Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NYPD still harrassing photographers

From the NY Times:

In the map of New York’s most forsaken places, it would be hard to top the Freeman Street stop on the No. 2 line in the Bronx, late on a February afternoon. Around 4:30 last Thursday, Robert Taylor stood on the station’s elevated platform, taking a picture of a train.

“A few buildings in place,” he noted. “Nice little cloud cover overhead. I usually use them as wallpaper on my computer.”

Finished with his camera, Mr. Taylor, 30, was about to board the train when a police officer called to him. He stepped back from the train.

“The cop wanted my ID, and I showed it to him,” Mr. Taylor said. “He told me I couldn’t take the pictures. I told him that’s not true, that the rules permitted it. He said I was wrong. I said, ‘I’m willing to bet your paycheck.’ ”

Mr. Taylor was right. The officer was enforcing a nonexistent rule. And if recent experience is any guide, one paycheck won’t come close to covering what a wrongful arrest in this kind of case could cost the taxpayers.


Photo from AM-NY

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

The police are put in a no-win situation. Let everyone take pictures and some pictures will be taken by terrorists, let no one take pictures and legitimate artists and news-photographers cannot make a living, let some take pictures and then claims of racism and favoritism will ring out.

In many foreign countries you can be arrested on the spot for taking pictures of police barracks and military installations. This has been common since long before 911. If you travel, ask for guidance before you start taking pictures of anything other than trees.

georgetheatheist said...

Does one have to show an ID to an officer when stopped? If so, what is the constitutional rationale for this?

BTW, a friend of mine was arrested a few years ago for a similar situation. He hired a lawyer and won $35,000.00 for the incident.

Anonymous said...

Does one have to show an ID to an officer when stopped?

NO, but if you are doing something they deem wrong they can bring you in, many people think they can get hauled in for loittering but there needs to be a reason for the cop to suspect you are loitering with intent to commit a crime. There is no constitutional rationale just post 9/11 fear

Anonymous said...

I had a similar situation
photographing the rear of a building at the end of Davis Street near the Court House Square #7 stop and was confronted by State Police.

I was extremely courteous and explained my artistic intent and willingly offered my ID (moving very slowly after asking for permission to enter my pocket).

After explaing to one officer
that I was permitted to take photos in any public place he got huffy (as insecure cops will often do) and said, "Are you telling me the law"?

I responded by saying, "No, I'm just telling you that I know my
rights under the law".

After indicating that he could seize my camera I explained that it just came out of the repair shop a week ago and that I would expect it to be returned to me in good condition if that was to be the case.

I further let them know that I had just returned from a medical exam
and that I was on my way to another
(should they have considered a more exotic use for their batons).

One cop faltered for a moment mumbling that everyone is very concerned since 9/11 occurred. I nodded that I agreed with him.

I informed the officers that if they had any problem with me that they could cuff me and take me in.

I even politely offered them my outstretched hands.

They backed off, probably knowing that would require them to bring me to Penn Station where their barracks are located and put their 2 man car out of commission leaving the train yard completely unguarded.

To be a good sport I let them know that I had contributed $800 worth of my art to an auction benefiting 9/11 emergency responders.

We parted on good terms.

I guess that arresting a senior citizen wasn't going to look good to their commander, my lawyer or the NYC press corps!

Advice:

Step #1.
Always address any cop as officer
so and so (read his name tag).
That shows respect and makes them immediately more calm and respectful of you. Calling a cop by his name also shows him you're no fool from the get-go.

Step #2.
Stay cool and observant and
treat them as fearful children under pressure but don't let them catch on that you're patronizing them in any way. Sarcasm gets you no where with the uniformed services.

Good luck and be careful out there!

Lino said...

This is another b.s. window dressing.

I take pics often..I have a good lawyer too.

Some other examples of taxpayer dollars waste:

Subway backpack checks. Have you ever seen one of these pathetic set-ups? A couple of cops randomly stopping people in order to appear 'busy".

If terrorists were intent on blowing up something in a subway station they would have over 400 to choose from. They would most likely sen in Mohammad#1 as a scout and if a checkpoint was sighted, he would simply tell Mohammad #2 to board at a prior station.

