Saturday, July 31, 2010

Amtrak arrests one of their contestants


From the NY Times:

One afternoon, Duane P. Kerzic was arrested by the Amtrak police while taking pictures of a train pulling into Pennsylvania Station. At first, the police asked him to delete the images from his camera, but he refused. He ended up handcuffed to the wall of a holding cell while an officer wrote a ticket for trespassing.

Mr. Kerzic, a semiprofessional photographer, proceeded to describe his detention on his Web site and included images of the summons. He also hired a lawyer to sue.

In due course, Stephen Colbert of “The Colbert Report” arrived to sound the gong. He turned the Kerzic story into a segment called “Nailed ’Em.” It mocked Amtrak without mercy.

“Finally,” Mr. Colbert reported, “Kerzic cracked and revealed the reason he was taking his terrifying photos.”

Mr. Kerzic appeared on the screen.

“The reason I was taking photos of trains is that every year Amtrak has a contest; it’s called ‘Picture Our Train,’ ” he explained.

Soon after the show was broadcast, a strange thing happened. The section of Mr. Kerzic’s Web site that dealt with Amtrak all but vanished. His lawsuit was settled, and as a condition of the deal, he had to remove his writings about the episode. Now his page on Amtrak — at duanek.name/Amtrak/ — contains two words: “No Comment!”

Mr. Kerzic and his lawyer, Gerald Cohen, both said they couldn’t talk about what had become of the Web pages describing the arrest and his commentary about it. Carlos Miller, a photographer and blogger who followed the case, reported that Mr. Kerzic received a “five-figure” settlement.

But how could Amtrak — the national railroad, whose preferred stock is owned by the American public and whose chief executive and board of directors are appointed by the president and confirmed by Congress — require that a Web site criticizing the railroad be shut down as a condition of settling a lawsuit for wrongful arrest?

What qualifications does Amtrak have to function as a censor?

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

guy's an azzhole.

if a terrorist blew up the train and was seen videotaping it the day before - everyone including YOU would be beeching about it.

He's an American - he knows the rules are there for a REASON.

He deserved a FINE!

Anonymous said...

Ditto the above commenter. Photography is not allowed in many places that are terror targets. He should have deleted the pictures and gone somewhere other than Penn Station to take his pics. Instead, he's been rewarded taxpayer money for causing a stink.

Queens Crapper said...

Does anyone really think a terrorist is going to be photographing the exterior of a train in the middle of the day in Penn Station in front of police?

Anonymous said...

And why would Amtrak run a contest if they are afraid of people taking photos of their trains.

Hello...common sense?

Anonymous said...

He got what he really wanted; publicity and a lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really think a terrorist is going to be photographing the exterior of a train in the middle of the day in Penn Station in front of police?

It's not the picture of the train. It's the other 400 pictures on the camera's media card of the structure of the station, supports, entrances, passageways, alcoves, the rails, signals, etc.

Did anyone think a terrorist would commandeer a plane into the WTC or Pentagon?

faster340 said...

The guy settled for cash and a gag order about that whole that's why!

Amtrak said here is a certain amount of $$$ and if you want this cash you must shut your mouth and take the comments off your website or have nothing.

Queens Crapper said...

And they found photos of the infrastructure of Penn Station on this guy's media card? No. If he was taking those, he wouldn't have been taking photos of a train sitting in the station.

Taking photos in public is still legal, so far as I can tell.

Anonymous said...

He put us ALL at risk by putting posting the video on his website - can we sue HIM?

I resent the fact that MY money went to this halfwit.

Queens Crapper said...

How did he put us all at risk by posting the video of a public place on his website (something he never did)?

SGI said...

Some links, which clarify misconceptions some of you have about this matter:

Photography in the Subway:
http://www.nycsubway.org/faq/photography.html

Photograph on Transit Systems:
http://www.nycsubway.org/faq/photopermits.html


Finally, NYPD Operations Order regarding photography of public buildings, places and structures:
http://www.nycphotorights.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/nypd.jpg

The last one should be downloaded, printed and carried on your person if you intend to take a photo safari and snap pictures of any of the places indicated in the order. If you're confronted by a cop telling you that you can't take pictures someplace, don't get into a pissing contest. Just pull out the copy of the order you should have stuffed int your camera bag, and, hand it to the cop for his perusal. I'm a law and order type; but, let's face realities. There are times when you'll run into some dope from Ronkonkama with a shield pinned on his chest, thinking that that same badge entitles him to abuse his authority. Showing him that order will not only "learn him somethin'", it'll put him in his place.

Anonymous said...

a search for "penn station amtrak" yields 40,000 images and 1,900 videos.

Anonymous said...

And they found photos of the infrastructure of Penn Station on this guy's media card? No. If he was taking those, he wouldn't have been taking photos of a train sitting in the station.

