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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 27 Jun 2014 (Friday) 16:19
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Photographer vs. Police

 
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DocFrankenstein
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Jun 30, 2014 12:28 |  #91

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #17003189 (external link)
His narrative to us real time is that he is waiting for this encounter, and he is setting up the situation specifically to engage these officers.

Just my point of view.

It's like harassing the palace guard to prove the queen is corrupt. You can succeed and get a reaction, but it might not prove anything.


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Jun 30, 2014 12:29 |  #92

dkizzle wrote in post #16999691 (external link)
I guess as New Yawkers we agree. In other place, time and circumstances his ass could've been severely beaten for being so smart to cops. I know I would not talk to NYPD the same way he did.

Soooooo... in other words, the NYPD has instilled the fear of god in you, and you would give them anything they want? With that kind of thinking, could a police state be far. Don't get me wrong, I at one point, wanted to be a police officer. I do respect them. But allowing them to do what they want because you fear them, is not a good thing. Think Soviet Russia.




  
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Maelochs
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Jun 30, 2014 12:30 |  #93

" It only works if people aren't actively trying to create the situation."

I must disagree here.

What "works' is the police following the law even if someone is trying to provoke a verbal confrontation.

You say the police could have known he was lying? I agree. And a good cop probably would have thought, "This guy is looking for a confrontation—which he won't get." From what I saw there was no reason to think this guy was a terrorist, planning to blow up a courthouse in a remote Texas town. That is the kind of thing that makes good cops good—they can assess a situation quickly and accurately and react appropriately.

An example: the first officer, who seemed to catch on quickly to what the photog was doing and dealt with it sensibly.

The second officer shows what many photographers have to be afraid of: overzealous, self-entitle "lawmen" abusing power because they can and like to. I have been out shooting news photos and run into this—police giving illegal orders and threatening to arrest me when I was in no way breaking any law, when I identified myself as a reporter, and was on public property a safe distance from the police.

It is not that guys like this photographer make cops dislike photographers—some cops already do. Some simply don't like anyone not bowing down before them. I see nothing wrong with catching those cops acting badly; they give the rest a bad name and are a threat to law-abiding citizens.

I have met a lot of police officers, and the vast majority have been excellent at their jobs. I have even met one who got overzealous with me once, and later was friendly; he turned out to have been mistaken and reacted wrong one time, but wasn't a jerk in general.

I have also been threatened illegally.

As for guys like the photog in question, or the many others who do the same thing ... If they are looking for abuse and find it, that isn't because they Created the abuse. The photog here did nothing to warrant being grabbed, or having his camera seized (and he is very lucky he didn't lose the camera and go to jail. I have seen policemen lie on the stand and with his recording gone, the photog had no defense.)

I don't think the guy is a hero, but I don't mind that there are people out there exposing bad cops, any more than I mind people exposing bad businessmen or dangerous doctors are pedophile priests. Weed out the rare bad one so people can trust the good ones.

You realize that as much as the police might not trust photographers, there are as many citizens who don't trust police, because they have met cops like that second one? Go tell that second cop he is undermining the system, not the photog who caught the cop breaking the law.

The system works when a good police officer is put in this situation: the actions of the first officer show exactly how.




  
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moose10101
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Jun 30, 2014 13:02 |  #94

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #17003189 (external link)
So I've been trying to figure out just how to put my problem with the "photographer" in this specific video. I'm going to give it a try.

First off, maybe we see the video differently, and that's fine, we are all different people, but from his own words, and the way this all went down on video for us to watch, my read on this was he was looking for this conflict. Not that he was downtown learning to shoot in low light. No, he explains several times that he is shooting specific buildings, the kind of buildings that 10 years ago were the cause of MANY photographers being harassed for "homeland security" reasons. ie: public buildings that some sorts of security and leo types woudl somehow consider "sensitive"

His narrative to us real time is that he is waiting for this encounter, and he is setting up the situation specifically to engage these officers.

I can agree that he may have been trying to create an encounter. However, whether that encounter became a conflict was in the hands of the person who had a well-defined level of authority, but could choose to exceed it. The officer did exactly that; the conflict was his doing.

The photographer was approached by the first LEO, and both acted appropriately. And guess what? No conflict. That's how it should work every time. There's no excuse for any police officer to enforce a non-existent law. And I'd say the odds are pretty good that an officer who would choose to act that way in that situation is probably acting inappropriately when there are no cameras around, too.




