Photography Is Not A Crime

Pertinacious Tom

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If you call a big government agency and ask whether you can take pictures of their building, they'll probably say yes.

If you actually do it, the answer is no. Because we can't have reporters taking pictures of ugly buildings and corporate sponsored mailboxes from a public street in a post 9/11 world. People just don't get it. It's not safe!

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Every day I see more evidence that we just need to stop all law enforcement for a week and retrain everybody so that they understand that photography is not a crime.

This cop thinks it's illegal to point a camera at a military base from a public street:


 

A guy in the Chesapeake

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Every day I see more evidence that we just need to stop all law enforcement for a week and retrain everybody so that they understand that photography is not a crime.

This cop thinks it's illegal to point a camera at a military base from a public street:


I'd love to see more of these w/out the guy w/the camera behaving antagonistically. I'm not suggesting that we should meekly accept whatever someone in a uniform tells us just because they're in a uniform, but, I do think that intentionally escalating the discussion into a confrontation is counterproductive.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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If you keep filming when they say stop, is that escalation?

It is to a cop who wants his commands obeyed, whether they are legal or not.

Given that, it's meek obedience or escalation.

 

A guy in the Chesapeake

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If you keep filming when they say stop, is that escalation?

It is to a cop who wants his commands obeyed, whether they are legal or not.

Given that, it's meek obedience or escalation.
I'd suggest that continuing to film when the authorities have wrongly told you to stop isn't escalation.

I was speaking more about his tone of voice and attitude than his actions. It's not a difficult thing to be polite while insisting on your rights. "I've already schooled those guys twice today"? "I'm sharper than you are about these things" (paraphrasing)? Yeah - that kinda stuff helps.

I firmly support anyone's exercise of their rights, but, like the goofballs carrying AR15s on their back when they go for coffee just because they can, this guy seemed more interested in confrontation than in the exercise of his right to be there.

 
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Innocent Bystander

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If you keep filming when they say stop, is that escalation?

It is to a cop who wants his commands obeyed, whether they are legal or not.

Given that, it's meek obedience or escalation.
I'd suggest that continuing to film when the authorities have wrongly told you to stop isn't escalation.

I was speaking more about his tone of voice and attitude than his actions. It's not a difficult thing to be polite while insisting on your rights. "I've already schooled those guys twice today"? "I'm sharper than you are about these things" (paraphrasing)? Yeah - that kinda stuff helps.

I firmly support anyone's exercise of their rights, but, like the goofballs carrying AR15s on their back when they go for coffee just because they can, this guy seemed more interested in confrontation than in the exercise of his right to be there.
I've got to agree. From is other videos, he seems to be in the business of provoking these exchanges. OTOH, Unchallenged restriction of rights tends to encourage additional restrictions.

I've dealt with more than a few of these Federal Police and come away unimpressed, including one that was called by someone at a Navy marina one evening about a snake and proceeded to use his 9 MM to perforate a large, harmless black snake warming himself on a concrete walk. In another case, I had to play the "I'm XXX and I'm the senior, active duty officer on this installation right now and you WILL stand down and get me your supervisor!" card when a retired Master Chief was looking at his boat hanging from a piling after Hurricane Irene and when he was told he could not access it, he got a bit upset. The Rent-A-Cop puffed up and went to draw his gun when I stepped in and shut both of them down. I'm sure there are lots of professionals out there to balance the idiots but at least these two were less reliable than Barney Fife.

 

Saorsa

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I've had incidents of what I would call harrassment or just cops being assholes.

 

A guy in the Chesapeake

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An example of what I would consider to be appropriate behavior for someone exercising their rights:



You don't have to like or agree with everything that anyone says, but, that doesn't mean one has to be confrontational in expressing their disagreement.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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I'm glad people are out there provoking these exchanges.

