The LAPD cop who arrested a photographer for “interfering” because he ran up the street to document police activity.
But to help remind the Los Angeles Police Department that I have a right to stand in public space and document police activity without the threat of arrest, or any other kind of interference, I’m finally publishing last year’s videos of their officers doing the following to me:
THREATENING ME WITH ARREST
TARGETING ME BECAUSE OF A CAMERA
INTENTIONALLY USING THEIR HANDS TO BLOCK MY CAMERA
INTENTIONALLY USING A FLASHLIGHT TO BLIND MY CAMERA
After watching the following videos, please use twitter to let LAPD know how you feel about their actions.
LAPD officer gestures and mumbles not to take pictures:
LAPD officer Kevin Palmer #2204 walks by me, turns around, and stands behind me:
LAPD officers harass and threaten me with arrest while other people without cameras are allowed to move freely. Sergeant Martin #33768 arrives to defend status quo:
LAPD officers intentionally use their hands to block my camera, violating my rights as well as LAPD’s internal policies. Two of the officers claim they didn’t violate anything:
A couple of LAPD “heroes” power-trip because I wasn’t standing where they wanted me to stand while waiting to cross the street. One of them actually says, “Did you just cross my yellow tape?” Last time I checked, the tape belongs to myself and taxpayers. The mindset of today’s cop (sigh):
LAPD officer #18908 tells me not to take pictures and intentionally uses his flashlight to blind my camera multiple times. Meanwhile, an undercover cop cheap shots me from behind by slamming his body into me. Like a coward, he quietly slithers back into the crowd as though he never committed the crime of battery against me:
Historically speaking, my videos clearly show that LAPD officers weren’t recognizing my rights to freely observe and document police activity. One officer (whom I feel is the most professional officer in Hollywood) admits that “new officers” just don’t know.
So is LAPD’s tendency to violate my rights a training issue? An officer issue? Or a cultural issue?
Here’s one more from 2012 (which is not the only video from that year showing LAPD harassing me for taking pictures):
On June 2, 2013, while standing on a public sidewalk and approximately 90 ft. away, Shawn Nee was arrested for photographing officers from the Los Angeles Police Department. The officers claimed he interfered with their police investigation. Shawn was transported to the Hollywood police station, handcuffed to a bench, and escorted into an interrogation room where he was questioned by a detective. The arrest lasted approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Shawn was eventually released without charge.
While waiting for OccupyLA members to arrive at the Wilshire/Normandie Metro station in Los Angeles, CA, an LA County Sheriff told two photographers not to photograph them.
At that point, a video camera was turned on to document the encounter, as the photographer defended his constitutional rights to take pictures in public.
The irony of the video is the fact, that at the beginning of the footage, the Sheriffs tell the photographers that photography is not allowed on the Metro (which is quickly rebuked by the photographer). However, five minutes into the video, the sheriff backtracks, and starts saying the opposite—so suddenly photography is allowed on the Metro?
And it is, in this case, for now, simply because the photographer knew his my rights and Metro policy and stood up to these Sheriffs.
This kind of behavior from police officers needs to stop. We can no longer allow them to continue harassing photographers exercising their constitutional rights while using the Metro.
To voice your concerns regarding this officer’s behavior, contact the LA County Sheriffs via this complaint form.
While YouTube is great fun for silly cat videos and clips of kids freaking out after the dentist, it’s also fertile ground for angry, arrogant, illiterate people. Exhibit A:
“your a dick ? what would u wanna video/pictures? a dead guy.. what the fuck are you gona do with the video of a dead guy.. get a life you fuking cunt,”
Interestingly, the comment was left by AbawiTariq, a sergeant with the LAPD, according to his YouTube profile.
Nothing but the best in Los Angeles. Seriously, Chief Beck – that is who you want representing your force?
