What To Do If You Are Stopped Or Detained For Taking Photographs
During my many years on the street for several different newspapers and magazines I was stopped by police and security personnel dozens of times from taking images of events and even buildings and once even detained shortly. On more than one occasion I was asked to hand over or destroy the film and CF cards that the images resided on. Knowing my rights, I stood firmly and did not allow this.
The image below is one example of an image that caused my detention – photographed from a road, belonging to the county, an American Electric Power security guard stopped me and threatened me, demanded my camera card and forcibly detained me. Luckily a Sheriffs deputy was passing by, saw the confrontation, and having a more level head than the security guard defused the situation.The American Civil Liberties Union has a wonderful website post regarding the law and how to deal with being restrained from taking images in public places.
Taking photographs of things that are plainly visible from public spaces is a constitutional right – and that includes federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties. Unfortunately, there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs from public places, and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply.
LEARN MORE at the ACLU site.