It is my hope that if enough of them do it for long enough, the majority of cops will start to realize that photography is not a crime. Even if the camera is pointed at government employees or buildings.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Boy Scouts Learn Valuable Lesson

When a guy with a badge and a gun starts asserting authority he does not have, the best policy is meek obedience. Because it's either that or escalation...

The incident took place this month as a group of Iowa Boy Scouts were on a three-week road trip, trying to enter Alaska from Canada in a four-van caravan. One Boy Scout pulled out a camera and snapped a photo of a Border Patrol Agent.

The Agent immediately confiscated the camera, ordering all the Scouts out of the van, telling them he needed to search them and their luggage.

One of the Scouts tried to pull a piece of luggage down from the roof of the van to enable the Agent to search it, apparently trying to do his good deed for the day.

But that caused the Agent to fear for his life.

Within a second, the Boy Scout was staring down the barrel of a gun, a crisis that is not covered in the Boy Scout Handbook.

The Agents detained the Scouts for four hours, ensuring they were free from any contraband or weapons, before they were allowed to proceed with their trip into Alaska.

Fox said one of the Scouts took a picture of a border official, which spurred agents to detain everyone in that van and search them and their belongings.

“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and 10 years in prison,” Fox said.

Fox said he was told it is a federal offense to take a picture of a federal agent.

Not wanting things to escalate, Fox said he did not complain.
 

Pertinacious Tom

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Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly think photography should be a crime

I doubt they feel that way about Fox News photographers. The sentiment applies to plebes, not government-recognized journalists.

...The two hosts showed nothing but contempt toward the concept of filming police and the individuals who spend effort to do it.

“There’s enough stress on police, without these clowns chasing them around,” Mr. O’Reilly sneered.

“You’re riding down the road, trying to do your job, suddenly, its like, Paul Bunyan is after me!!” Ms. Kelly mocked, in reference to a clip of an activist who had a beard.

...

One of the most compelling reasons to film police is to capture (and sometimes prevent) instances of corruption and brutality. These are the same reasons that many towns elect to outfit their local enforcers with personal cameras and dashboard cameras. The job inherently carries a large responsibility and liability, as one might expect as armed men go about wielding the power to initiate violence in the name of the government.

However, two government apologists craftily avoided mentioning this context entirely. To trivialize the activist effort, Ms. Kelly describes the purpose of filming as “to catch a cop speeding, or whatever.”

“The problem is that no one has hired them, or wants them to provide that service,” Ms. Kelly scoffed.

...

This sort of authoritarian mentality is the kind of thing we have grown to expect from Bill O’Reilly, who has spent a career advocating


I'm grateful to the activists who risk a long, expensive fight with the government to assert their right to photograph our employees in public places. I don't see why a paid journalist or photographer is inherently better, as Kelly seems to think.

She's flat wrong that no one wants activists to provide this service. Libertarians do, along with the occasional Duopoly supporter who is genuinely suspicious of government power.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Welcome Home!

..."What is your relation to these children?" brusquely demands the young border guard who examines my two daughters' passports and my own.

They do have their mother's last name, and they do look somewhat Asian. I'm white. Maybe he's curious. So I don't give him any lip.

"I'm their dad."

"Where is their mother?"

"At home, I guess."

"Do you have a letter with her permission for you to travel with them?"

Seriously?

"I wasn't aware that I needed any such thing,” I say. “Are you telling me I do?"

He clearly doesn't appreciate even that tiny bit of pushback.

"Never mind. Follow me into lane one, please. We're going to have to search your vehicle. Please give me your driver's license."

I hand it to him, then park the car in the area he indicates.

"Now please get out of the car and follow me inside."

I grab my iPhone off the dash, hit the record button, and tell him politely: "For my protection, officer, I'm now recording what's happening." He stays silent. I step out of the car, and without warning, he physically attacks—that is, he wrestles the phone from my hand, twisting my arm in the process. I'm stunned.

"Officer, I do not give you permission to take my phone."

"I don't need your permission!” he barks. “Get inside and sit on the bench. With your kids."

