Skip to comments.MTA Officers Detain Man For Taking Pictures (Lie to him/detain him)
Posted on 06/02/2011 8:48:45 AM PDT by DCBryan1
BALTIMORE (WJZ) The Maryland Transit Administration says more training may be called for after three MTA officers detained a man for taking pictures at a light rail station.
Pat Warren has more on the incident.
According to the ACLU, this isnt the first time MTA Police have overstepped their bounds.
In a YouTube posting, Christopher Fussell left the camera rolling when he was confronted by three MTA officers for taking pictures at the Baltimore Cultural Light Rail Station.
It is my understanding that I am free to take pictures as long as its not for commercial purposes but for personal use, Fussell said in the video.
Not on state property, not without proper authorization, an officer said.
Fussell: From who?
Officer: Nobodys allowed to take pictures.
The MTA admits the officers were in error.
They can most certainly take photos of our system, Ralign Wells, the MTA Administrator, said.
In addition to being wrong about MTA and state policy, the officer incorrectly cites the Patriot Act.
Listen, listen to what Im saying. The Patriot Act says that critical infrastructure, trains, train stations, all those things require certain oversight to take pictures, whether you say they are for personal use or whatever, thats your story, the officer said.
So why dont you have any signs posted to say I cannot take pictures? Fussell said.
Our officers have become very sensitive post 9/11 and were trying to see that they understand our passengers and citizens also have a right to take pictures, Wells said.
The officer eventually threatened to take Fussell into custody.
Do you have Maryland state identification on you? the officer asked.
I am not committing a crime, Fussell said.
(Excerpt) Read more at baltimore.cbslocal.com ...
Hearing impaired Mr. Fussell, who was detained for 40+ minutes by MTA cops lying to him about what is legal and what is illegal. IMHO, a hero to the 4th, 5th, and 1st Amendment.
Oops! Missed yours. Sorry! ;)
Yet another reason that Congress should have never extended this travesty of a law. Great job, Boehner and Bachmann!
. . . quoth the ACLU. If it were the Soviet Union or Cuba, they'd be okay with that, I guess. Makes you wonder, how about Zimbabwe today? Wonder why you don't hear them ask that one.
’Sir, Im going to ask you one last time, then Im going to take you into custody. Do we understand each other?’ the officer said.
Is there a third disposition between ‘in custody’ and ‘free to go’?
A courageous young man, and with a hearing disability too, for having the presence of mind to remain calm but stand up for his rights despite the officers continued threats and to continue to videotape the encounter (both for his and the officer’s protection).
Until government organizations hand out stiff suspensions to these folks they’ll never learn. Let them go a month without pay and see if they can remember how to act. The way it goes is the supervisor calls them in and says, “Well you got caught...consider this your counseling session...I know you were just doing your job and this will blow over and then it’s business as usual.” Hit them on in the wallet and see how fast the word gets around.
To heck with the ACLU, a.k.a. the Communist union. We agree with the Constitution of the United States of America.
I think they were ignorant of the law concerning photography. Most police officers seem to be.
I am always wary of the Police now... Too many bad LEOs have proven that it is better to be safe than sorry.
The Public Servant Questionnaire is my favorite for stopping Thug Activity by the Police.
But I no longer talk to the Police. EVER.
Knowing your rights is the smart way to go.
Not only don't seek legal advice from cops, don't talk to them at all, except to take a 5th.
IIRC at this point one officer, in between lecturing him, was asking for Fussell for identification. Chris responded by giving and spelling his name. The officer was on the phone, maybe with higher ups, who eventually let him go without Chris showing ID but followed him to Penn Station. At that point, he showed ID to the Amtrak policeman who ran a warrant check on him. He knew he would have to produce ID to purchase an Amtrak ticket so showed it to the Amtrak officer.
Chris is a well known and respected transit photographer out of Portland so he is well aware of his rights as a photographer. Others have run afoul of this type of uninformed officer including the editor of a nationally known railroad publication who was detained after photographing historic NYC subway cars on a public platform.
It’s not rocket science, you have a right to photograph for non-commercial personal use trains, buses, trucks, planes, etc. from any publicly accessible location. You also do not have to produce ID if you are not trespassing or otherwise breaking the law. You do not have to give up your camera or video recorder to the police absent a search warrant.
MD is one of the states where recording the cops is illegal.
>>I think many of them are ignorant, but I also think many of them are just throwing their weight around.
AKA “You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.”
And cops wonder why people have a bad attitude towards them.
Sir, Im going to ask you one last time, then Im going to take you into custody. Do we understand each other?, the officer said.”
Perhaps you know. Obviously, the photographer was not in custody when the officer said this. So was the photographer free to go? Is there a third disposition between in custody and free to go?
Well, it depends. For instance, when Fussell was first confronted, if he had said he has the right to leave, and proceeding to vacate the premises, this may have given the MTA officers an excuse to detain him for “attempting to flee”. We’ll never know, but it is conceivable.
Fussell may have been “free to go”, but he may not have believed he could.
Finally, why should he leave? He’s a taxpaying citizen. The officers are working for him, and Fussell has every right to be at the light rail station. After all, as a taxpaying, he’s part owner. Fussell wasn’t braking any laws, and was simply taking photos.
In this country, we are presumed INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty. It’s not the other way around, but many in law enforcing believe otherwise.
I salute Fussell for his courage and convictions.
I admit my ignorance. What are the laws concerning photography?
I’m missing something. How can someone flee if he is free to go? If not free to go, then he is in custody already. I don’t get it.
No, you’re not missing anything. “Free to go” seems pretty cut and dry, and it is, UNLESS you’re dealing with MTA Officers, or airport security. You, as a law abiding citizen, is subject to the emotional state of mind of these officers. So each situation requires a calm analysis of which action to take.
These MTA officers were obviously stepping over the limits of authority, which is why Fussell will win this law suit.
Fussell may have believed that despite the fact that he may have been within his rights to leave, prudence required that he remain. The unreasonable officers may have “felt” that he was trying to flee.
It’s all speculation, but the scenario is plausible. After all, it’s happened in the past.
You’re lucky some O27-scale Rail Detective didn’t come out and shoot you in the toe.
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