  
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Jun 30, 2014 13:27 |  #95

DocFrankenstein wrote in post #17003243 (external link)
It's like harassing the palace guard to prove the queen is corrupt. You can succeed and get a reaction, but it might not prove anything.

Heh! No, it's like standing across the street from the palace guard and taking photos/videos of them going about their public duties, wondering if some of them will come over to confront or maybe to illegally harass you, and lo, one of them comes over to question you and you provide required information, and he moves on, but then another one comes over and "breaks the rules" by threatening you and then by physically trying to seize your gear!

You all should realize, I'm not defending the photographer as far as his attitudes go, but he didn't actually do anything wrong here in the legal sense, he didn't act hostile or antagonistic toward the LEOs, although he did refuse to comply with demands that were themselves wrong!


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DocFrankenstein
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Jun 30, 2014 13:40 |  #96

moose10101 wrote in post #17003303 (external link)
I can agree that he may have been trying to create an encounter. However, whether that encounter became a conflict was in the hands of the person who had a well-defined level of authority, but could choose to exceed it. The officer did exactly that; the conflict was his doing.

So his skirt WAS too short, he WANTED the attention, but he got more than he bargained for? Is this what this came down to?


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CyberDyneSystems
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Jun 30, 2014 13:42 |  #97

Just to be clear, this is not my first post in this thread, and I am in no way defending the 2nd officer.
I am not taking his side. My post above is concerning the photographer and his actions only. By focusing on the photographers action in my post above, I am not condoning anyone else' actions.

just want to be clear on that.

That said, you all make some good strong points.

which brings me to part of why I felt the desire to post above;

I am not an officer of any kind. I am a photographer, Theatre techy and Educator. But lets just say photographer for this discussion.

Often when I here in the news of a subset of a group behaving poorly, I get angered at the larger group, that they aren't stepping forward to do more to "control" their errant brethren. Politics and religion rules on this forum prevent me from discussing the vast majority of these "groups" even as an example, so I'll use a fictitious example.

If the Cleveland Branch of the Freemasons decides to that Shriners are no good and thus trashes the Shriners temple,. I'd want to see the whole of the Freemason organization coming out publicly not just to give a verbal reprimand to the Cleveland bunch, I'd want them to disbar them, excommunicate, whatever term they use. I'd want the Freemasons to take an active role in deterring other Freemasons from behaving in a similar manner. This sort of lack of action of the parent group angers me every time, and it in my mind = supporting the dangerous faction.

I'd hope that Law Officers would be willing to tell this 2nd Officer he was in the wrong, but I'm not an Officer.

I am a photographer and would like to be part of the voice that condemns, and does not condone by omission, the actions of this photographer. This is part of the club I'm in. So it's up to us as photographers to tell this guy he's doing it wrong IMHO.


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Maelochs
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Jun 30, 2014 14:05 |  #98

Mr. Cyberdyne: Your clarification helps, but ....

To me this guy is Not a "photographer." He is a 'copwatcher." (After I saw this video I found there a a lot of websites for this--citizens trying to film bad cops.) I'd bet he doesn't see himself as a "photographer" primarily either.

So how do we deal with this? particularly in light of the fact that a lot of police were anti-photographer long before this guy came along.

I don't want the "copwatch" crews to stand down--I think every officer should have a little video camera on his person at all times (some city or state does this now, I believe) because it dramatically reduces abuse of power, and can also vindicate an officer should a citizen try to entrap him.

I totally get the idea that groups need to be self-policing; this is an issue I have on occasion discussed with groups I have been in (usually inciting angry reactions because of the common "Us vs. Them" mentality.)

Pretty soon though absolutely every citizen all the time will have a portable video recorder on hand (most do already.) Are they all "photographers" (as are all bloggers reporters?) Tough call.

Anyway ... I don't know what I would tell this guy except maybe that he might find out that police can arrest someone illegally, so knowing your rights is a great thing, but not impenetrable armor, and cops can lie on the stand, so having made and lost a recording isn't an unbreakable shield.

Beyond that, I am in favor of citizen activism--can't have government by the people if the people are afraid of government. I guess the best course would be to say, "I am a Reporter/Photographer/​Hobbyist/whatever---not one of those 'copwatch' kids. I am really just out here taking photos."

Problem is that already doesn't work when you meet Officer Number Two.

