St. Louis Photographer Sues Authorities over Her Right to Shoot Public Park Portraits

5006396635_c5359a439d_b

Is a ban on professional photography in a public park in violation of the First Amendment?

According to Photographer Josephine Havlak and two of her clients, the small village of Twin Oaks should not be allowed to ban professional photography in the village’s only public park.

The ban was implemented after a county executive’s failed attempt to impose a $2,000 yearly permit fee, says Havlak.

The village clerk, however, blames photographers for this situation, in a case that could have a deep impact on the entire industry.

[Read more...]

Police Shut Down A Los Angeles Photo Walk After Mistaking It For A Rave

photo-walk-shutdown-rave
When most people think of photo walks, they probably imagine a small group of photographers casually strolling down the sidewalk snapping photos of random things along the way. Then there’s FlaskMob, a group of photographers, models, and artists who do photo walks a little bit differently. For example, the photo walk the group organized near downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, was complete with their own mobile DJ, fireworks, steel wool spinners, smoke bombs, and booze. The organizers were expecting approximately 300 participants to show up; however, as word spread via social media, that number quickly grew to about 2000.

[Read more...]

Videographer Arrested After Recording An Accident And Not Handing The Camera Over To The Police

Usually we hear stories about photographers getting harassed or arrested for taking pictures, but this one is about a photographer that got arrested for not letting the police see them. Photographer in Lacey Township, Philadelphia was arrested and detained for a few hours after recording an accident for 45 minutes and not handing over his camera to the police.

The photographer, Flinchbaugh, who considers himself an independent member of the media (and is a contributor to a local news site), was one of the first to arrive at the scene which got him access. But as he was going to leave, he was confronted by a detective who demanded Flinchbaugh to hand over his camera so the video could be reviewed for potential evidence. When Flinchbaugh refused he was handcuffed and arrested for obstructing administration of law, despite the fact that he was willing to provide a copy of the video to the police.

[Read more...]

What’s An Officer To Do? BBC Photographer Arrested While Operating Drone Mid-Flight; Police Land Drone Themselves

Photo by Vicki Burton

Photo by Vicki Burton

A veteran photojournalist who works for several different news agencies in British Columbia, including the BBC, was arrested for “disturbing the peace” while taking aerial photographs of a burning building. The photographer, Eddie Mitchell, maintains that he was operating the drone legally. Mitchell says not only does he currently hold a Civil Aviation Authority license for drone operation, but he also had permission from the land owner where he was filming. [Read more...]

The Ansel Adams Act Goes To Congress; Details Clear Laws Protecting 1st Amendment Rights Of Photographers

ansel adams actIn the United States, the work of photographers and photojournalists is protected under the 1st Amendment which states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. And, in a perfect world, the constitutional rights granted by the amendment would never be violated. But, perfect the world is not and it seems like photographers are being unjustly accosted on a regular basis.

Think of all the news stories you’ve read that pretty much read the same: a photographer from Any City, USA was arrested, threatened with arrest, threatened with seizure of equipment, or otherwise harassed for exercising their First Amendment right of taking photos in a public place. A quick search on DIYP alone using the “Photography Is Not A Crime” keyword yields you a dizzying amount of such stories. Not to mention the motions made by the Federal Government, which restrict and sometimes prohibit photography in National Parks.

I’m willing to admit that not every single case of harassment towards a photographer is unjust. In reality, there’s always that one jackass who ruins it for everyone, but a good number of these types of cases violate the rights of photographers and, quite frankly, we’re fed up.

[Read more...]

A Guide To Photographer’s Rights (And What To Do If You Get Arrested)

photographers-rights-(1)
Hopefully, none of you will ever actually be in a situation where this would be useful, but Mickey Osterreicher, General Counsel for The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), sat down to make a quick, but helpful, informational video regarding the legal rights of photojournalists. In the video, which is a 3 minute long gem of a sound bite, Osterreicher, explains several different scenarios photographers working in public places often find themselves in and what they can do to prevent interactions with the police from escalating.

Given recent situations regarding the possible violations of photographer’s rights in Ferguson, Missouri and other demonstrations around the country, the video is certainly worth taking a look at. [Read more...]

Mayor Candidate Records a Police Beating, Gets Arrested for “Menacing” the Cops Involved

10542870935_6c3a58748b_o

A few days ago, NYPD Chief Phillip Banks issued a memo reminding police officers that people have the right to fill them while they’re on duty, and that they can’t interfere and try to stop it from happening. It took only three days since then, unfortunately, for that memo to be forgotten.

Yesterday, an previously New York Mayor candidate named Randy Credico was arrested and jailed for recording the aggressive arrest of a man by officers in street clothes. While on his way to a campaign interview, Credico saw the two officers taking control of the man at the Van Cortland Park subway station, located in the Bronx.

[Read more...]

Following The Arrests Of Two Journalists, A Crew Of TV Reporters Were Tear Gassed, Had Equipment Dismantled By SWAT Team For Covering The Ferguson Protests

As the protest happening in Ferguson, Missouri following the death of an unarmed teenager who was shot by a police officer, enters it’s 5th day, it appears the police are vigilantly enforcing a complete media blackout. Social media is buzzing with reports of journalists, photographers, and videographers being assaulted, shot at with rubber bullets, and arrested by the St. Louis County Police. A video from local NBC affiliate, KSDK, shows a news crew from Al Jazeera America TV being tear gassed as they attempted to report on the protest. As soon the journalists cleared out, this happened:

Screenshot of video on KSDK shows SWAT disassembling journalists camera equipment.

Screenshot of video on KSDK shows SWAT disassembling journalists camera equipment.

In case it isn’t very obvious, a SWAT team in full riot gear swooped in and began breaking down the journalists camera equipment and lighting setup. Sadly, this isn’t the only case of photographers and journalists having their rights violated while reporting on the event.
[Read more...]

New York City Police Department Issued Memo On Photographers Rights…Finally

Photography Is Not A Crime. Right?

Photography Is Not A Crime. Right?

In a memo handed down to New York City Police precincts on Wednesday, the Chief of Department, Philip Banks, reminded his staff that photographers do indeed have the right to photograph on duty police officers. This comes two long years after the Washington DC police force issued a strikingly similar notice to its officers. It also follows the tragic death of a Staten Island man that was killed after being placed in a chokehold by a member of the NYPD. The memo instructs police officers to not interfere or interrupt photographers unless the are explicitly interfering with operations being performed by the officers.

“Members of the public are legally allowed to record police interactions. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or ordering the person to cease constitutes censorship and also violates the First Amendment.”

[Read more...]

New Jersey Officer Loses Cool While Recorded: “If Obama Doesn’t Follow The Constitution, We Don’t Have To.”

It’s common these days to find videos of people filming confrontations with policemen. With a smartphone in everyone’s hands, it’s easier than ever to be able to capture incriminating evidence. Given how many controversies have come up in recent years regarding abusive police action caught on video, officers have to be careful with how they deal with citizens recording them.

This video captures resident Steve Wronko attempting to investigate the Helmetta Animal Shelter, when he’s approached by New Jersey police officer Richard Recine. Normally, the entire thing would have been another situation of a man trying to be smart with a police officer who’s trying to do his job (the internet just loves a guy who steps up to authority), and then act threatened when they pat his back towards the exit.

[Read more...]