Over the time we’ve seen a lot of Police activity we tag under photography is not a crime, but I think that this is the first time we are covering anti photography actions not by a cop, but by a security guard.
Videographer Benn Jordan was doing a timelapse shoot next to an Acme Refining facility was faced with a security guard who was upset about the filming taking place. Benn found himself in quite a Kafkaic situation when he agreed to leave, but had his memory card taken and photos erased.
According to Benn:
Security guards who refused to identify themselves, [...] claimed the sidewalk area between their property and the street was private property, damaged my gear, and formatted my memory cards containing the previous 2 days of work without my permission. I wish I could get to my phone sooner when they initially approached me, as I definitely have grounds for assault.
They then lied to the police and claimed I was on the other side of their fence, refusing to leave, and tried to have me arrested for criminal trespassing. Upon showing the police the 20+ minutes of video I have of the incident, they told me I would have to take it up with civil court.
While it is not clear what happened before and after the recorded video, it is not easy to watch. Benn is repeatedly asking to leave and he can not do so while the guard has his memory card. We have asked Acme Refining to share their side of the story, and will update as soon as it comes in.
Since Benn, the police and the Acme Refining security guard all have different versions of the story, it would be quite interesting to unravel this Rashomon.
Benn’s post over at reddit called This crap is why I can’t make a timelapse landscape of Chicago gathered over 150 comments and is quite interesting to read. While the internet is not a lawyer, there seems to be a consensuses that the guard did not have legal grounds to confiscate the memory card and delete the photos.