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DPChallenge Forums >> Rant >> OK WTF?! Im sorry you can't take pictures here.
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11/13/2005 06:03:08 PM · #1
When the heck did it change, I mean come on! Went up to the local airport to take pictures, set up the tripod, broke out the new camera. I was like a kid in a candy store taking pictures of airplanes landing and taking off. Forty five minutes into it an officer of the law pulls up, starts asking me questions. After a bunch of no sir, yes sir questions, I told him I just got a new camera and always wanted to take pictures of airplanes taking off and landing. Few minutes later another officer of the law shows up, hes a little more forceful, tells me he wants my film or storage device. WTF! I asked why he said its suspisus for someone taking photos of airplanes. Granted I had been taking photos of planes taking off, there was nothing saying that is banned anywhere on this area. Has society changed that much!? I guess I can see somewhat of the reasoning but this is going to far. BTW the officer originally wanted to take my whole camera.
11/13/2005 06:09:54 PM · #2
Did he take your storage card? If so, did you get his information as well, badge number, etc? He had no right to take your card, IMHO, no right at all and if it had been me I would have been arrested before they got any part of my system. This is going to far.

Deannda
11/13/2005 06:11:43 PM · #3
There's many other threads on this -- check here for more info on your rights as a photographer.
11/13/2005 06:13:22 PM · #4
Ya, we get threads like this from time to time. Here's the key. If you were on public property (eg. the road by the airport), then the officer was 100% out of line and you had a 100% right to shoot (unless they could complain that you are causing hazardous conditions with where you are shooting).

Did he take your film or card? That would also be quite out of line. It's time we started standing up for ourselves (politely, of course) and the rights we enjoy or else the terrorists will have already won.
11/13/2005 06:17:24 PM · #5
[quote=Neuferland] Did he take your storage card? If so, did you get his information as well, badge number, etc? He had no right to take your card, IMHO, no right at all and if it had been me I would have been arrested before they got any part of my system. This is going to far.

they wanted my whole camera at first!!!! They would have to pry it from my cold dead hands as far as I was concerned. I finally agreed to give them the storage card that was in the camera. I got all the info, and I plan to launch a formal complant, not just against the officers involved but against the whole idea of it.. I'm only out a 512mb card but Im dang mad at this point! I was doing NOTHING wrong! I was straght forward with all their questions. I'm at a loss too what I did wrong, in fact they wouldn't give me a straight answer on WHY!
11/13/2005 06:30:37 PM · #6
Please, please, PLEASE follow up on this. The officers are, I'm sure, trying to do their job, but the only way they are going to get the education is if someone calls them on it.

So where were you when you took the picture? Even if you were on private property the best they could do is ask you to stop, they couldn't confiscate anything.

Let us know what happens...I'll be watching.
11/13/2005 06:32:05 PM · #7
I Think DrAchoo hit it on the head of what they were after. But I pose this question, Since when has taking pictures turned to possible terrorist activity. This was the question that was bounced back and forth between myself and the first officer on the scene. I know they have a job to do, and someone must have thought what I was doing was wrong or strange enough to call the police. Like I said I still don't see the link.. Between terrorist and photo's hows one the same. BTW it was on public property post road..
11/13/2005 06:32:17 PM · #8
were you actually on the airport's grounds? if so then they were allowed to do what they did.

But if you were on public property, then what they did was illegal. any public place is fair game and legal to take photos.

I wish I could have a better opinion of police officers but I have not met many that seemed to talk down to me, and seemed like they were doing it out of lack of better things to do. If I was on public property I would have refused politely and walked away.
11/13/2005 06:38:26 PM · #9
Your local congress people DO CARE about this sort of thing. Something along the same lines happened to me a while back and I wrote every congress person I could find.

You may want to contact your local papers and news stations as well...if there's nothing else going on, they may just do a story on it.

good luck, and I'm sorry you got your rights so violated...believe me I know the feeling all too well.
11/13/2005 06:38:50 PM · #10
Originally posted by petrakka:

were you actually on the airport's grounds? if so then they were allowed to do what they did.


I still think they do not have the right to confiscate your property. They can only ask you to stop.

Originally posted by petrakka:


If I was on public property I would have refused politely and walked away.


Yikes, I bet you would be eating dirt within seconds. I'm afraid you are going to have to end the scenario to the satisfaction of the officer. That may mean going down to the station and talking to superiors. I'd just keep asking, "are you sure you know what you're doing?" That will make the lawsuit easier later...

