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Reply #96: My thoughts. [View All]

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Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
Bushies gotta go Donating Member (331 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-23-07 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
96. My thoughts.
Remembering that we have only heard one side of this story yours

From what you have said, you did indeed interfere with them. Look, everybody will have their day in court on this but from what you said, your reply to them originally is that you were on a public street. In other words, you put them on the defensive.

Every cop has a right to be safe. Every cop has a right to go home at the end of their shift. When they work the street, they practice certain safety procedures that you as a citizen do not understand. When working a call, they make themselves a safety zone. By stopping 60 feet from them and photographing them, you violated what they felt was their safety zone.

Once they asked you to leave, that is what you should have done. Youre a photographer, you most likely had a long lens that you could have used to shoot from across the street instead of approaching them within 60 feet. And you could have obeyed their wishes and left, continuing to shoot from a much further distance.

But it was at that point, that you told them you would defy their orders for you to leave, that you distracted them from their work. It is because of that distraction that you were charged with interfering. And I believe, rightfully so. Had you waited until the situation was over and then approached an officer to find out what was going on, you wouldnt have been interfering. But distracting them while they are in the process of handling a situation can be construed as interfering.

And for those that believe that because a cop is a public worker and they (the citizen) has a right to question them or stand watch while they are involved in a situation, think again. Police matters are private.

Think of it like this. If I am having some kind of a problem and I call the police, I expect privacy. I dont expect 10 people to be able to listen in to my conversation with the police just because they think they have the right to by the Constitution. So while I am talking to the police about my daughters rape, or my wifes problems or anything else, you better believe Id side with the cop who told somebody to leave the area.

My personal problems, albeit as a victim or a criminal, are not meant to be public domain. Why should you, just because you are a photojournalist, be allowed to overhear my private conversations with the police? And how would or should a cop try and determine what you can and cannot here? Therefore you were asked to leave, asked to go across the street. When you disobey that lawful order, expect to be charged.

And I think it was comedian Chris Rock who said it best: when the police tell you to do something in a street situation, you do it. You dont argue. If you want to take it up with them later, you can. But in the heat of a situation, you obey them no matter what you believe is right. If you want to stand on your Constitutional rights - this is a public street - I aint going nowhere beliefs, then you can only blame yourself for escalating the situation to the point of multiple charges.

Look, I am a photographer myself. I photograph a lot of police action. If they order me off, I leave. I know better than to antagonize them when they are handling a situation even though I know my rights as a photographer.

I dont have enough fingers to count the number of times I have been questioned while taking photographs. Ive been bent over a car, searched, had my car searched, had media seized, etc. on numerous times. I hate it. And I agree it is unwarranted. But I am smart enough to know when that is happening and I shut my mouth because they are in charge of the program. I answer their questions, I dont cop an attitude, and we all get along just fine.

If it is really bad, such as being handcuffed, searched, etc. I later on file a complaint with the department. They had no grounds to arrest me since I went along with the program and didnt argue with them while they were subjecting me to their interrogation and searches. On one occasion the chief of police was so mad that his officers had put me through this, he fired the officers involved.

I hate what has happened since the terra terra terra 9/11 crap. You cant pull out a camera anywhere without being questioned by police or citizens. I regularly photograph on the streets and am now often questioned by people; why are you taking my photograph? Dumb shits dont even think that 90% of their public day they are being video taped by some government or commercial enterprise. Yet, heres a guy with a camera and they demand to know why you are taking pictures.

And all this silly you cant photograph here stuff that the various security guards come up with at power plants and refineries. The only thing they can regulate is when they find you ON the property, not merely in the vicinity. Ive had them try and take my film, too. For those people, I do tell them to go pound sand.

There are rules about photography. If it is posted on the premises no photography you do not have the right to take a photo. Many commercial places have this, though often times in less than noticeable locations. But in the public domain you can photograph anything you want. Publishing those photographs is something different altogether.

There are attorneys who specialize in photographers rights. I can try and locate again some of their publications. But I really believe you went well beyond the rights of a photographer. You interfered and then with your responses, you resisted.

Your actions remind me of the person who gets pulled over for speeding and the first thing out of your mouth is a snotty I wasnt speeding or whats your problem, cop. Youve certainly lost any chance you had of getting off with nothing but a warning.

In a nutshell, we photographers have a right to capture images. We do not have a right to get in the way, interfere with police action or disobey a direct order by the police.

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