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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> "taking pictures" = see the back seat of a cop car
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07/10/2006 07:51:06 PM · #1
This is a bit long winded, but stick with me here... it's a pretty good one.

So I get out of work today and want to go find some "old and dirty" things to take pictures of. Living in Boca Raton (retirement capital of the world) there's only old people, not old things. I decide to head south towards Fort Lauderdale, only like 5 or 10 minutes out of the way.

I'm driving along and pass a really cool warehouse style machine shop with really red/orange colored rusty pieces of metal pipes and tubes everywhere. I drive pass it and decide that I have to get some pics of it so I turn around in a parking lot, while I'm there I take my cam out and format my card. I start to go back to the building and pass a cop car... he's looking at me pretty good. I don't think too much of it and keep going, but now he's following me. I'm now thinking that I'm going to get a ticket for my windows being to dark or truck dropped too low, so I pass the building and start to head towards home.

He's still following me... He turns his lights on. Damn! Walks up to the car, sir... license and reg. please. I give it to him, he looks it over for a second and looks at me. What are you doing sitting in an empty church parking lot today sir? I say "taking my camera out, I like to take pictures of things". He says what kind of things? I reply, well I'm a bit of an artist and I like to take pictures of old dirty things. Well, this guy's idea of art is probably something that's painted on a Nascar car... so he "didn't get it". This is where it gets good though.

His next sentence... "You're not here to buy drugs?" Oh crap I think to myself... I'm not even going to start to try to explain to this guy why I'd like to take pics of old dirty stuff, so I just leave it at that. No, I'm just here to take pics. He really looks at me like I'm smoking crack now... He has me get out of the car, hands on the hood, pats me down. Puts me in the back seat of his car (woo hoo, first time seeing that) He was nice enough to open up his little sliding window so I could get some a/c though. He goes back to my truck and spends the next 10-15 minutes going through everything to try to find some drugs or any kind of sign of them. I'm not too nervous cause I know there's no reason to be... but you never know if you're going to get a crooked cop planting something.

Sorry this is long, but boy... a little small paragraph post wouldn't do it justice. He comes back to his car and lets me out. Tells me to go back to my truck and lets me get in. He tells me that he doesn't believe me that I'm sittin in an empty church parking lot in one of his busiest "drug neighborhoods" (If I only would have known that!!). He says that he can't find anything and I must have hid it really well, and he has to let me go.

I start to drive off and the adrenaline was flowing like you wouldn't believe! I just laughed hysterically all the way home.

What's the moral here... I'm not quite sure. Maybe to be happy taking nice clean pictures. Maybe to take nice pictures and make them dirty with photoshop. Either way... I'm not going to be going back there anytime soon.

Juat thought I'd share... and I didn't even get the pictures!
07/10/2006 08:09:05 PM · #2
Taking pictures these days is like being in a warzone. I'm glad you made it out alive! I'm sure something like this is going to happen to me. It's only a matter of time...
07/10/2006 08:10:49 PM · #3
Good story, thanks for sharing.

I sometimes print out the current challenge section and take that with me, hoping that in cases like yours, it might help convince them that I am neither a terrorist nor maniac nor drug user/dealer.
07/10/2006 08:12:44 PM · #4
That's what you get for having your mind on dirty things. Respectable citizens and respectable photographers like, and take, clean pictures. If you don't want any trouble, then keep it clean.

Just kidding. Give me directions or the address. I'm only an hour away down here in Miami (I just now got back from an appointment in Ft Lauderdale) and it would be sort of fun to show up with the same story.
07/10/2006 08:13:03 PM · #5
Shooting with a buddy is a good idea now a days. I don't think the police would question you this way if everybody had a camera around there neck. I don't think any of the GTG's have had an encounter with the police.
07/10/2006 08:15:38 PM · #6
Originally posted by otisXmike:

He goes back to my truck and spends the next 10-15 minutes going through everything to try to find some drugs or any kind of sign of them. I'm not too nervous cause I know there's no reason to be... but you never know if you're going to get a crooked cop planting something.


I'm no lawyer, but I don't believe he had any right to search your truck without some sort of warrant or visible paraphenial (sp).

Originally posted by otisXmike:



He says that he can't find anything and I must have hid it really well, and he has to let me go.



