Posts Tagged 'LA County Sheriffs'

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.

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Amtrak Forces LA Photographer to Delete Images

Despite several embarrassing incidents for Amtrak in the news recently (in NY and DC), Amtrak employees are still woefully uninformed when it comes to photographers’ rights. 

A local LA photographer, who goes by ShutterBuda, was taking photos at Union Station downtown yesterday morning for about an hour when he snapped an Amtrak employee who told him to not take photos. ShutterBuda continued shooting, when another Amtrak employee told him that he didn’t have permission to take photos. At this point, a commuter chimed in that he also objected to his picture being taken.

This guy, who claimed to be an ex-Guardian Angel, quickly became belligerent and escalated the situation into an ugly scene, yelling that ShutterBuda didn’t have permission to take his photo and threatening to “take him down” and “smash his camera.”  All three were now demanding that he delete his photos. In quick succession, the Amtrak employees called a manager over and the manager called a security guard.

amtrak-2 Photo by ShutterBuda

Not knowing how the law applied inside Union Station, ShutterBuda complied with the demands to delete the images. “Out on the street I never would have deleted those photos – I would have said no,” he says, “but I was kind of in a grey area there.” Plus, he says, they were being abusive and he didn’t want to deal with the scene.

Soon enough three LA County Sheriffs were on the scene.

If you can imagine it: Four Amtrak employees and three sheriffs for a man taking photos of commuters inside a public building.

The sheriffs backed up the Amtrak employees, with one claiming, ShutterBuda says, “that I needed permission from whoever owns Union Station and that I should comply with [the Amtrak staff] because they’re ambassadors for the law in some sense.” One sheriff asked to see the camera to check that the images were deleted – all of which ShutterBuda was able to get back later using recovery software.

amtrak-1 Photo by ShutterBuda

The issue, it seems, was not ShutterBuda being there (i.e., trespassing or security risks) but that he didn’t have permission to be there. Which is a blatant fabrication. You do not need permission to shoot handheld in a public place. And you certainly do not subject yourself to the seizure of your images if you do so. That is downright illegal and possibly a Fourth Amendment issue. A court order is required for anyone to view your photos.

There’s also the issue of whether Amtrak and the sheriffs violated copyright and intellectual property laws by deleting these images, which of course is well beyond their pay grade. They are just blindly following some order they think they have the right to enforce.

Continue reading ‘Amtrak Forces LA Photographer to Delete Images’


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