February 26, 2014

Baltimore Cops Harass Photographer

From http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/02/25/video-shows-officer-confronting-man-filming-arrests-in-towson/

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—Controversial confrontation. A man videotaped Baltimore County police as they arrested two people in Towson, but an altercation broke out between the man and officer. Now an investigation is underway.

Meghan McCorkell has more from officials.

County police officials say they are concerned by the video and they’ve launched an investigation.

Early Sunday morning, a man videotaped as Baltimore County police arrested two people in Towson. As the video rolled, he was confronted by an officer. View video here.

“I’m allowed to do this,” he told the officer.

“Get it out of my face,” the officer replied.

“I have my rights,” the man said.

“You have no rights,” the officer said.

But the man didn’t stop rolling and was once again aggressively approached.

“Do you see the police presence here? Do you see us all? We’re not [expletive] around. Do you understand? Do not disrespect us and do not not listen to us,” the officer said. “Now walk away and shut your [expletive] mouth or you’re going to jail, do you understand?”

After backing away, the officer came at the man a third time, appearing to grab him.

“I thought I had freedom of speech here,” the man said.

“You don’t. You just lost it,” the officer replied.

County police, auxiliary officers and state police were all responding to a large crowd and disturbance on York Road. County police officials became aware of the video of the altercation Tuesday morning and have launched an investigation.

“We are concerned about what we saw in the video and the department will be taking a thorough look at that video,” said Elise Armacost.

But officials with the ACLU say the video clearly shows illegal and improper police conduct.

“I think the officer in the video is extraordinarily agitated, hostile and unprofessional. I think it’s highly problematic,” said David Rocah, ACLU Maryland. “The fact that officers can act this way, knowing that they’re being filmed, I think shows a level of impunity that is quite troubling.”

Delegate Sandy Rosenberg says he’s also concerned.

“There needs to be either further training for the police and perhaps some appropriate disciplinary action for this individual policeman,” Rosenberg said.

The man who was filming was not arrested and has not filed a complaint in this case.

In a statement, county police officials say they recognize and respect the rights of citizens to film officers on duty in a public place, unless the person filming has violated a law or statute.


March 22, 2012

Las Vegas police agree to pay $100,000 to beaten videographer

The Metropolitan Police Department has agreed to pay $100,000 to a Las Vegas man who said he was beaten by an officer as he shot video from his driveway. The payment would settle the federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Mitchell Crooks, whose video of the confrontation with officer Derek Colling became an Internet hit. Get the whole story here

February 11, 2012

This Just In - Exclusive Report

An active duty US Army soldier was confronted my military police at Hunter Army Airfield at Fort Stewart Georgia for taking photos of a KC-130 aircraft performing touch and gos. The soldier was told that he would be charged with a felony and images were deleted from his camera.

Details are still being forward to me at this time and I will update this story when the facts are in.

So far the facts that have been reported to me are these:

1. The photographer is an active duty US Army soldier who has served in Afghanistan

2. While detained, the military police told the service member that he would be charged with a felony. To my knowledge he has not been charged with anything yet.

3. The aircraft being photographed was a KC-130, a 4 engine propeller driven transport plane designed in the 1950's and used to refuel other other aircraft (nothing secret, stealth or high-tech about it)

4. Two photos of the KC-130 were deleted from his camera

5. The military police searched the soldier's facebook and flickr page for aircraft photos and said that he "must be doing this illegally"

6. The military police informed the soldier that he is no longer allowed to take photographs at Hunter Army Airfield or Savanna Hilton Head International Airport.

7. The soldier was told that it is "illegal to take photos of a runway"

One thing that must be kept in mind regarding this case is that rules, regulations, rights and freedoms for active duty service members on military property can be very different than they are for us civilians. But even considering that fact, it seems that this soldier may have had his rights violated by MPs that are making up the rules as they go along. We will see.

More details to come as they are forwarded to me.

