Posts Tagged 'Virginia'

Wackenhut/G4S Guard and Photographer Face Off

When it comes to watching security guards harassing photographers, Tom McElvy’s video of his encounter with a Wackenhut/G4S security guard at the Bank of America Center in Norfolk, VA, is one of the more cordial exchanges that’s been uploaded to the web this year. Maybe I’m partial to blonde haired girls with blue eyes and a nice Virginia accent, but most photographers would likely prefer an encounter with this Wackenhut/G4S guard than with the US Bank Tower’s Patrick Silver or the Port of Long Beach guard who didn’t care about the law.

No, there’s not much excitement occurring in McElvy’s video (both people handle themselves well), but based on the text and what is said in the video, there is evidence pointing to a history of harassment and an illegal policy that is creating a hostile environment for photographers who shoot around this Bank of America location. More important, the people in charge of this place, such as Chris Taylor and this girl’s “superior,” who is informing this girl to tell people they can’t photograph the property, may not know what the First Amendment entails.

But maybe they do and simply don’t care about constitutional rights and will continue harassing photographers as long as they can get away with it.

So maybe a flash mob at the Bank of America Center is needed to help educate whoever is running this operation?

Bank of America Center
1 Commercial Place
Norfolk, VA 23510

Photographers’ Rights Progress

Two positive developments today for photographers’/media rights:

• ŸThe City of Toledo will pay an undisclosed settlement and change their media policies in response to a civil rights lawsuit brought by two photographers. Jeffrey Sauger and Jim West were arrested in 2005 while covering a Nazi rally and counter-protest. Their lawyer noted that it’s very rare for a police department to revise its policies in response to a civil rights lawsuit, so it was a significant win.

The photographers agreed to take a lesser monetary settlement in exchange for the policy change, which: says that the police must recognize all legitimate media at public events, dictates how officers interact with media, and establishes that police are prohibited from erasing any images on media cameras. [National Press Photographers Association]

• In April, we posted on how Virginia state officials illegally stormed the newsroom of James Madison University’s student newspaper, The Daily Breeze, and seized photos relating to a party-turned-melee. After much outrage and legal action, the state has agreed to pay the school’s legal fees, totalling $10,000. The Commonwealth’s attorney, Marsha Garst, even admitted she was wrong in her approach and has committed to obtaining search warrants in the future. (Which, really, is not so much a concession as an avowal to follow the law. Duh.)

Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center, said, “The fact that the government is going to have to pay $10,000 is a meaningful sting. That sting ought to send a message to anyone trying to cut corners on the Privacy Protection Act.” [Waynesboro News Virginian]

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