ACLU Takes on DC Police in Photog Harassment Case


Photograph by Jerome Vorus

This past summer, photographer Jerome Vorus was harassed and detained by DC police when he tried to take photos of a traffic stop in Georgetown. The incident touched off a mini firestorm, with mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post and NBC crying foul. (It always helps when these things happen in a major media hub.) People were rightfully alarmed at the cops’ arrogance (telling him it was illegal to take photos of the police) and their violation of Vorus’ rights.

In a letter to DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier, a lawyer from ACLU’s DC chapter demands the police acknowledge the incident in the form of a settlement and an apology – or  a lawsuit will follow. If this doesn’t make police departments sit up and take notice, it should.

Times are changing, and it’s not fun and games and unlimited power anymore. The ACLU is very proactive on the photographers’ rights issue, and with photographer Antonio Musumeci’s recent settlement with the federal government, they have a pretty good track record of winning. Sometimes the only way you can change institutional behavior, or implement “corrective training” as the ACLU calls it, is with a costly lawsuit. Too bad it’s the taxpayers who will pay for these public servants’ ignorance.

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  1. 1 DC’s Most Detained Photographer Gets Detained Again « Trackback on February 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm

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