If cops ever approached an actual terrorist, they would probably detonate their charge killing everyone nearby -including the police.

It's the same make-work-overtime that you see at the Astoria Blvd entrance to the Tri-borough bdge. They stopped cars for "inspection' -while hundreds speed by from the Grand Central pkwy.

What a joke.

I hear we are down to approx 34,000 cops. Now that's progress.

Anonymous said...

Exactly.

Police having this kind of time on their hands is evidence that a little fat-cutting in NYPD couldn't hurt.

georgetheatheist said...

"Have you ever seen one of these pathetic set-ups?"

I wonder how "pathetic" it really is. It does keep the terrorists guessing.

Have you ever seen the immense mobilization of police cars in Manhattan on exercise? Usually around the 42nd St.-UN area. Maybe 30-40 cars in a row with their lights flashing. Moving from one venue to the next.

It reminds me of the sailing of the Great White Fleet at the end of Teddy Roosevelt's term in office.

www.greatwhitefleet.info

Anonymous said...

"Rule 1050.9 (c) of the state code says, 'Photography..."

no, its doesn't. thats the MTA code, not the state code. I carry a printout of this exact code rule with my gear.

Lino said...

"I wonder how "pathetic" it really is. It does keep the terrorists guessing."

It's just for show. They have been doing these actions for 7 years and found..nothing. Use some common sense here.

The -only- effective way to deter/stop terrorist plotshere is to infiltrate Islamic organizations (mosques, coffee houses etc) get -legal- wiretaps and keeping up contacts within various communities.

I'am reasonably sure the NYPD does these, but the stop-search is just for show.

"Have you ever seen the immense mobilization of police cars in Manhattan"

I live a block and a half from the Met Museum. Every fall we have events there with "dignitaries' -the cops have Con-ed weld the manholes, set up phone lines and watchtowers, they often put snipers on rooftops. What they can't do is search the apartments along the way. There will always be an element of risk in a free society. Those motorcades are, again mostly show, the real protection comes from bullet/explosion resistant vehicles.

We are wasting -alot- of money just to show the public that "something" is being done. The important stuff can't be shown.

Anonymous said...

cops.. lol... sad.. how the elite place working class people against each other. One day we will rise... until then... watch American Idol

Anonymous said...

At least they didn't taser you.

-Joe said...

I tazered for on Main Mall during the US Open by the LIRR pathway.
(taking photos of the Unisphere and its fountains that run 2 weeks a year)

I started arguing with the cop and before you knew it had 4 on top of me.
They hauled me into the trailor and took my media card. Then forced me to stay seated till some paramedic cheked me out.
They later tried to use my media card with a whole 3 photos against me.

You cant have whatever some rookie or MTA bootjacker wishes to call a "professionl camera" or a tripod"

Cost me $500 for a lawyer who was a friend of mine to get it dropped to a $75 ticket.

The Camera was a 6 megapixel Fuju S602 SLR

Lino said...

"You cant have whatever some rookie or MTA bootjacker wishes to call a "professional camera" or a tripod"

As for MTA rules, there are three criteria;

-No tripod
-No flash
-Do not impede operations or pedestrian flow.

There is also some boilerplate about "sensitive areas" but unless you are actually trespassing, the designation is too loose to stand up in court.

Again, this who issue is asinine, true terrorists know the restrictions and will simply photograph in a clandestine manner using any of the tiny cellphone cameras or telephoto lenses.

The bigger issue here is the creeping surveillance-police state.

Maspethian said...

"Have you ever seen one of these pathetic set-ups?"

-"I wonder how "pathetic" it really is. It does keep the terrorists guessing."

I agree with George. Not every measure is designed to find a bomb. But it is necessary for law enforcement to show a presence. It has a deterrence factor. It forces groups to change plans, keeps them guessing and keeps them on the move.

"It's just for show. They have been doing these actions for 7 years and found..nothing. Use some common sense here."

And there have been no terror attacks either. Your words could be spun to support the program.

