DHS Officer Bans Photographer From Public Protest in Los Angeles

Last week on October 5, I decided to head to downtown Los Angeles to photograph a rally that was being held at the federal building. What was dubbed as a National Day of Action against FBI Repression ended up being a major non-event, and only about 5-10 people were there to protest the FBI’s recent raids that targeted political activists in Illinois and Minnesota.

So for a photographer hoping to capture another protest with the usual high energy associated with these kinds of events, there really wasn’t much to photograph. Plus, it started raining fifteen minutes into this tiny protest, and that was still before anyone even arrived. However, at the same time the rain started falling, a Department of Homeland Security vehicle arrived, which caused me to believe that people were going to show up—at some point—and they did.

I stuck around and burned the roll’s last few frames on the lackluster protesters that finally arrived and used the very last frame for the Homeland Security decal that was on the front fender of the DHS SUV. It seemed like an important stock image to get, seeing that DHS has been known to harass a photographer or two. I thought I could use my photo for future posts dealing with DHS harassment rather than pulling the DHS decal from the web.

Well, I should’ve known that I would be posting a video showing a DHS officer prohibiting me from returning to a protest that was being held on a public sidewalk before I even processed the roll of film I shot that day.

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8 Responses to “DHS Officer Bans Photographer From Public Protest in Los Angeles”


  1. 1 Sami October 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    That is scary business. Is there diferent rules and rights on federal

  2. 2 Sami October 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I was asking, is there diferent rights and rules on federal property compared to non federal property?

  3. 3 discarted October 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Not sure, but I’m presuming the Constitution grants us the same rights on federal property. Plus, I’m sure if I violated any real laws this officer would’ve taken advantaged of the opportunity to officially detain me and then cite me for something.

    However, it’s not applicable in this case since I was on the public sidewalk where the protest was being held. And I was actually standing on the curb when I photographed the Homeland Security vehicle that was parked on N. Los Angeles Street. All of which, are not federal property.

  4. 4 S.B October 11, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Nice job staying cool, aware of your rights and exercising them, and still being respectful of others, you had an even keel and I think they saw that.

  5. 5 NoelArmourson October 12, 2010 at 4:44 am

    This was blatant intimidation under color of authority, the same as was done repeatedly to censor news of the BP Gulf blowout incident.
    I didn’t hear an actual request for ID, only a question as whether you had it along with an implication that an ID was required. I believe it is required to produce ID on demand on at least some Federal properties.
    The guard may actually be under the impression that he has jurisdiction out to the concrete barricade, the presence of which may complicate the legal definition of “public sidewalk”, though it should be noted he wasn’t running any of the actual protestors off.

    I have seen HomelandSec people in public on a public street give me dirty looks when a camera was pointed their way, though none have spoken to me.

  6. 6 Kai Eiselein October 12, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Thee Federal Protective Service in Spokane, Washington tried to tell me I was on federal property while standing on a public sidewalk, as well. I think they must be trained to say that as an intimidation tool.

    ICE man

  7. 7 Erik G. October 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    It would be helpful if you could post a picture of this guys uniform/badge/shoulder patch close up.

    He doesn’t seem educated enough to be an actual sworn LEO.

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