I also keep a copy of a photographers legal rights in my bag. I haven't had to use it yet, although I was nervous doing exactly what you were doing. We have a public road that parallels Portland's airport runway and is only about 200-300 yards away. Nobody came by though.

Message edited by author 2005-11-13 18:41:09.
11/13/2005 06:40:00 PM · #11
actually I'm pretty certain they can confiscate your property...they can actually hold YOU for up to 48 hours if they wanted to.

That's the patriot act...our rights no longer exist.
11/13/2005 06:41:26 PM · #12
Originally posted by petrakka:

were you actually on the airport's grounds? if so then they were allowed to do what they did.

But if you were on public property, then what they did was illegal. any public place is fair game and legal to take photos.

I wish I could have a better opinion of police officers but I have not met many that seemed to talk down to me, and seemed like they were doing it out of lack of better things to do. If I was on public property I would have refused politely and walked away.


I was on public property, Post road to be excect. The first officer seemed to understand, the second one that showed up was a hardliner, guess my tax dollars are going for good use. Took 2 of them to come to the conclusion I must be up to no good. Dammit, the first day I get my dSLR I get into trouble taking pictures. And yes I wanted to take pictures of planes taking off on post road for a long time!
11/13/2005 06:53:45 PM · #13
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Originally posted by petrakka:

were you actually on the airport's grounds? if so then they were allowed to do what they did.


I still think they do not have the right to confiscate your property. They can only ask you to stop.

Originally posted by petrakka:


If I was on public property I would have refused politely and walked away.


Yikes, I bet you would be eating dirt within seconds. I'm afraid you are going to have to end the scenario to the satisfaction of the officer. That may mean going down to the station and talking to superiors. I'd just keep asking, "are you sure you know what you're doing?" That will make the lawsuit easier later...

I also keep a copy of a photographers legal rights in my bag. I haven't had to use it yet, although I was nervous doing exactly what you were doing. We have a public road that parallels Portland's airport runway and is only about 200-300 yards away. Nobody came by though.

Intresting, I just printed that out, wish I would have had it, might have blown off some friction. I dunno, but maybe I can help other from falling into the same pitfall I just hit. I will follow it up, Im still ticked as you can tell this was way to far.
11/13/2005 06:54:10 PM · #14
In the UK the laws may be different but they cannot take your camera/card or anything if you are shooting on public property. I know legalbeagle was "spoken to" by the police when shooting immediately after the London bombings and although they searched him under the terrorist act and said they would take his camera, he "persuaded" them it wasn't a great idea when he told them he was a lawyer and knew his rights!
Saying that there is a US base near us and is a surveillance/intelligence centre for Europe. There are regular patrols all along the adjacent roads and there is no way I would stop to take pics!
P
11/13/2005 07:03:37 PM · #15
I went to an airshow earlier this year at an Air Force (reserve) base. They searched bags coming in and had BIG signs saying no cameras. They let me in with my rebel and 2 lenses. They did NOT search those little power wheel chair things that the fat old farts ride in - you could pack 500 pouunds of explosive in one of them, but hay, eat too much to walk and you're a protected class in this country.

I got lots of shots with no questions asked, or even second looks. And i'm not talking 1/2 mile away shots, but i could ahve taken VERY detailed shots of miliary hardware - something a terrorist might be able to use.
11/13/2005 07:43:46 PM · #16
If the officer was so sure that you had done something illegal with your camera, then why didn't he take you into custody? I can't imagine what you could have taken a photo of at an airport that would have broken any laws, but if any law was broken, then the camera certainly wasn't the perpetrator. Why did this moron "arrest" the camera, or part of it anyway, and then let you go?

It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder what the hell they’re teaching police officer cadets nowadays. Gestapo tactics 101?

I think you should get a good lawyer and sue the officer, the police department, and the airport.

Last year, my wife and I spent several hours out at Portland International Airport taking photos for the “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” challenge. We set up the tripod at several locations and took lots of pics. I fully expected the airport security people to stop and check us out, and they did drive by us a couple times, but nobody stopped to ask us any questions. I guess we just didn’t look enough like terrorists. :) I got lots of shots, but nothing that I really liked. I ended up entering this one...
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/226/thumb/83613.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/226/thumb/83613.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

And my wife entered this one...
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/226/thumb/83603.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/226/thumb/83603.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Of course, neither did very well. :(
11/13/2005 07:48:59 PM · #17
Originally posted by MQuinn:


they wanted my whole camera at first!!!! They would have to pry it from my cold dead hands as far as I was concerned.


