Posts Tagged 'Spokane Washington'

Harassed Photographer Speaks Out

Newspaper editor/photographer Kai Eiselein wrote an excellent editorial in The Eagle & Boomerang addressing his experience with law enforcement at the Thomas S. Foley federal courthouse in Spokane last week.

Eiselein admits he was a skeptic before his own incident, thinking somehow photographers must be provoking authorities. But after his experience, he understands how photography has been demonized in a way that is unnecessary, unfair and scary.

My test at the Spokane courthouse proved without a doubt that what some other photographers were claiming was happening was true.

And he also addresses those commenters, those wonderfully strident, angry commenters, who automatically accuse the photographer in these situations:

The comments were the most interesting part of the post, a large number of people praised my actions, but an equally large number, also photographers, vehemently decried what I did. Many of them stated I should have just backed down and apologized for taking photos, others called my actions underhanded, a set up, and that no real journalist would do what I did.

And on the practices of law enforcement:

Done often enough, to enough people, it can become a de facto change in the law, all without any public input or open debate. It runs directly counter to the tenets upon which this country was founded.

And some final thoughts:

Do we ban the photographing of children, buildings, aircraft, trains, bridges or anything else that might be used for some nefarious purpose?

Do we slice large chunks from the 1st Amendment in the name of safety and security?

Have we become so afraid as a nation that we see danger in every corner and shadow?

The fact is, bad people will do bad things no matter what kind laws or security procedures are put in place.

Article from The Eagle & Boomerang

Spokane Courthouse – Level 4 Nonsense

ICE man

Photo by Kai Eiselein

On his Flickr page newspaper editor/photographer Kai Eiselein details his run-in with the authorities at the Thomas S. Foley Federal Courthouse in Spokane, Washington. As is typical in these situations, a lot of fuss was made out of a lot of nothing.

Three security guards, two federal cops from the Department of Hopeless Stupidity, lights and sirens, all for one lone photographer.

Eiselein was harassed by security and police and told he couldn’t take photos of the building or the guards’ faces. Then they ran his ID and tried to intimidate him with some nonsense about what he couldn’t do on this “level 4”-ranked federal property. Eiselein stood his ground, explaining he was “standing up for my rights, because if I don’t no one else will.”

It’s unfortunate when our federal authorities don’t respect or understand constitutional rights (or public vs. federal property). How can we expect them to defeat real terrorism threats when this basic information goes ignored?

Read Eiselein’s account and see the photos here.

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