He disappears. With my phone.

Inside the building, I ultimately get a lecture from two other border patrol officers—friendlier, but not by much—about why recording is not allowed.

"If you upload it or share it in any way, people are going to know what kinds of questions we ask," one of them says.

That makes no sense, I say. "As a journalist, I can tell the world, in writing, what questions you ask. In the U.S., anyone has that right. That's certainly not against the law. What's the difference between that and recording the conversation?"

A moment's hesitation.

"Officer safety and security."
Uh huh.

That's cop-talk for "I have no good answer to your question but plan to continue to assert this aurhority, so shut the fuck up, plebe."

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Man photographs building, cops beat the shit out of him

Because people who have ditched their truck after a high speed chase and are fleeing on foot often stop to take some pics. Even bad guys gotta Instagram, I guess. :rolleyes:

Even if there were good reasons for the mistaken identity, there's no reason to doubt that this guy was compliant with the (undercover) cop and excessive force was used.

The most troubling part is the apparent whitewash by Internal Affairs.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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NYPD kill man who broke up fight

The guy evaded their ridiculously high taxes on cigarettes at one time, so it's not as bad as it sounds. Or something.

That killing was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner. It illustrates a larger problem.

In the last few weeks, a series of videos purporting to depict police brutality by the members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) have spread on the Internet. The most egregious showed the attempted arrest of Eric Garner for allegedly selling untaxed loose cigarettes. Cops placed Garner in what looked like a chokehold and the 400-pound asthmatic died in police custody. The incident was ruled a homicide by chokehold by the city's medical examiner. In another case, a cop appeared to use a chokehold on a pregnant woman caught grilling in front of her house. Another showed a cop appearing to head stomp a man police were attempting to arrest because they had seen him with a small amount of marijuana—it was at least the man's eighth arrest.

The substance of these incidents vary on the level and type of brutality while effecting an arrest but share one important trait: each incident began with a police engagement based on crimes that are non-violent in nature. Garner, before cops tried to arrest him, had adamantly denied that he was selling any untaxed cigarettes that day. The pregnant woman appeared only to be trying to cook some food on the sidewalk in front of her house. Marijuana is supposed to be decriminalized in the state of New York.

Yet in a press conference this week New York City's progressive mayor, Democrat Bill de Blasio, insisted the police department would continue to "strictly enforce" such laws as the ones that led to the series of controversial police interactions. "The law is the law," the mayor said. These kinds of laws, however, disproportionately affect the same kind of people—the poor and marginalized—that De Blasio and his ideological fellow-travelers adamantly claim to defend. Absent brutal encounters with police violations of petty laws can lead to thousands of dollars in fines, multiple court appearances, and even jail time. What amounts to a "minor inconvenience" in the eyes of the privileged political class that pushes these laws can have profound negative effects on the lives of normal people. Coupled with the threat of bodily harm or even death during the initial police encounter, such "petty" crimes become anything but for the people the government targets in its enforcement efforts.

The perverse impact is best studied with regards to marijuana. In New York City, young minorities are far more likely to be arrested on minor marijuana charges than white youth. This is fueled by the police department's long-standing practice of tricking people into publicly displaying their marijuana and therefore committing an actionable misdemeanor during stop and frisks. The vast majority of police targets during stop and frisks are young minorities, creating much of the disparity between who uses marijuana and who is arrested for it.

Other petty laws similarly disproportionately affect poor and marginalized people. The sale of untaxed cigarettes, for example, is a significant black market activity in any city that has sufficiently high taxes. The sale of loose cigarettes is predominant in poor communities, where smokers might only be able to afford to purchase one cigarette a time. Many corner stores in urban areas will sell loose cigarettes, though often not to white people for fear that they're actually undercover cops.

Likewise, you're far more likely to grill on a public sidewalk if you live in a home that doesn't include a front yard. You're less likely to have a front yard if you're poorer....
 
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