Not trying to determine "Right" and "Wrong" here, just sharing and learning different views. I know I don't know, so I know I should listen, but i just keep talking ... :)




  
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MattPharmD
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Jun 30, 2014 14:08 |  #99

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #17003366 (external link)
Just to be clear, this is not my first post in this thread, and I am in no way defending the 2nd officer.
I am not taking his side. My post above is concerning the photographer and his actions only. By focusing on the photographers action in my post above, I am not condoning anyone else' actions.

just want to be clear on that.

That said, you all make some good strong points.

which brings me to part of why I felt the desire to post above;

I am not an officer of any kind. I am a photographer, Theatre techy and Educator. But lets just say photographer for this discussion.

Often when I here in the news of a subset of a group behaving poorly, I get angered at the larger group, that they aren't stepping forward to do more to "control" their errant brethren. Politics and religion rules on this forum prevent me from discussing the vast majority of these "groups" even as an example, so I'll use a fictitious example.

If the Cleveland Branch of the Freemasons decides to that Shriners are no good and thus trashes the Shriners temple,. I'd want to see the whole of the Freemason organization coming out publicly not just to give a verbal reprimand to the Cleveland bunch, I'd want them to disbar them, excommunicate, whatever term they use. I'd want the Freemasons to take an active role in deterring other Freemasons from behaving in a similar manner. This sort of lack of action of the parent group angers me every time, and it in my mind = supporting the dangerous faction.

I'd hope that Law Officers would be willing to tell this 2nd Officer he was in the wrong, but I'm not an Officer.

I am a photographer and would like to be part of the voice that condemns, and does not condone by omission, the actions of this photographer. This is part of the club I'm in. So it's up to us as photographers to tell this guy he's doing it wrong IMHO.

EXCEPT, what the photographer did was NOT illegal. Therefore, whether he did was wrong or not is up for interpretation. What the officer did WAS illegal, therefore there is no interpretation needed on the "wrongness" of the officer's actions.

Also, to your example... the Shriner's are a branch of Freemasonry. All shriners are masons, not all masons are shriners. Not really a point here, just a comment.


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moose10101
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Jun 30, 2014 14:24 |  #100

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #17003366 (external link)
I'd hope that Law Officers would be willing to tell this 2nd Officer he was in the wrong, but I'm not an Officer.

I worked with police officers for nearly a decade. What you're hoping for doesn't happen.

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #17003366 (external link)
I am a photographer and would like to be part of the voice that condemns, and does not condone by omission, the actions of this photographer. This is part of the club I'm in. So it's up to us as photographers to tell this guy he's doing it wrong IMHO.

I'm not willing to condemn someone who makes himself a test case while acting within his rights under the law, especially when there have been so many instances of police officers trying to take those rights away through intimidation or physical force.




  
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Miki ­ G
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Jun 30, 2014 15:13 |  #101

I would be suspicious of a guy photographing / videotaping a courthouse where the police were gathered (for whatever reason), especially at night. This does not imply that the photographer is doing anything illegal, but it would not be something that an officer is likely to be familiar with. I think that the 1st officer was right to approach & try to assess the situation. He was polite (as was the photographer) & he didn't accuse him of doing anything wrong. It would be reasonable to ask for some sort of identification too. Overall, there wasn't any problem with the approach & the photographer was told that he was free to go.
The problem started with the 2nd officer approaching & preventing the photographer from leaving the scene. He (2nd officer) wanted to show "who's Boss" and his attitude was confrontational from the start. The photographer told him that he had already dealt with the other officer and that he hadn't done anything wrong. The photographer possibly felt he was being harassed at this point & was right to become defensive. The 2nd officer had no right to touch the photographer or his camera, but again was trying to show his perceived power & the photographer was right to refuse to co-operate & exercised his rights.
The 1st officer realised that the 2nd officer was wrong and basically defused the situation & the photographer was again free to leave.
I believe that photographers should put themselves in the officer's shoes before becoming confrontational about rights etc. Ask yourself, why would the officer be suspicious of your activities. The photographer is this case admitted that he had been filming traffic stops earlier. I'd have to ask Why?
I was approached in the past & could totally understand why the officer would think my actions were "unusual" rather than suspicious. Once I explained what I was doing, identified myself & showed him the photos that I had taken, he left without any problem.




