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LA Sheriff's Deputy detains photographer

The money quote from Officer Gylfie: “Al Qaeda would love to buy your pictures, so I want to know if you’re in cahoots with al Qaeda to sell these pictures to them for a terrorist purpose. That’s a crime.”

Be mad at him for violating the Constitution, or happy that he assumes photographers should get paid for their work?


by Geoffrey King at 2009-11-12 04:56:28 UTC (ed. Nov 12 2009 ) San Francisco , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

How that could ever have been recorded ?

by Daniel Legendre | 12 Nov 2009 10:11 (ed. Nov 12 2009) | Paris, France | | Report spam→
OK, quick, someone make a video of Al Qaeda aking Lightstalkers for free use of their photos. I’ll get the dialog started:

AQ: Hello. We are a terrorist organization. We would like to use your photographs for free. It will be great exposure. Maybe another terrorist organization will pay you in the future.

LS: You’ve got to be shitting me. Who can afford to work for free these days? Do you pay your weapons suppliers? Bomb makers? Graphic designers.

by Jonathan Lipkin | 12 Nov 2009 21:11 (ed. Nov 12 2009) | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
AQ: actually no, we get our bombs and weapons and shit donated by people who believe in our cause.

by BignoseTW | 13 Nov 2009 00:11 | Taipei, Taiwan | | Report spam→
Ha Ha…too funny….except the dickhead deputy sheriff.

by [former member] | 13 Nov 2009 13:11 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Maybe a naive question: but to what extent was the Sheriff actually in the wrong?

Obviously, it’s irritating and humiliating being stopped and questioned. Though presumably the photographer expected it – why else would he be recording it.

The more disturbing bit is the threat to put the guy on the FBI hit list.

by Simon Crofts | 13 Nov 2009 18:11 | Edinburgh, Scotland | | Report spam→
Al Qaeda as NGO…do they want to save all the whales or just the Muslim ones?

by Akaky | 13 Nov 2009 19:11 | New York , United States | | Report spam→
I never knew there were muslim whales, but I do know the navy is training dolphins:


From what I understand, the police can detain you to determine if you are commiting a crime if they have reasonable suspicion. Not sure, though and would be interested in hearing from anyone who knows better.

by Jonathan Lipkin | 13 Nov 2009 20:11 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
That seemed to be in line with what the Sheriff was saying too. Which leaves the question whether the photographer’s behaviour was enough to raise a reasonable suspicion in the mind of the Sheriff.

The Sheriff was probably over-stepping the mark at the beginning, claiming photography was against metro rules, but once the photographer refused to respond to questions about why he was taking the photos, that might be enough to raise a reasonable suspicion.

In the UK, the photographer would of course have been stuffed, because the police don’t even need to have a reasonable suspicion under terrorism powers to stop and search.

by Simon Crofts | 13 Nov 2009 21:11 | Edinburgh, Scotland | | Report spam→
Professor Lipkin is more or less right, subject to some nuances. In the US under our Constitution, in general a law enforcement official may not detain you (that is keep you from having full freedom of movement) unless they have “probable cause” to believe you have committed a crime. What constitutes “probable cause” is the subject of many court cases, but merely photographing some potentially sensitive real estate does not alone constitute probable cause. The Bush-appointed Supreme Court members may change that some day, but they have not yet.

The cops can indeed ask you for your name, and what you are doing. But you, as occurred here, have an absolute right to blow them off and give them no information, including your name. Of course, they may overreach their powers and elect to take you into custody anyway, just because they have the physical power to do so. But that is illegal and they are setting themselves up for a lawsuit if they do.

This crap with the British police (apparently getting no better) is the very kind of reason we in the colonies in 1776 told old Georgie to go put it where the sun does not shine.

by [former member] | 14 Nov 2009 00:11 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
I was just wondering whether photographing a potentially sensitive objective, combined with the refusal to give any kind of credible explanation when asked, might together consitute ‘probable cause’.

To put it another way, hanging around on a street corner isn’t an offence (I guess). Nor is giving someone a bag with something white in it a criminal offence. But if, say, someone is seen hanging out on a street corner where drug dealers are known to hang out, and is seen handing out bags of white stuff, and refuses to explain what he’s doing, then maybe the police start to become entitled to detain/do a search. Even though it turns out that the person concerned was selling washing powder, which he’s perfectly entitled to do – and perfectly entitled not to answer the police’s questions – and they’re perfectly entitled to detain and search him?

So I’m just wondering at what point the perfectly legal act of taking photographs of a potentially sensitive subject, with the perfectly legal act of refusing to explain why, starts to raise a sufficient suspicion to justify arrest/search? I mean in the US, of course. In the UK, we just bundle them in a car a private jet to Tunisia and ultimately to Guananamo without all that suspicion nonsense.

by Simon Crofts | 14 Nov 2009 01:11 | Edinburgh, Scotland | | Report spam→
Anyone knowledgeable about the legislation in continental Europe (I’m thinking France-Germany because they usually suck as much as the UK do, or almost, and Belgium, because I live there…).
I contacted the company managing public transportation in Brussels, they said I was free to photograph anything as long as I’m not disturbing the free movement of the commuters (aka. no tripod and big stuff without authorisation). But the public transportation system is considered public place here, so I’m free to shoot (but also need an authorisation from the people I’m photographing… Or so they say.)

Any more info for Belgium (or FR-DE)?


by Lpongo | 14 Nov 2009 13:11 | Maas, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Lpongo, you might want to start by looking at this old thread:

by Olivier Boulot | 14 Nov 2009 15:11 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
now, when dealing with the cops in France, they are currently working on duplicating the Brit. model.
What follows is becoming more and more common:

by Olivier Boulot | 14 Nov 2009 15:11 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
withdraw the troops from Afganistan and Irac and free the US :))

by Ruediger Carl Bergmann | 14 Nov 2009 19:11 | Augsburg, Germany | | Report spam→

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Geoffrey King, 1st Amend. lawyer, photog Geoffrey King
1st Amend. lawyer, photog
San Francisco , United States
Daniel Legendre, Photographer Daniel Legendre
Paris , France
Jonathan Lipkin, Professor, Photographer Jonathan Lipkin
Professor, Photographer
Brooklyn , United States
BignoseTW, Videographer/Photographer BignoseTW
(Tobie Openshaw)
Taipei , Taiwan
Simon Crofts, Photographer Simon Crofts
Edinburgh , Scotland
Akaky, Contemptible lout Akaky
Contemptible lout
New York , United States ( AAA )
Lpongo, Lpongo
Kinshasa , Congo (DRC)
Olivier Boulot, Photog Olivier Boulot
Paris , France ( CDG )
Ruediger Carl Bergmann, Photographer / Artist Ruediger Carl Bergmann
Photographer / Artist
Augsburg , Germany ( MUC )


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