The News Editor Of Seattle’s The Stranger Threatened by Cops For Photographing. Makes a Great Story

It is not uncommon for police to harass citizens for taking pictures. In fact, if you head over to photography is not a crime you’ll find some stories that will make you pretty sad on the inside. Sometimes those stories hit the news, sometimes they don’t.

The News Editor Of Seattle's The Stranger Threatened by Cops For Photographing. Makes a Great Story

But you can be pretty sure that when a news editor gets harassed for snapping an iPhone pictures, it will be on the news.

Seattle’s The Stranger‘s news editor, Dominic Holden was recently one of the sides in a photographer-police skirmish.

According to his news story, Holden was snapping an iPhone picture of some police officers huddling around a young black guy, when he was threatened to leave the scene or get arrested. According to Holden, no other pedestrians were asked to leave.

Holden took a picture of the threatening police officer (shown above) and cycled away. Here is Holden’s account of the incident:

“Back to Saulet: “You need to leave or you’re coming with me,” he said while repeating his arrest threat yet again. Commuters, shoppers, and vagrants were milling about the sidewalk and plaza—some people were passing closer to the center of the police activity than I was—but I was the only one on that busy block told to leave (the guy watching the police and taking their picture). I hadn’t tried speaking to the officers or bothering them in any way, I hadn’t even identified myself as a reporter, and I was standing on public property. The officers did not accuse me of any offense other than standing there.”

Sadly it did not end there. Holden asked a few officers who witnessed the incident who was the commanding officer at the time, and identified himself as a reporter. To that he was answered: “I’m going to come into The Stranger and bother you while you’re at work.”.

A later follow up with Seattle’s King County Sheriff’s Department, Sergeant Cindi West, revealed that the force officially thinks that:

“It’s a free country, and as long as you have a legal right to be there, you can take a picture. … in general a person cannot be ordered to stop photographing or to leave property if they have a legal right to be there. Additionally, if a group of people are in an area legally we could not order just one person to leave.”

And so that news story was born. Holden is going to file a complaint and follow up on his The Stranger’s news column. Would be interesting to see if it yields any effect.

You can read the full account on The Stranger

[Police Threatened to Arrest Me for Taking Their Photo Last Night via superpod]

  • 4r4

    fuk cops…. IQ of a banana…

    • Eytan

      Say that as they take a bullet trying to protect you. Police officers don’t always do the right thing, who does? Their job is stressful and dangerous and they, as a class deserve our respect, even if there are individuals who did things that dont represent the highest ethical standard.

      • David

        Totally correct. Unfortunately Police are an easy target.

      • Mike

        I’ve never heard such tripe in my life. The police are their to protect the people and enforce the law to the benefit of the people. Just because someone has a stressfull job does not give them right to intimidate others – regardless of the role or position.

        As for taking a bullet for you – well you live in the US – and if you believe that makes the police exempt, then this only further highlights to me why guns should not be in the hands of people who cannot be rational.

        • Mike

          my mistake, that should have been “there” not “their”

      • Guest

        Why do you think they would take a bullet for me? They’re the only people I interact with who shoot other people.

    • 5r5

      …from the guy who can’t even curse properly.

  • Kap0w

    Oh it will cause some effect – The Stranger is a serious force in Seattle

    • zenbike

      Yeah… Seriously bananas. There is no news source in the PNW I would trust less. And their reationship with the police would be enough to get the reaction from the police he complained about. I’d like to see one positive Stranger story about SPD.

  • Lee

    no respect for the cops.

  • Sam

    So serving the public give you the right to abuse your power according to some people. If the police were acting properly they shouldn’t have a problem with people taking video or photos. If they can’t handle the stress of their job they should consider a change in employment because at the end of the day it is a Job that you get paid for and chose to persue. It’s great that their are officers that are truly there to help people and uphold the law but there are way too many out there that abuse their power molesting the rights of the people, the very people that they are sworn to serve and protect.