Obviously he doesn't believe much in the court system. "Innocent until proven guilty."



Message edited by author 2006-07-10 20:18:38.
07/10/2006 08:17:19 PM · #7
Sounds like the cop might have violated your rights to me.
07/10/2006 08:17:48 PM · #8
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Originally posted by otisXmike:

He goes back to my truck and spends the next 10-15 minutes going through everything to try to find some drugs or any kind of sign of them. I'm not too nervous cause I know there's no reason to be... but you never know if you're going to get a crooked cop planting something.


I'm no lawyer, but I don't believe he had any right to search your truck without some sort of warrant or visible paraphenial (sp).

Originally posted by otisXmike:



He says that he can't find anything and I must have hid it really well, and he has to let me go.



Obviously he doesn't believe much in the court system. "Innocent until proven guilty."


I thought the EXACT same thing... but at that point it was only going to get me in more trouble saying that so I just played along.

Not that sterotypes are true... I kind of look the part... huge earrings, long goatee, low truck, tinted windows, etc, etc...

Message edited by author 2006-07-10 20:21:27.
07/10/2006 08:22:13 PM · #9
Always say you do not consent to a search... ALWAYS. There is no reason to ever allow a search. It can only hurt you, and never help you despite what a police officer might tell you. You have less rights in your car than a home, or on your person while on the street, but never consent to a search.
07/10/2006 08:22:40 PM · #10
they're not suppose to search your vehicle unless you okay it OR the have probable cause.....I would have been LIVID...I probably would have went to jail.
07/10/2006 08:24:15 PM · #11
Originally posted by otisXmike:



I thought the EXACT same thing... but at that point it was only going to get me in more trouble saying that so I just played along.

Not that sterotypes ate true... I kind of look the part... huge earrings, long goatee, low truck, tinted windows...


Probably the easiest solution.

I don't have any issues with law enforcement in general, but I've run into my share of pricks. Generally, I'm as cocky as they are though. I don't deal well with artificial power trips. I love busting bubbles. :-)

When I was bartending I often forced off-duty officers to leave the premisses and not to return unless they were in civilian clothing. A uniformed officer often meant I was going to have to deal with some drama that he started.
07/10/2006 08:24:53 PM · #12
Originally posted by colyla:

I would have been LIVID...I probably would have went to jail.


That's pretty much the reason I played along... that and he looks like he was probably good friends with his nightstick.
07/10/2006 08:30:43 PM · #13
Did you ask to search HIS car? Sounds like the guy with the drugs was wearing a uniform. :-/
07/10/2006 08:32:43 PM · #14
I think I would definitely report him for his illegal search. His superier officers should know of his actions. You have every right to do so. You DO pay his salary.
07/10/2006 08:33:28 PM · #15
I would phone that district and speak to his shift leader or CO... He has absolutely no legal right to search your vehicle. You need to give them probable cause. Being in a bad neighborhood is not good enough. Tell his Boss what happened. Ask if it is dept policy to harrass citizens that are just out minding their own business.

Once you do that, I would stay out of that district for awhile just incase the cop is one to hold a grudge.
07/10/2006 08:42:54 PM · #16
Originally posted by Bugzeye:

I would phone that district and speak to his shift leader or CO... He has absolutely no legal right to search your vehicle. You need to give them probable cause. Being in a bad neighborhood is not good enough. Tell his Boss what happened. Ask if it is dept policy to harrass citizens that are just out minding their own business.

Once you do that, I would stay out of that district for awhile just incase the cop is one to hold a grudge.


I think I may do that tomorrow, after I'm not quite so wound up about it.
07/10/2006 08:51:13 PM · #17
I feel like an outcaste too when people...many times they have been police...ask me what I am taking photos of...and when I show them dead leaves...cracked sidewalks...building facades…and just huge array of random things "normal people" don't take photos of...they don't quite believe what I am saying. I don't know but I feel it will become more and more difficult to take photos out in public away from the "everyday" photographer with their disposables and camera phones. I pretty sure things will not be getting any better anytime soon.

