Posts Tagged 'Minneapolis'

“Suspicious” Photography A Renewed Concern?

Uh-oh. According to this article, Bin Laden’s death means everyone is on high alert for terrorist activity and, naturally, photographers.

Since the attacks, law enforcement officials have identified about 16 potential terrorist behaviors, such as taking photos of “high-value” terrorist targets. The tips, known as “suspicious activity” reports, are vetted by counterterrorism experts who are trained to know the difference between “tourism and terrorism” behaviors, officials said.

But as anyone who values civil liberties knows, the mandate at the top doesn’t always translate perfectly to the streets. Despite the article reporting that the tip gatherers are more interested in trends, police and security officers hear “people taking photos” and will often enforce the rule indiscriminately.

… Michael German, a former FBI agent who now advises the American Civil Liberties Union, said the program gives officers such wide discretion that innocent people are being questioned and even arrested based on behaviors that are not illegal.

“Innocent people” like one T.S. Bye, who took a photo of the Federal Reserve’s seal with his camera phone last week in downtown Minneapolis. The StarTribune reports that he was confronted by a security guard, questioned and asked to delete his photos, which he did (although the phone backs up all photos immediately). When asked for comment, a Fed spokeswoman told the paper this:

Our Law Enforcement staff asked what he was doing. He informed us he was taking photos of the Bank seal. Initially, our Law Enforcement officer told him that he was in a secure area and that we would prefer that he delete the photos. When the second Law Enforcement officer arrived on the scene, he informed this individual that he did not have to delete the photos and all we really needed him to do was move his vehicle to an appropriate parking space. The individual then drove away.

And we all know how many plots have started with a photo of a government seal….

Source: McClatchy News and StarTribune

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Lovely Lawbreakers

Photo: JouJou Villeroy

Last month we posted on some cool-looking Australian criminals. Turns out Minneapolis has its own share of pretty cool criminals, at least according to the mug shots the JouJou Villeroy blog dug up.

Grab Your Cameras: Stop FBI Repression

Protests and rallies can offer great opportunities for photojournalism, so for all you photographers in the Minneapolis area there will be a demonstration tomorrow to protest the FBI’s recent raids that targeted political activists in Illinois and Minnesota. And if you are unaware of these controversial raids (which included five homes and one office in Minneapolis), check out Answer Coalition’s coverage of the story.

From Answer Coalition:

FBI agents served search warrants and grand jury subpoenas on the activists on Sept. 24 and 27, allegedly relating to political speech in defense of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples. The activists have committed no crime; the real target of the raids are political dissent and free speech. These terror tactics are meant to have a chilling effect on progressive movements.

Date: Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Outside FBI headquarters
111 Washington Ave S
(Corner of Marquette and Washington Aves)
Minneapolis, MN

Law & Disorder at RNC

More rumblings from the Republican Convention: Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, was arrested in St. Paul today when she stepped in to help two of her producers who were being detained by Twin Cities police. AP photographer Matt Rourke was also arrested. They were both covering anti-war protests outside the convention.

While the crowd of more than 10,000 was mostly peaceful, there were pockets of aggressive demonstrators who vandalized windows and harassed law enforcement, which is apparently where Goodman and Rourke got caught up. The 51-year-old Goodman can be heard on the video pleading with police not to arrest her, but the cops, in full riot mode, weren’t in the mood to distinguish between journalists and protesters.

Read the Democracy Now! statement here.

Article from the AP via TwinCities.com.

Harrassing Photographers a Nonpartisan Effort

It’s not surprising that the political conventions have proved to be hostile venues for some photographers. Politicans and media types don’t always mix well.

At the Democratic Convention in Denver last week, an ABC News producer was arrested for trying to shoot film of some Democratic senators and bigwig donors leaving a private meeting at a hotel. Asa Eslocker was manhandled by the Denver police, one who couldn’t even be bothered to put down his cigar before handcuffing him. He was told by one officer that he was “lucky I didn’t knock the f–k out of you.” See footage of the arrest here.

And in Minneapolis this week at the Republican convention, three New York filmmakers from the Glass Bead Collective were detained by police for filming in the Shoreham Rail Yard. Fittingly, they were in town to document police brutality. Confiscating the trio’s belongings, including cell phones, cameras and hard drives, the police justified the search and seizure as a homeland security matter.

Also in Minneapolis, though not relating to the convention, photographer Guy Still was handcuffed and detained for taking photos of a police special operations center. Through a chain link fence, Still photographed some officers getting into a van, which triggered the requisite terrorist accusations. One officer told him he remembered “the good old days [when] we used to take people like you in a van.”

Whatever that means.

Articles via ABC NewsMy Fox Twin Cities and My Fox Twin Cities.


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