It is completely legal to photograph the Los Angeles Metro System.
On October 31, 2009 while on my way home from the Hollywood and Highland area, I was unlawfully detained for 25 minutes by LASD Officers Richard Gylfie #2955 and Bayes #456 for taking two photographs of the turnstiles located at the Hollywood and Western Metro Station — an act that is completely legal and occurred in public space.
As you can see in the video (which can be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, Liveleak, Flickr and discarted.com), Officer Gylfie #2955 and Officer Bayes #456 took it upon themselves to ignore established law and Metro policies in order to bully me, humiliate me, and detain me for conducting a perfectly legal activity in public. More important, by illegally detaining me, Officers Gylfie and Bayes violated my constitutional rights, which protect me as a photographer and against unlawful stops, searches, and seizures.
To voice your concerns regarding my unlawful detainment, contact the following individuals and offices:
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s online complaint form.
Michael J. Gennaco, Chief Attorney
The Office of Independent Review
4900 South Eastern Avenue, Suite 204
Commerce, CA 90040
Phone: (323) 890-5360
Karyn Mannis, Captain
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Internal Affairs Bureau
Eric Garcetti, City Council President
5500 Hollywood Blvd., 4th Floor
Hollywood, CA 90028
NOTE: Garcetti’s office is directly across the street from where this unlawful detainment took place. Gil Garcetti, Eric’s father, is also a former Los Angeles District Attorney, as well as an acclaimed urban photographer, so Eric should be well aware of photographers’ rights and the issues that we deal with today.
Tom LaBonge, Councilmember, District 4
Hollywood Field Office
6501 Fountain Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Phone: (323) 957-6415