Taking photos in public is still legal, so far as I can tell.


Does it say they DIDN'T find infrastructure photos on the media card? It's neither here nor there if they did or not, because the point it photography in Penn Station is not allow. Infrastructure, trains, people. Not allowed. Amtrak's property, Amtrak's rules, Amtrak police arrested him.

Amtrak is a government owned corporation, and all preferred stock in Amtrak is owned by the federal government. Again, not PUBLIC property. (To the above L&O type: Penn Station is owned by Amtrak and the LIRR and NJ Transit are lease holders. It is not their property, and your last link regarding the NYPD Operations Order does not apply. The photographer in question was not arrested by the NYPD, but by Amtrak police, a federal entity.)

Queens Crapper said...

Here's proof that you don't know what you're talking about:

Amtrak Corporate Guidelines on Photography and Video Recording

Queens Crapper said...

Read this too, for more info.

Anonymous said...

wasn't there a big explosion at the Madrid ,Spain train station a few years ago ? many travelers were killed by the terrorists.

it changed the nation's support of the military in the middle east and they elected a liberal president,when the conservative was ahead in the polls.if one researches the attack,no doubt pre bombing photos were taken by the terrorists.

we are at war and do not ever forget it.

staying naive can get many of us killed.

Queens Crapper said...

Yes, people boarded the trains with backpacks full of explosives.

What does that have to do with photography?

Lino said...

"Queens Crapper said...

Does anyone really think a terrorist is going to be photographing the exterior of a train in the middle of the day in Penn Station in front of police?"


Or that they wouldn't be able to hide the camera and or shoot from a distance where police can't interfere?

Do a search for "Spy shop" and check out what is available there. See if some dumb functionary would be able to detect the skillful use of these tiny ccd cameras.


These sorts of arrests are just about cop ego and civil service advancement...it backfired this time.

Babs said...

Trains are vulnerable to attack - as are bridges and tunnels - this is WHY no photos are allowed to be taken.

All videos and photos could be used in terrorist training.

AND the photographer may have known this prior and set this all up for his own self-aggrandizement - who knows.

Anyway - I agree with the first poster - the guy's a jerk.

Queens Crapper said...

And what you folks don't seem to understand is that photos of trains are not illegal. That's why they held a contest and why the guy's charges were dropped.

Please get that through your thick heads.

Anonymous said...

read "the terror web" by lawrence wright ,the new yorker, aug.2,2004.

on march 11, 191 train travelers were blown up and 1600 were injured by terrorist bombs. al qaeda was involved.
on april 2, another bomb was found on the tracks,prior to a commuter train carrying 1200 travelers was expected.

when trapped at their dwelling ,the perps committed suicide, video cameras and tapes were found.

the jihadists use the internet for world communication and distribution of instructions to their cells.

hopefully our professionals intercept all of it. we only have to err once.

i use my camera also,but i would not use it at lincoln cntr. garages,the underpass at penn. station/m.s.g.,the federal court house prison entrance,and one police plaza,and wall street.

the security workers have reason to be jumpy.
the "rules of engagement" used by the left wing in government to tie our military's hands, must not be used when protecting our civilians at home.

our enemies are targeting your family enjoying a day on the town.

Babs said...

"the security workers have reason to be jumpy.
the "rules of engagement" used by the left wing in government to tie our military's hands, must not be used when protecting our civilians at home."

In googling the story for further info - I see that this guy is a self-proclaimed Conservative Republican - just so you know.

Anony2 said...

Wow, for the first time in several years of reading QC I actually disagree with Crappy! Even more amazing, gor the first time ever I actually agree with Babs!

But we don't know the details of settlement, it may have been a third party (mediator/arbitrator) that came up with the settlement / gag order.

Actually it's nice to see Amtrak police taking action to keep us safe, and when all doesn't go well to know our legal system offers a type of recourse. This is still the USA, for now anyway.

Babs said...

"Even more amazing, gor the first time ever I actually agree with Babs!"

George Burns once said "wisdom is the comb God gives you when you lose your hair".

your hair thinning by any chance?

Queens Crapper said...

How exactly did arresting this guy for participating in a photo contest keep us safe?

SGI said...

"How exactly did arresting this guy for participating in a photo contest keep us safe?"

Those pointless skreeds are made by uninformed sheeple. Notice that not one can specifically explain how preventing people from pursuing a completely legal activity increases their safety. Terrorists don't need to photograph trains, platforms, tracks, etc., in person. Thanks to wonderfully expansive WWW, no leg work is required.

Funny that the same sheeple who call Duane names, for exercising his rights under the law,would be screaming bloody murder if the web was censored exactly for the same reason.......to keep them "safe".

To quote Ben Franklin, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Anonymous said...

What you're not seeing, oh crappy one, is the whole picture. It's not the photo(s) of the trains that are the issue, it's taking photos in a place where photography is not allowed.

