Videographer pleads guilty to “Unauthorized Photography,” world does not implode

Last week, Photography Is Not A Crime published an article about a Shreveport, Louisiana videographer who was detained by authorities for flying a drone over a local VA hospital while on assignment for a local newspaper. This brought screams of “tyrants” and “carry a gun” from Internet commenters, as most logical people in today’s screwed-up world can imagine. Mickey Osterreicher, renowned media lawyer and general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, even weighed in on the subject, his comments being published in PINAC’s original article.

However, after all the fanfare had died down and the Internet trolls put away their pitchforks and migrated back to Reddit, little was heard about the case which “went to trial” last Friday. In fact, when I spoke to Jay over the phone, apparently I was the first person to give a rat’s tookus as to the outcome of his plight and the first to see how our brother-in-arms was doing.

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Atlanta Police Department Sanctioned for Obstructing Filming and Photographing Police Conduct


Felicia Anderson took the City of Atlanta to court for violating her constitutional rights when she was arrested in 2009 while photographing police activity, and besides damages, a consent order was agreed upon.

As the city and its police department failed to comply with the court’s order, federal judge Steve C. Jones found the two in contempt of court. Additionally, he imposed sanctions should they continue to fail to comply with the 2012 decision.

Among the requirements are that all APD officers undergo in-person training on the matter and make it a firing offense to interfere with a citizen’s right to record police.

The City of Atlanta will be fined $20,000 per day, should it fail to implement the previous and current court order within the given timeframe.

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Photographer Defeats Unlawful NYPD Search in 7 Seconds


Recently it seems like every other day there’s a story in the headlines about police officers abusing their power and violating civil rights.

Shawn Randal Thomas, an event photographer from New York City, is the kind of person who fights for his rights and firmly believes in civilian oversight.

As such his YouTube channel hosts a variety of videos recording law enforcement officers during one activity or another, pointing fingers at those he thinks are bad apples.

This probably won’t come to you as a surprise, but spending so much time around cops and always against them won’t get you on their good list. In fact, Thomas has been arrested six times (as of May 2014); though no matter the charge he was never found guilty.

The video below, which has been viewed 380,000 times in just 4 days, shows Thomas putting his knowledge of the law, experience and what many think is a too-large serving of disrespect, to brush off a couple of NYPD officers who ask what he’s carrying in his bag.

While he succeeded to avoid answering the cops’ question and was left alone, one must wonder if his provocative behavior doesn’t attract police and give photographers a bad name.

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What Airlines Aren’t Telling You About Their Photography Policy–Until It’s Too Late


As photographer’s rights continue to make their way to the headlines, the Washington Post chimed in on the subject with a public service announcement of sorts informing photographers of the restrictions in which many commercial airlines are beginning to enforce. While it may not come as a surprise to many of you that airline employees have the right to tell photographers to turn off their cameras, the lack of an actual policy may be slightly more unexpected. [Read more…]

Amateur Photographers Facing Unfair Discrimination From Law Enforcement?

Just days after a man was tased in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for illegally operating a drone, photographer Jason Lanier, has shared his personal experience with park rangers and law enforcement, which he describes as discrimination. On his Youtube channel, Lanier shared a 7-minute long clip of two separate interactions he had with law enforcement while on a non-paying shoot with a local photography club.

Take a look:

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Photographer Tased and Arrested After Flying a Drone in Hawaiian National Park


Travis Sanders visited the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on Saturday night with his wife and daughter in order to see the rising lava lake at Halema’uma’u Crater, but never imagined that he’d turn into the main attraction.

At some point Sanders decided to use a drone to capture the spectacle and the crowds, later claiming he was unaware his actions were against the law, but things turned ugly when a park ranger approached and demanded that he brings it down.

Accounts of what happened after the ranger asked to see Sanders’ ID greatly differ. The photographer stated he was simply trying to avoid a confrontational ranger, while park officials said the “very unruly” suspect fled the scene and was stopped in order to protect the hundreds of people at the scene and prevent him from falling down the edge of the 500-foot deep caldera.

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Photojournalist Pushed To Ground; Reuters Reporter Detained During Night Of Unrest In Baltimore

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Photojournalist, J.M. Giordano, during an encounter with the Baltimore Police Department

Saturday night, huge crowds of protesters converged on the streets of Baltimore to protest the death of Freddie Gray, a black male who sustained life ending injuries during an arrest made by the Baltimore City Police Department on April 12th. Like many similar protests that have taken place in recent months, the protest began as a peaceful assembly before pockets of violence began breaking out.

During one particular standoff, in which protesters were reportedly throwing rocks at the riot gear clad officers, the police announced the assembly was no longer peaceful and ordered the protesters to leave the area. According to the Baltimore Sun, the police made an announcement that went “something like, ‘This is no longer a legal assembly. This is no longer a peaceful protest,'” just before they backed off, creating a wider distance between the officers and the protesters. [Read more…]

US Marshal Appears To Attack Pedestrian Photographer; Knocks Phone From Hands, Smashes It With Foot

These types of clips are popping up so frequently these days, it’s almost not even shocking to see anymore. But, this video posted yesterday on YouTube shows a heavily armed US Marshal charge a woman who was photographing a group of officers. The Marshal grabbed the phone out of her hand, then proceeded to kick and smash the phone as it hit the ground. The entire group of law enforcement officials appear to have then walked away from the startled woman.

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Colorado Introduces “Right to Record” Bill Punishing Police Officers Interfering With Photographers

Colorado Police

In a pleasantly surprising yet most welcome turn of events legislators have proposed a bill that will protect photographers’ rights and increase police oversight, rather than limit them suggested by several recent bills.

Unlike the bill proposed in the nearby state of Texas, banning photography within 25 feet of police, Colorado’s bill seeks to punish officers who interfere with lawful recordings of police activity by imposing significant penalties on violators.

The bill, titled “Concerning Prohibiting A Peace Officer From Interfering With A Person Lawfully Recording A Peace Officer-Involved Incident”, is just one of the steps being considered in order to increase police oversight in Colorado and hopefully it will lead to similar legislation in other states.

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‘Police Buffer Zone’ Bill Attacked By Law Enforcement Groups and Legal Experts


The bill proposing to ban recording police within 25-feet of them faced strong opposition from concerned citizens and civil right activists, and was said to be changed to 15-feet after its author received death threats.

What might be the bill’s death strike has now come from legal experts as well as the very same people the bill claims to be assisting.

Refusing to get out of the headlines, Jason Villalba is now spearheading another controversial bill.

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