I would have flatly told them. You get a warrant or you tell me what crime I've committed. Otherwise, you have no authority to seize my property.
11/13/2005 08:14:17 PM · #18
Originally posted by deapee:

actually I'm pretty certain they can confiscate your property...they can actually hold YOU for up to 48 hours if they wanted to.

That's the patriot act...our rights no longer exist.

I don't think that there was anything about the patriot act that played a part in this situation in any way.
If you do, please explain.
Oh, and whose rights do you think were violated?
11/13/2005 08:38:22 PM · #19
Originally posted by theSaj:

Originally posted by MQuinn:


they wanted my whole camera at first!!!! They would have to pry it from my cold dead hands as far as I was concerned.


I would have flatly told them. You get a warrant or you tell me what crime I've committed. Otherwise, you have no authority to seize my property.


You'd be in jail tonight however.

M
11/13/2005 08:43:01 PM · #20
What kind of civil rights protections do we have left when they can pick you up and throw you in jail and not charge you with a crime???
11/13/2005 08:50:00 PM · #21
Originally posted by mavrik:

Originally posted by theSaj:

Originally posted by MQuinn:


they wanted my whole camera at first!!!! They would have to pry it from my cold dead hands as far as I was concerned.


I would have flatly told them. You get a warrant or you tell me what crime I've committed. Otherwise, you have no authority to seize my property.


You'd be in jail tonight however.

M

I felt after they asked to take the camera, I was a little ticked but I never gave a reason for hostility or reason to proceed further on further charges. Yes I will admit, I know I had done no wrong, but I was intimidated. I wasn't into making it into a more ugly situation, and i feel the reason the second officer showed up was because I didn't want to give up my camera. Arguing the point of I this or that ment nothing, Im lucky all that was taken was the CF card. But Im totally at loss at what I did wrong in the first place..
11/13/2005 09:08:48 PM · #22
Originally posted by Olyuzi:

What kind of civil rights protections do we have left when they can pick you up and throw you in jail and not charge you with a crime???

Lots. Though I will grant that many times a determination that someones rights were violated doesn't occur until much later, in a court of law. Well after the violation occurred.
But as to your specific charge, they could do that long before the Patriot Act.

11/13/2005 09:11:43 PM · #23
I might call the same precinct and demand to speak to a superior officer and insist on the return of your CF card. If that fails, explain you feel your rights were violated and you just wouldn't feel right letting the theft of personal property by conversion go unreported to the State Police. That ought to get some attention. If it doesn't, try speaking to Internal Affairs.

I wouldn't go too far without being nice and reasonable first, since I'm assuming you live nearby and don't want speeding/parking ticket harassment, but really you are completely in the right here and there is no reason for you to have to give up personal property. I'm sure the officers were just being extra cautious in this new day and age of terrorism, but this is an opportunity to educate the police department in as nice a way as possible so it doesn't happen to someone else.

11/13/2005 09:53:26 PM · #24
Here's my advice when you go down to talk to someone. What expertise do I have? None. But I did do customer service in a past life and have the reputation of being able to talk my way through any situation.

Go into the precinct armed with your Photographers Rights pamphlet and a notebook to keep track of names and details (statutes etc.). Ask to speak with someone who can help determine if your rights were violated in an incident. Always be polite but confident. When you speak to whomever, concisely describe the situation. Do not editorialize. Tell them you believe you were within your rights and give them the pamphlet. Ask them how you should proceed. It will quickly become obvious which tack they will take. The most likely will be that they will immediately see they have little to stand on and reconcile. Assure them you know they are only doing their job but stand firm on two demands: a) you get your card back and b) you won't have the same situation when you go out tomorrow to take pictures (yes tomorrow). If you get these two demands I think the best interest was served at the price of your time. If they take the less likely tack which is BS then remain polite but be firm about receiving the following information: The statute or statutes which allowed the confiscation of your property and which statute or statutes you were violating by your actions. Inform them you will be contacting your lawyer (after they give you the information) and ask again if you can have your card back. If they refuse, leave. Contact a lawyer. The Portland case (dealing with the guy who wrote the pamphlet settled for, I believe, $2500).

I bet 10:1 they realize their error once they see the pamphlet and you get your card back with an apology...
11/13/2005 10:25:01 PM · #25
Originally posted by mavrik:



You'd be in jail tonight however.

M


Not true, in fact, most cases I have heard where people have stood up for their rights. Demanding supervisors or higher level employees/police. It has ended in their favor.

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