It’s been a year since we held our first National Photographers’ Rights Organization (NPRO) rally in Los Angeles, and a lot has happened since then. Over the past 12 months, hundreds of us have been harassed by security guards and law enforcement for practicing a perfectly legal activity while in public. Some of us have even witnessed or personally experienced an unlawful arrest by an out-of-control cop. But with the help of our cameras, the grassroots mobilization of the internet and our lobbying of companies and public officials, we have stood up to this abuse and forced change.
For instance, Amtrak finally released a policy on photography and the NYPD’s leaked policy document says to stop the harassment of photographers shooting in public. So in order to progress even further, promote even more awareness and stand up for our rights, NPRO is holding a Photographers’ Rights Rally Weekend this year that will kick off in the Los Angeles Harbor/Port of Long Beach on Saturday June 6th, and end on June 7th in Downtown Los Angeles.
Before attending this event, it is important that we all educate ourselves about the law and photography. To learn the essentials it’s best to start with Bert Krages’ ubiquitous “The Photographer’s Right.” Read it. Memorize it. Print it. The knowledge you obtain from this document will help protect yourself when confronted by law enforcement or security staff when taking pictures in public.
You can also check out the numerous links in section 9 of this blog’s sidebar, which provide you with even more information regarding the law and photography.
Most importantly though, no matter what we are told by law enforcement, California Wiretapping Law legally permits us to secretly record police, or anybody for that matter, when they are in public and there is no expectation of privacy. We do not need a cop’s acknowledgment or permission to record their threats.
It’s extremely important that we bring video cameras and/or audio recording devices to document the unlawful actions of cops and security guards.
So put on your rally lens caps and clear your schedules for the first weekend in June.
NPRO Rally – Saturday, June 6th
Location: Los Angeles Harbor/Port of Long Beach
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Directions From Downtown Los Angeles: 110 S to Anaheim St Exit, Turn Left on Figueroa Place, Turn Left on W Anaheim St, W Anaheim St Turns Into E Anaheim St, End At N Henry Ford Ave, Park On Street
Directions From the 405 N/S: Exit 33B S Wilmington Ave, Travel West on S Wilmington Ave, Take First Left at E 223rd St, Right on S Alameda St, Continue on S Alameda St, Veer Left on to N Henry Ford Ave, End at Intersection of E Anaheim St and N Henry Ford Ave, Park on Street
NPRO Rally – Sunday, June 7th
Location: Pershing Square, Corner of S. Hill St. & W. 5th St., Los Angeles, CA 90013
Time: 11:30 a.m.
On January 18, NPRO members went to the US Bank Tower in Downtown Los Angeles to protest against their security staff’s illegal treatment of photographers when photographing the property from a public sidewalk.
Over the next couple of days, more video and photos will be posted, showing what happened, along with contact info for the building’s management staff.
In the the meantime, here is the building’s address and phone number. Please contact them after listening to the audio and reading the transcript to voice your concerns.
US Bank Tower
633 W 5th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Below is a transcript of what happened between NPRO members and the US Bank Tower’s security staff on January 18, 2009.
US BANK SECURITY GUARD: Excuse me sir, you’re not allowed to take any pictures.
NOHO DAMON: We’re both on a public sidewalk here.
US BANK SECURITY GUARD: No actually this sidewalk is private.
NOHO DAMON: No, no, no, no…(inaudible)
US BANK SECURITY GUARD: No.
NOHO DAMON: This is a public sidewalk.
US BANK SECURITY GUARD: Right…no.
NOHO DAMON: You guys own the street?
US BANK SECURITY GUARD: That’s the public, this is private.
NOHO DAMON: You’re telling me you own the street, you’re telling me you own the sidewalk.
US BANK SECURITY GUARD: Yes sir.
NOHO DAMON: You’re telling me that.
US BANK SECURITY GUARD: Yes.
NOHO DAMON: Would you be willing to discuss that with a cop?
US BANK SECURITY GUARD: Yes.
NOHO DAMON: That you own the sidewalk?
US BANK SECURITY GUARD: Yes.