February 08, 2012

I'm a "Fake"

After 4 years of running this blog and trying to bring attention to the issue of photographer's rights and point out violations of photographers right I have been called a "fake" by someone that I thought was fighting the same fight with me. The photography rights advocate and blogger Carlos Miller recently posted a blog entry calling my site a "Fake PINAC Blog Soliciting For Donations".

I am dumbfounded by this recent event. Aside from the occasional small donation I have received over the years I have run this site out of my own pocket, on my own time and asked for nothing in return.

I do not know Mr. Miller and I have never done anything to invite this sort of reaction from him. Actually I would have assumed until today that were allies in the same battle. I guess I was wrong about him and his character.

In his post Mr. Miller claims that my website was apparently launched in August of 2011 and only has 7 blog posts .... a fact that even if it were true (it's not) seems irrelevant. My website was launched 4 years ago and has 43 posts.

Mr. Miller seems to believe that I am somehow trying to make people believe that this little blog is his and therefore I am somehow infringing on his rights and his apparent desire to profit in some way from his advocacy of photography rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr. Miller, for whatever reason, seems to be offended by the fact that I have a "donation" button on my blog as many people do. He does not seem to understand that a donation to the site is optional and there is no profit motive associated with this site.

An email I received from Phillip Breske (I'm not sure what his connection (if any) with Mr. Miller is) suggested that someone might confuse my site with Mr. Miller's site. His comment: "Really? You can't see any way in which someone might confuse the two sites? None at all? I think a court would feel differently. I guess you'll find out."

Mr. Breske's comment has gotten me thinking, perhaps there is some remote chance that someone might confuse the two sites and if that's that case perhaps I have a case against Mr. Miller for infringing on my rights as I am the legal owner of www.photographyisntacrime.com and he has named his blog with a name that VERY similar to my domain name. I suppose if you have a blog you can name it anything you want, but I think if you use a name that is one letter away from a registered domain name there may be an issue of infringement ... I'll have to look into this.

If anyone knows what Mr. Miller's problem with me is please feel free to comment. After running this site for 4 years now this recent development has come completely out of left field. I've never had any correspondence with Mr. Miller and I cannot imagine what caused him to react in this way.

February 01, 2012

Know Your Rights

January 11, 2012

Well Done Cops - This is how it's supposed to work

Cops are called because people are videotaping trains. After a quick and very polite chat with the photographers the cops go off and set the idiot train station worker right.

Too bad this is the exception rather than the rule ... but maybe someday everyone will understand that photography is not a crime.

December 30, 2011

Teen arrested for filming a cop

Statement from the arrested teen:

On May 6th I began shooting film for a new video project about unwarranted raids in Wahpeton ND, I was standing on a public street filming a notorious officer (Dustin Hill) who commonly practices unwarranted searches and seizures. He asked if I 'needed something' I responded by telling him 'no, I'm just filming a story about unwarranted raids in wahpeton' . He immediately placed me under arrest for interfering with a police investigation, or hindering as he also coined it. There was no investigation going on, he was simply talking to a citizen on public property. I was taken into an interview room where I remained cuffed for roughly an hour, I was questioned by an officer without ever being read my miranda rights while he harrassed and grilled me. After telling him the United States Constitution gives me the right to film in public he left, he returned after a long period of time and told me to stand up so he could remove my cuffs. I was then told to grab my camera and leave, and notified that I had 'Pissed Dustin Hill Off' I was released with NO CHARGES and my parents were never notified of my detainment, this is Orwellian authoritarian tactics of detaining a minor illegally for exercising his rights to intimidate him. I'm currently looking for the most effective avenue to seek legal action against the department but I do not feel that any more phone calls will accomplish anything but if you are exercising your right to contact the department please do so RESPECTFULLY and PROFESSIONALLY . One act of disobeying the constitution under the protection of a shiny badge, is a strike against the rights of all men and women. I hope you will all stand with me in this fight against those who seek to overstrectch the boundaries of authority. Robert Wanek