I realize and agree that taking pics is, and should remain to be legal in the subways. I dont think that people who do so should be harassed at all if they show no other signs of bein a danger.

But this resistance to allowing searches of the bags of those entering a subway is silly. I was over the past couple of years, taken aside and searched separately 7 trips in a row at airports. Big friggin deal.

Anonymous said...

I guess not all people are as willing as you to give up liberty in return for "safety", or as you admit, "police presence".

Lino said...

Maspethian said...

"But this resistance to allowing searches of the bags of those entering a subway is silly. I was over the past couple of years, taken aside and searched separately 7 trips in a row at airports."

---Airports are a completely different matter. You do realize this....?

You there have a restricted number of people entering through a single path to a single conveyance -the plane.

NY subway has over 460 stations.

Similarly, checking random cars at the entrance Astoria blvd entrance to the Triborough is idiotic when there are dozens of on-ramps via the GCP that blow right past that "check point".

By contrast, banning trucks from the lower level GW makes sense.

Not -all- police actions are stupid or "for show" but we may have deferred too much to the PD and are seeing actions that are little more than harassment and intimidation.

Again, try common sense, do you really think that a suicide bomber is going to be deterred by some cop in a flak jacket and assault rifle on a subway platform...or anywhere else?

This city pays out over a hundred million dollars/yr due to lawsuits against the police dept for brutality and false arrest.

Police are necessary but they must be tightly controlled or you inevitablely end-up with The Mexico City pd or the Haitian ton-ton makud.

Maspethian said...

"Again, try common sense, do you really think that a suicide bomber is going to be deterred by some cop in a flak jacket and assault rifle on a subway platform...or anywhere else? "

Answer: Yes. I think even suicide bombers are logical. They want to maximize the number of people they kill. If you prevent them from entering a crowded subway platform then objective achieved.

I will allow myself to be subjected to such a humuiliating and degrading cursory search of my shopping bag for that.

"This city pays out over a hundred million dollars/yr due to lawsuits against the police dept for brutality and false arrest."

Identify one incident linked to subway searches.

Queens Crapper said...

Someone with something to hide is going to see the bag check and turn around and leave the station. It's a waste of time, money and manpower.

Anonymous said...

Maspethian, in his tortured logic, believes that transforming NYC into a police state will deter terrorists. How foolish and un-American! Where's the evidence that bag checks work? How can the police check each and every one of the hundreds of thousands of subway riders to ensure that there's no one carrying a bomb during the average rush hour commute? This Bushian dog and pony show wastes tax payer dollars and does not make us any safer.

Anonymous said...

Answer: Yes. I think even suicide bombers are logical. They want to maximize the number of people they kill. If you prevent them from entering a crowded subway platform then objective achieved.

Blowing yourself up for god is logical? and if you create a bottleneck of people getting search they'll kill more people than on the platform because the explosion will be in a contained area. The same is true at an airport, they don't need to take down a plane just cause fear

Anonymous said...

Someone with something to hide is going to see the bag check and turn around and leave the station. It's a waste of time, money and manpower.

NO! Crapper, that's the freaken point!

Maspethian said...

"Blowing yourself up for god is logical?"

Logical in ends not means. They are fanatical in their means, I admit. But you dont see logic in the 9/11 attacks?

"Where's the evidence that bag checks work?"

No attacks, maybe.

G said...

using "no attacks" as evidence that bag searches work is just like picking up a twig from the ground and selling it as a bear deterrent.

"A stick you say?"
"Yes...do you see a bear attacking us?"
"no"
"So you can see how well it works."
"I'll take two!"

---

Another thing that grinds my gears is frequently seeing 2-3 overweight-to-obese officers at Grand Central's 7 platform schmoozing and then one of them sticks their head into a stopped cart (usually the end or front) and thinks to themselves, "I wonder if my mother's here? oop, guess not." I feel so safe knowing that nothing can happen to me when standing in the last three cars of the 7-line. Heaven forbid that they patrol that platform at all...as though there weren't and people scaring the tourists right by the middle of the station with forcible charity and fake schizophrenic mumblings.