write me a ticket for running a stop sign. My response was " write me two tickets because I ran it yesterday too, I know it's there but I just so used to driving on this street". I was being honest, not a smart alec.
He laughed so hard he let me go.
 
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Cooperation is almost always the best thing. Having an aggressive demeanor is not going to get you on the cop's good side. If you appear like a threat, you'll be treated as such.

I did not watch the video, nor am I going to. It's all the same garbage that I've seen a hundred times. Most of these videos are edited to conform to the "police brutality" b/s. Police brutality does exist, but it's rare. Most of the people crying "police brutality" are criminals who only want to drag down the good guys. I understand the video isn't about police brutality, but it's all in the same category. Cops are humans too, and while they're expected to be above reproach, they're not perfect.
 
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Ok, I am going to try to stay away from the uncharitable definitions that came to my mind as I watched that, other than to say that I think the photographer acted very foolishly. A couple of points:
1. His title was completely political and misleading. He was NOT detained for photographing the rail... he was detained for being uncooperative with the officers.
2. The officers started out very politely and respectfully. They only escalated their demeanor based on the guy's non-cooperativeness... any one of us would probably have acted the same. Even after the incident escalated, they did not lay their hands on him once... at least, not up to the 8:30 mark of the video.
3. The guy seemed like he was almost looking for a confrontation... and he was not being very honest. when asked if his camera recorded sound (illegal in MD to record a person's voice without consent BTW), he replied, "I think, maybe" or something similar... complete evasion of the truth! And he kept repeating the same tired, "I'm not doing anything illegal." Ok, point taken...move on to your next arguement.
4. Just because certain freedoms are our rights in this country does not give us the RIGHT to act any way we please. he could have handled the situation so much more appropriately... and don't give me that the offices had no right to ask for his ID... even if they didn't, there's a certain amount of cooperation it takes to make law enforcement work, and if the photographer hadn't really done anything illigal, he had no worries... They never told him he COULDN"T photograph until AFTER he becamse uncooperative!

Anyways, what a joke...
 
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I never could understand the fascination of wanting to argue with a LEO whether or not you are in the right or wrong. Logic dictates the path of least resistance is to agree with them and move on. The incident will already be forgotten after about 30 seconds of time passing.

The one and only time I was approached for photographing in a "sensitive" area the officer told me photography is not allowed. I just replied I did not know and apologized. We both went our separate ways. I got my pic and he got his ego stroked. We both came out winners. Had I tried to exercise my rights I'm sure it would have ended very unpleasant.
 
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My best friend (now deceased) and my uncle were both cops. They were good guys and good cops, so my feelings usually side with cops. They knew how to do their jobs PROPERLY. The cops in the video were WRONG and clearly demonstrate that they are ignorant of how to do their jobs properly.

According to the Supreme Court decision which is now often referred to concerning a "Terry Stop", a person is required to verbally provide their identify to police officers, but that court case does NOT require that identification paperwork be provided. (Requiring paperwork id was a big part of the Arizona illegal aliens law that was so controversial.) The photog did answer the police questions and did provide his id as required by the Supreme Court and US law. The cops stated the photog was required to provide physical id so they were obviously ignorant of the law. Also, the cop's statement that Patriot Act prohibits filming of ALL railroads is completely wrong and that statement is absurd.

Notice that when the photog asked which ordinance he was breaking, the cops just came back with crap about "911". Had they KNOWN the specific ordinance that they were detaining him for, they should have been able to cite it or refer to it in some legitimate way. They did not, because the ordinance doesn't exist and they are not good at their jobs.

+1 "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin
The photographer seemed well versed about his rights, none of which he was willing to give up. As it turns out, after the ACLU threatened a law suit, the Baltimore MTA agreed.

"Administrator Ralign T. Wells disavowed police efforts to restrict photography on or around MTA property and said he would take action to head off a threatened lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland before it can be filed."
 
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Ok, I am going to try to stay away from the uncharitable definitions that came to my mind as I watched that, other than to say that I think the photographer acted very foolishly. A couple of points:
1. His title was completely political and misleading. He was NOT detained for photographing the rail... he was detained for being uncooperative with the officers.
2. The officers started out very politely and respectfully. They only escalated their demeanor based on the guy's non-cooperativeness... any one of us would probably have acted the same. Even after the incident escalated, they did not lay their hands on him once... at least, not up to the 8:30 mark of the video.
3. The guy seemed like he was almost looking for a confrontation... and he was not being very honest. when asked if his camera recorded sound (illegal in MD to record a person's voice without consent BTW), he replied, "I think, maybe" or something similar... complete evasion of the truth! And he kept repeating the same tired, "I'm not doing anything illegal." Ok, point taken...move on to your next arguement.
4. Just because certain freedoms are our rights in this country does not give us the RIGHT to act any way we please. he could have handled the situation so much more appropriately... and don't give me that the offices had no right to ask for his ID... even if they didn't, there's a certain amount of cooperation it takes to make law enforcement work, and if the photographer hadn't really done anything illigal, he had no worries... They never told him he COULDN"T photograph until AFTER he becamse uncooperative!

Anyways, what a joke...
I can't really agree more. To me this whole thing seems like a giant contest of egos between the LEO and the photog. As soon as the photog realized the LEO might be slightly infringing on his rights it seems like a giant lightbulb went off in his head and he realized that he might be able to pursue legal action and or grab some cheap headlines. For the cops it seems like they were just trying to assert dominance or something.

In the other thread there was a story there saying that the ALCU might be seeking damages. What damages? Seems like it was an hour or two of inconvience and he might have missed out photographing some trains. At most he needs an apology. In no way should this guy profit from this, all this will do is cost the tax payers money.
 
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What's worse to me, as a photographer, is that you can be sure that other officers have watched this video, too, just like we photographers have... can you see it making them more resistant to us just like it might make some photogs more resistant to LEO? There's 2 sides to every coin!
 
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I am proud of the photog. I would have done the same thing. The officers were out of line, and when called on it, they escalated the situation by using made up laws and rules. I am 100% supportive of law enforcement, but they were not enforcing any law(s). And in my opinion they broke a few. I am saddened by peoples apathy when others are chipping away at our rights and freedoms in the name of "terrorism".
I can't think of anything to add to this.

ETA: except this:

My best friend (now deceased) and my uncle were both cops. They were good guys and good cops, so my feelings usually side with cops. They knew how to do their jobs PROPERLY. The cops in the video were WRONG and clearly demonstrate that they are ignorant of how to do their jobs properly.

According to the Supreme Court decision which is now often referred to concerning a "Terry Stop", a person is required to verbally provide their identify to police officers, but that court case does NOT require that identification paperwork be provided. (Requiring paperwork id was a big part of the Arizona illegal aliens law that was so controversial.) The photog did answer the police questions and did provide his id as required by the Supreme Court and US law. The cops stated the photog was required to provide physical id so they were obviously ignorant of the law. Also, the cop's statement that Patriot Act prohibits filming of ALL railroads is completely wrong and that statement is absurd.

Notice that when the photog asked which ordinance he was breaking, the cops just came back with crap about "911". Had they KNOWN the specific ordinance that they were detaining him for, they should have been able to cite it or refer to it in some legitimate way. They did not, because the ordinance doesn't exist and they are not good at their jobs.

+1 "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin
 
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