If someone told me that a photo of cheese could send a person to jail, I wouldn’t believe it. And yet, it really happened. A drug dealer recently got busted and sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison after he posted a photo of cheese online. And I’m not using slang here, it was actual cheese.
For over a week, people in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota have been protesting after a white police officer shot a Black man dead. And what started as a peaceful protest turned into havoc on Friday. On the sixth night of the protest, police officers reportedly targeted photojournalists and other members of the press. They forced them to lie on the ground, photographed their faces and press credentials, and some of them were reportedly even detained.
Filming police officers in the course of their duties has started to become quite commonplace. Sometimes it’s morons trying to wind them up and bait them into doing something stupid, but often it’s simply people trying to record the other side of the story. After all most police around the world wear bodycams these days. So, why not?
Well, according to Vice, police in Beverly Hills have resorted to playing copyrighted music while they’re being filmed in order to trip social media copyright filters to get videos automatically taken down as soon as they’re uploaded. Licensing issues with the music also prevent these videos from getting any news media attention they might deserve, too.
Photojournalist Andy Aitchison (46) was recently arrested after photographing protests at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, UK. He was reportedly arrested on suspicion of criminal damage for taking photos. In other words – for doing his job. He believes it’s censorship, and some serious concerns have been raised about media freedom.
A Hollywood man recently pleaded guilty for recklessly flying a drone and hitting a police helicopter with it. This misdemeanor will land him up to a $250,000 fine, and a maximum of one year in federal prison.
On 15 May, police officers in Meqheleng, South Africa reportedly beat photographer Paul Nthoba. He was photographing them for a local newspaper while they were enforcing the coronavirus lockdown. However, they allegedly attacked him verbally at first, and later physically – multiple times.
The number of coronavirus-related deaths in New York City is alarming. Because of this, there have reportedly been more mass burials on Hart Island than ever. Photographer George Steinmetz was recently documenting a burial ditch on Hart Island with his drone, which put him in legal trouble. His drone was confiscated by the police and he was issued a Desk Appearance Ticket.
On 1 April, Baltimore officials officially approved that this city’s police can use surveillance drones. Equipped with hi-res cameras, these drones would reportedly be used to spy on the citizens. As probably expected, this caused quite a stir. And now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against the Baltimore police over the use of this invasive surveillance program.
On January 27th, the British parliament heard and debated a bill (for the second time) which gives police and prison authorities more powers to be able to deal with what they see as problem drones. Officially, this means drones that they believe are posing a public safety risk or are flying illegally.
The bill is aimed at those flying around no-fly zones, flying too close to people and buildings and illegal commercial operations. The prison system will also likely welcome the new power, as it will help them to minimise drone-delivered contraband.