SGI said...

"What you're not seeing, oh crappy one, is the whole picture. It's not the photo(s) of the trains that are the issue, it's taking photos in a place where photography is not allowed.

What you fail to understand, is that photograph is allowed from platforms and other publically accessible areas. That's the whole point of this guy's lawsuit. He wasn't breaking any laws. It's not the job of the Amtrak police to interpret the statutes governing photography in a manner which is convenient to justify their action. They are required to enforce these laws as they are written. No more; no less.

Kevin Walsh said...

Crapper, you have some halfwit commentators today.

The MTA permits photography in the subways and commuter railroads, but not flash equipment or tripods. Plain and simple.

What the cops do is another matter. I think some precinct commanders instruct cops to accost photographers and worry about whatever permissions there are or aren't later.

www.forgotten-ny.com, which has hundreds of photographs taken in subways and commuter railroads

Anonymous said...

How, in Penn Station, did he get down to the platform without a ticket? Whenever I travel by amtrak, which is a lot, there are guards at the entrances to the tracks checking tickets and photo ID.

Second, amtrak is not acting as a censor. Amtrak merely made an offer to the photographer, which the photographer accepted, to drop the charges for a lot of money, on the condition that the photographer no longer speak about the incident. These types of contracts happen all the time, are perfectly legal, and are the American Way.

Babs said...

From Wiki - "After the September 11 attacks in New York, the MTA was extremely wary of anyone taking photographs or recording video inside the system. The MTA proposed banning all photography and recording in a meeting around June 2004.[82] However, due to strong response from both the public and from civil rights groups, the rule of conduct was dropped. In November 2004, the MTA again put this rule up for approval, but was again denied.[83] However, some police officers and transit workers still confronted people who were not authorized personnel.[84]

On April 3, 2009, the NYPD issued a directive to officers stating that it is legal to take pictures within the subway system so long as it is not accompanied with suspicious activity.[85]

Currently, the MTA Rules of Conduct,[86] Restricted Areas and Activities section states that anyone may take pictures or record video, provided that they do not violate MTA regulations:"

Pretty defensive this morning Kevin - or is that your usual style?

No one in this thread has insulted the other for having a difference of opinion - which is unusual actually so I'm kind of surprised at your post. In any event YOU'RE a jerk too for insulting those of us who are more supportive of the protective actions of the cop in the station.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, Crappy, etc.:

Penn Station is NOT MTA property. It is not under jurisdiction of NYPD, so all of the quotes y'all are providing regarding those entities are irrelevant as proof for your side of the argument. Not saying you're right or wrong, but this is an AMTRAK property and police issue, not MTA or NYPD.

Queens Crapper said...

You obviously did not read the links I provided to Amtrak or to the other blog that summarized their policies prior to this incident.

Photography in public places everywhere is legal. Period.

Anonymous said...

According to Amtrak policy, no photography is allowed in restricted areas and platforms are restricted areas, unless you have a ticket to board the train, so unless this photographer had a ticket, it was against Amtrak policy for him to be taking photographs on the platform.

Queens Crapper said...

1) So how did he get down on the platform? Have you ever taken Amtrak? They check your ticket before they let you down there.

2) Those rules were rewritten after the incident.

Anonymous said...

some l.i.r.r. commuters to the city,leave the train at hunters point and take a car service the rest of the trip.why?

our homeland security only has to err once. and then............................fill in the blanks.

Queens Crapper said...

Why?

Because they are snobs that won't take the subway. Both the LIRR and subway are owned by the MTA.

Anonymous said...

Hey assholes, you know what they LEAST find when they catch terrorists? Photographs and cameras.

Anonymous said...

i suggest that you read :"the cell"by john miller ,"the man who warned America" by murray weiss.

they both detail how the terrorists planned and executed the W.T.C. bombing.

video-taping cameras and tapes were tools for their
diabolical deeds of mass destruction of American citizens.

Queens Crapper said...

Videotaping of what? Trains?

Anonymous said...

it is probable that the subway trains were on the terrorist photo list.
three n.y.subway stations were located below the W.T.C. towers ,the IND,BMT, AND IRT. the main interior pedestrian circulation level of the complex and the shopping mall below the plaza.

many, many civilians each day,and subway riders traveling to and from work.

Anonymous said...

Are all of you so that scared of a terrorist attack that you think this guy is putting you in danger?
We've only had 2 large terror attacks on US soil since 1993. That's one attack every 3100 days. And no I am not counting the shoe or underwear bomber as they were idiots.
I thought Americans were tough and our colors don't run? Land of free? Home of the brave?
Is it worth it to go through life so scared? The people of Israel have a lot more attacks and they live life to the fullest, which makes us look weak in comparison. And NO we are not "At War".