Clint


07/10/2006 08:57:20 PM · #18
Holy crap, Mike! I'm so glad you made it out okay! I, too, often print out the challenge page and take it with me when I go out shooting. I've never been stopped (I look innocent enough), but I will be prepared the day I do. I'm too chicken for something like this, and I've heard too many horror stories about crooked cops. Good job for biting your lip, it does sound like he would have been more than happy to show you "who's boss." I don't trust cops... sad, but true. Didja get a good picture of the backseat of the squad car? ;)
07/10/2006 08:57:52 PM · #19
Originally posted by TomFoolery:

I feel like an outcaste too when people...many times they have been police...ask me what I am taking photos of...and when I show them dead leaves...cracked sidewalks...building facades…and just huge array of random things "normal people" don't take photos of...they don't quite believe what I am saying. I don't know but I feel it will become more and more difficult to take photos out in public away from the "everyday" photographer with their disposables and camera phones. I pretty sure things will not be getting any better anytime soon.

Clint


It really sucks too... I've been finding myself really rushing my shots just to get them over and done with so I have less problems.
07/10/2006 09:00:52 PM · #20
Originally posted by annasense:

Holy crap, Mike! I'm so glad you made it out okay! I, too, often print out the challenge page and take it with me when I go out shooting. I've never been stopped (I look innocent enough), but I will be prepared the day I do. I'm too chicken for something like this, and I've heard too many horror stories about crooked cops. Good job for biting your lip, it does sound like he would have been more than happy to show you "who's boss." I don't trust cops... sad, but true. Didja get a good picture of the backseat of the squad car? ;)


wasn't even shooting for a challenge, just for my 1-a-day. Maybe I need to start looking a little more innocent... I mean come on, would you trust this guy?? LOL 351366.jpg. I'm not really going to change, I have toned it down alot over the past 10 years though....

Message edited by author 2006-07-10 21:01:08.
07/10/2006 09:03:36 PM · #21
wow thats really uncalled for, he had no right to search your vehicle I would talk to the head cop in charge at the local precinct. good luck let us know how it turned out
07/10/2006 09:06:30 PM · #22
Originally posted by digitalpins:

wow thats really uncalled for, he had no right to search your vehicle I would talk to the head cop in charge at the local precinct. good luck let us know how it turned out


I'll keep you updated...

Any lawyers out there... would I be going about this the wrong way by going to the precinct 1st, or would it not really matter?
07/10/2006 09:06:45 PM · #23
Geeze, I can't believe what I'm reading! What gives them the right? The worst part is, as an average citizen, there's nothing we can do to stop these little power trips. Instead it seems we all have to go about in fear that we'll get stopped for NO reason at all.

I would have been on the phone instantly with his boss, I'd have had his name and badge number, and I'd probably be considering a lawyer. Such total, illegal, BS - and from the people who are supposed to be on the side of the good guys.

Whatever happend to "protect and serve"? He wants to stop and ask what you're doing, it's a bad neighborhood, okay, I'd be cool with that - he's doing his job. But putting you in the cruiser and searching your car?! Stuff like that has got to stop.

Reading stuff like this only reinforces my distrust of cops in any form.

Aiigh... [/rant]
07/10/2006 09:10:49 PM · #24
Originally posted by otisXmike:

Originally posted by digitalpins:

wow thats really uncalled for, he had no right to search your vehicle I would talk to the head cop in charge at the local precinct. good luck let us know how it turned out


I'll keep you updated...

Any lawyers out there... would I be going about this the wrong way by going to the precinct 1st, or would it not really matter?

I am not a lawyer, but I don't think your going to the precinct will make a difference. Honestly, I don't think anyone there will care. They tend to protect their own. If they're not outright rude about it, they'll say something to make you happy and then do nothing.

Example: My dad's driving home through town at night. He almost hits a cop car, as there are two of them parked in the middle of the lane, facing the wrong way, with no lights. He calls the police station to complain of the traffic hazzard and is told that they are on "official police business" and he had no right to complain. Sure...that's why both officers were standing in the lawn with their arms crossed chatting it up with each other.

If you do go, may you have better luck.
07/10/2006 09:11:13 PM · #25
Nice story - glad you walked away. But around here, I would have been at the station for a few hours with my truck and camera gear left by the road where he pulled me off. They are really getting bad around here so much to the point that I didn't even bring my cam with me to the 4th parade, party or fireworks. Well, maybe the new GF had something to do with that, but I don't think so...she understands my obsession.
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