Posts Tagged 'Police Harassment'

HALLOWEEN 2013: A Requiem For My Right to Document LAPD

For the past 3-5 years, I’ve documented Hollywood Blvd on Halloween night. The work can be viewed here, here, and here. So of course I’ll be doing the same again this year.

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:

HARASSING 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

COMMITTING BATTERY

After watching the following videos, please use twitter to let LAPD know how you feel about their actions.

They can be reached at the following Twitter accounts: @LAPDhq, @911LAPD, @LAPDhollywood, @LAPDHDQTRS and @LAPDChiefBeck

LAPD officer gestures and mumbles not to take pictures:

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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:

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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:

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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):

LA County Sheriff Tells Photographers Not to Photograph Them

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.

LAPD Sergeant Fires Away on YouTube

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?


A Sticky Situation in Coney Island

A diver jumps off the pier at Coney Island
Photo by Simon Lund

From an interesting article in the Village Voice, commercial photographer Simon Lund was taking photos in Coney Island over Memorial Day weekend when he was forced to give up his film.

It all started when he unknowingly (if at all) took a photo of a woman’s young son. She became angry and demanded he erase the picture. (Which makes me think the kid was in the witness protection program, but that’s neither here nor there.) Lund explained he couldn’t because he was shooting film, so she involved the cops, who intimidated Lund into handing over his film.

Lund knew he wasn’t in the wrong, and it’s easy to say now, “Why didn’t he just walk away?!” But when a woman and her irate family are yelling at you and you’re surrounded by a group of NYPD — one of which says, “You’ve got to give up your film, or things are going to get much worse for you” — you might not be thinking crystal clearly.

In the article, Christopher Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union, says: “Police officers are not allowed to look at images without consent of the photographer, and they have no authority to order someone to let them look at their pictures or to confiscate their film.”

If only Lund could have reminded them of that.

To give Deputy Inspector Robert Johnson and the 60th Precinct (which oversees Coney Island) your thoughts, call 718-946-3311.

Article via Village Voice.

See some of Simon Lund’s Coney Island photos here.



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