Posts Tagged 'new york city'



MTA Workers Harass Photographers, Make Stuff Up


Photo by maisa_nyc

Since when do MTA workers care what anyone does in the subway stations?

This past weekend, a group of transit workers at the 9th Avenue station in Brooklyn harassed photographer Maki Isayama, telling him he wasn’t allowed to take photos because…well, “you’re not allowed.” When Isayama protested, another worker said he would have to confiscate his camera and erase the images.

But it wasn’t an isolated incident! Another photographer encountered a similiar situation last week when he took this photo in the subway and an MTA worker threatened to confiscate his camera.

Wait – I’m confused. Don’t MTA guidelines clearly state that photos are allowed in the subway?

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Photographer Sues Homeland Security Dept.

Software developer, amateur photographer and self-proclaimed libertarian activist Antonio Musemeci and the NYCLU are suing the Department of Homeland Security for what they say was an unlawful arrest during a protest at the Manhattan federal courthouse last year. The lawsuit challenges a “government regulation that unconstitutionally restricts photography on federal property, including public plazas and sidewalks.”

Musumeci was videotaping the arrest of protestor Julian Heicklen in November 2009, when officers approached and asked what he was doing. Because he said he was freelancing (which he does for Free Talk Live – for free), he was arrested under a code which prohibits news or commercial photography on federal property. The situation was classic — very similar to the dozens of ones we’ve reported on here. The agents took his camera and poked around on it, talked down to him, threw their weight around. Ultimately only Musumeci’s memory card was confiscated after he suggested that would be the only relevant information for the agents. While charges against him were eventually dropped, Musumeci never got his memory card back.

From the NYCLU:

“We understand the need for heightened security around federal buildings, but the government cannot arrest people for taking pictures in a public plaza.”

It will be really interesting to see how this turns out, as it could be a watershed event for photographers’ rights.

You can read all of the events leading up to the arrest here.

Article from New York Daily News and blog of bile

PATH Cop Targets Mom, Grandma and Newborn

Kim Hudson

On Friday afternoon I was in the Christopher Street PATH station in New York City with my mom, my sister and her baby. My mom and I were taking pictures of the baby, her with an iPhone and me with my camera, when the Port Authority officer came over and told us sternly “No pictures, no pictures.” Though I knew this was absolutely ridiculous – and groundless – I wasn’t going to make a scene there with my family. All we could do was laugh. If three women cooing over a baby are now a security threat, well … I don’t know. It’s just unfathomable.

Considering the hot water New York’s MTA subway system and Amtrak have been in lately, you’d think the PATH would be more aware of the law. What’s more, Boing Boing posted an NYPD document yesterday outlining their stance on photographers – and, in a nut shell, it says it’s perfectly legal and they should refrain from harrassing people shooting in public places. (The NYPD does not patrol PATH stations, but the agencies work very closely with each other.)

I contacted PATH authorities to find out their policy on photography. They told me their private bylaws allow them to outlaw photography in their stations – despite it being a public place and a government entity. To voice your concerns about this incident, contact the Port Authority Police at (201) 216-2677.

Rally Guards Block NYC Photographer

We posted on a pro-Palestinian rally that took place in LA a few weeks back, and there was a similar event in New York City in January. This video shows a credentialed photographer being harassed by event “security guards” (which are actually just civilians in neon vests) and knocked over the head by protesters with signs. The NYPD doesn’t seem to care either.

If you go to 7:07 of the video, a guard/thug starts grabbing the photographer and then forces him far away from the protesters. The guard/thug then lunges at the photographer for no apparent reason other than he’s a hot head on some sort of a retribution mission. NYPD are nowhere to be found. And when they do finally show up, they’re useless.

This is America. Times Square. The photographer has credentials. It’s a public rally. This shouldn’t be happening here. But what’s truly puzzling is that there doesn’t seem to be any downside to letting a photojournalist photograph your event. What are they so worried about?


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