Posts Tagged 'NPRO rally'

Port Security: “I Don’t Care About the Law”

The NPRO weekend rally started off Saturday evening in the Port of Long Beach – not only an amazing landscape for photos, but a place known to regularly trample on photographers’ civil rights. So we were shooting for about five minutes when a security guard drove up and immediately yelled out, “You can’t take pictures of the refinery!” When pressed why not, she was clearly stumped. There was some back and forth. Eventually she said, “I don’t care about the law…I care about me doing my job working for that refinery.”

After an exasperated “Fine, whatever,” she left and apparently called Harbor Patrol. Four units arrived on the scene, saying they’d been told there was a physical altercation. You can watch the video; how is that defined as a physical altercation? (More on the Harbor Patrol encounter to be posted later.)

Now, truth be told, this security guard tried very hard to ultimately keep it civil – and she’s just doing her job, granted – but this video is a perfect example of how woefully untrained security personnel are. Instead of having any laws, or even company policy, to bolster her argument, she’s just regurgitating a very vague rule handed down by higher-ups.

Doesn’t the refinery owe it to their employees to give them more training? What if there were actual terrorists out there? You can’t tell me they’re legitimately worried about terrorism if this is how they’re protecting themselves.

Photographers Effect Change at US Bank Tower

NPRO Creates Change at US Bank Tower

In January a small group of photographers went to shoot photos in downtown Los Angeles and at the US Bank Tower, a building notorious for its aggressive, overzealous security staff. At the time, we were threatened and bullied by six security personnel – and told by Patrick Silver, the supervisor on duty, that we were on a private sidewalk (we weren’t) and he was going to call the police (he was bluffing). It was an unpleasant encounter, not to mention a certain violation of our rights. (See the video here.)

This time though, someone higher up in the food chain had clearly reviewed their policy. During the NPRO Photographers’ Rights Rally today, we stopped at the Bank Tower, and after about 10 minutes of freely shooting, a friendly guard came out to tell us we were allowed to continue but he had to give us the above notecard. 

So, it seems, the questions, posts, calls and letters may have indeed been effective in changing the way UPS patrols its buildings. Interesting how that works.

Stay tuned for more videos and updates throughout the week of this year’s NPRO weekend  rally.

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