The Perp Walk Shot

Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

Reuters has an interesting blog post from three of its photographers who were on a 15-hour stakeout to get shots of accused sexual predator/IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Sunday and Monday.

As Mike Segar writes:

The “perp walk”. It’s just what is [sic] sounds like. When the police are ready to transfer an arrested “Perpetrator” they will often “Walk” the person (more like parade the person) escorted by detectives past the press to a waiting car for transfer to the court and corrections systems. Think Law and Order. It’s an old tradition with the NYPD, and there is certain predictability to it. News photographers have all covered them. Nobody likes them. … It’s rarely a chance to make a great or interesting photograph. This is about ‘getting the picture’. Make it sharp; expose it well; don’t miss it! It may well be the only chance to photograph the “perp” before they disappear forever into the court and corrections system. You just don’t know.

It kinda blows our American minds that photographs of suspects in handcuffs are illegal in France. That law, passed in 2000, criminalizes this type of photography until there is a conviction. Here, everyone from Lee Harvey Oswald to Lindsay Lohan have been paraded in front of the cameras – guilty or not.

As New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the AP in this article about the famed perp walk: “I think it is humiliating. But, you know, if you don’t want do the perp walk, don’t do the crime.” (Bloomberg did correct himself and say everyone is innocent until proven guilty — but it’s a great quote.)

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