Photographers’ Rights Progress

Two positive developments today for photographers’/media rights:

• ŸThe City of Toledo will pay an undisclosed settlement and change their media policies in response to a civil rights lawsuit brought by two photographers. Jeffrey Sauger and Jim West were arrested in 2005 while covering a Nazi rally and counter-protest. Their lawyer noted that it’s very rare for a police department to revise its policies in response to a civil rights lawsuit, so it was a significant win.

The photographers agreed to take a lesser monetary settlement in exchange for the policy change, which: says that the police must recognize all legitimate media at public events, dictates how officers interact with media, and establishes that police are prohibited from erasing any images on media cameras. [National Press Photographers Association]

• In April, we posted on how Virginia state officials illegally stormed the newsroom of James Madison University’s student newspaper, The Daily Breeze, and seized photos relating to a party-turned-melee. After much outrage and legal action, the state has agreed to pay the school’s legal fees, totalling $10,000. The Commonwealth’s attorney, Marsha Garst, even admitted she was wrong in her approach and has committed to obtaining search warrants in the future. (Which, really, is not so much a concession as an avowal to follow the law. Duh.)

Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center, said, “The fact that the government is going to have to pay $10,000 is a meaningful sting. That sting ought to send a message to anyone trying to cut corners on the Privacy Protection Act.” [Waynesboro News Virginian]

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2 Responses to “Photographers’ Rights Progress”


  1. 1 bj June 3, 2010 at 6:13 am

    “that the police must recognize all legitimate media at public events, dictates how officers interact with media, and establishes that police are prohibited from erasing any images on media cameras.”

    WTF: it is already a crime to destroy the image without a court order…

    This isnt a win. We need people to take it all the way to trial. Get precedence on the books, its the only way.

  2. 2 RJ December 6, 2010 at 5:55 am

    in march of 2010 i was stopped by a deputy sheriff for taking pictures at a fire. she wanted to know why i was taking pictures of a fire and what would i do with them. this fire scene did not have a designated fire line and on threat of arreat for obstruction i had to produce ID, then stand in an area she designated. i have been doing public safety photography since i was 14 and this was the first time i have EVER been stopped, detained and threatened by arrest. i complained to internal affairs. they swept it under the rug in the form of telling me in writing that she left the ageny. FROM MY OWN SOURCES i discovered that she left the S.O. to become a federal L.E. officer with an unknown agency. this entire episode encouraged me to discover this site and thank the manatee county sheriffs department (florida) for upholding the law and insuring by being an “formally” acredated agency that i still somewhat support for allowing a deputy to trample on my rights then sweep it under the “green wall of silence”. if it happens again, i’m getting a lawyer and going all the way. good website and keep up the good work


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