  
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Jun 30, 2014 15:31 |  #102

Tedder wrote in post #16999531 (external link)
It's good to have the right to be provocative, and it's also good to have the discernment to know when to exercise it.

Yes, this. Exactly.


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Maelochs
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Jun 30, 2014 15:48 |  #103

Tedder:
"It's good to have the right to be provocative, and it's also good to have the discernment to know when to exercise it."

AZGeorge: "Yes, this. Exactly."

Ah, but in this case we can reasonably assume the recorder wanted a confrontation—he didn't learn all his rights accidentally. He is part of the "copwatch" movement which tried s to catch cops breaking the law.

While he was not deliberately Provoking a confrontation, I think he was deliberately inviting one. Possibly he was filming traffic stops to catch cop s using "stop and frisk" illegally (this was mentioned on a related website.)

The guy wasn't trying to start a problem, specifically, but he wasn't there, with the ready knowledge of his rights, by accident. What he was trying to do, as near as I can tell, is just what he did: catch a cop breaking the law.

Considering the number of complaints other people on other websites posted about the offending officer and others in that town, this guy might have gone to that own specifically looking for abuses to capture on film.

I am (pretty) sure he knew he could end up beat up and in jail with no camera, but was young and cocky and decided not to care.




  
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Jun 30, 2014 16:11 |  #104

EOS-Mike wrote in post #17003082 (external link)
I side with the photographer, of course, because the law really was on his side. He was a little arrogant with the cops, I suppose. Not sure if that's the right term. I believe he was fishing for a confrontation and he got it. He also got the result he desired and a personal victory. His victory may also benefit others. In the long run, the photographer did nothing that would hurt the cause of freedom. He helped all of us who take pictures in public places.

When the officer said "post 9-11" I took offense. Post 9-11? Why don't we just say "post Pearl Harbor" instead?

Our nation has been attacked before 9-11 and will be attacked again. But using 9-11 as an excuse is really low and lame from the perspective of educated, enlightened people who know better.

It's a huge stretch to tie foreign students on visas who trained on flight simulators in Florida before highjacking and crashing planes to a kid on a street corner in a small, Texas town who films traffic stops.

Sorry about the soap box here (which is walking a fine line on POTN, because anything these days gets categorized as political), but by simply saying "in a post 9-11 world" you are literally feeling the exact emotion that the terrorists intended you to feel: terror.

The solution to a terrorist attack on the U.S. is to counter with MORE freedom for its citizens, not less.

Am I the only one who gets this? Or was I the odd one for seeing the hypocrisy in closing the Statue of Liberty after 9-11 for several years (eight, actually)?

They say "ignorance is bliss." I think that might be true. :(

Pearl Harbor was used as an excuse to imprison thousands of US Citizens, so I'd say that this sort of crap is insignificant by comparison. This is only an incident at all because of the prevalence of social media and because the photographer was looking to create a sensation. Otherwise, what possible reason did he have to be shooting video of what appeared to be a traffic stop?

There was nothing artistic or newsworthy about any of it until he just kept filming after he had attracted the attention of the police. It didn't take watching the incident very long to see that there wasn't anything exciting happening, yet he kept pushing his luck until he found a pushy, poorly trained, probably underpaid small town cop to bait.


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MattPharmD
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Jun 30, 2014 16:17 |  #105

Preeb wrote in post #17003655 (external link)
Pearl Harbor was used as an excuse to imprison thousands of US Citizens, so I'd say that this sort of crap is insignificant by comparison. This is only an incident at all because of the prevalence of social media and because the photographer was looking to create a sensation. Otherwise, what possible reason did he have to be shooting video of a traffic stop?

There was nothing artistic or newsworthy about any of it until he just kept filming after he had attracted the attention of the police. It didn't take watching the incident very long to see that there wasn't anything exciting happening, yet he kept pushing his luck until he found a pushy, poorly trained, probably underpaid small town cop to bait.

Except, if you have hard of the copwatch movement, every traffic stop, every detainment, every arrest has the potential to be newsworthy and should be recorded (in their eyes). We are recorded do so many things, why should cops care if they are just doing their jobs. Some reason they care because cops don't always function within the bounds of the law. This person was looking to hold cops accountable for their actions. He managed to do just that. He caught a cop breaking the law (or attempting/threatening to) and held the cop accountable through social media.

What happened before social media and camera phones? Why, some cops were great (just as they are now). Others got away with anything because there was no way to hold them accountable.


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