Thursday, July 7, 2011

Photography is not a crime. Or maybe it is

Have you noticed the increase in arrests for taking pictures? I have. These incidents are everywhere in the US now, in different venues, at different times of the day, for different reasons, and among different people, by different law enforcers. One thing remains the same: private citizens are getting arrested for merely snapping a photo of law enforcement. Here are four examples, representing different venues in which the "criminal" was arrested. These four examples are progressive, in that the place of arrest goes from public to private. Nowadays it seems it doesn't matter where you are, if you are recording or photographing law enforcement from any distance, you could be arrested.

Reporters arrested by Park Police for taking photos at D.C. Taxicab Meeting
"At a Wednesday meeting of the D.C. Taxicab Commission (DCTC), two journalists were arrested by Park Police for taking photos at the public meeting. Pete Tucker, who writes for TheFightBack.org, showed up to the meeting, held at the Park Police headquarters, to document a proposal to implement a new medallion system. During the first hour of the meeting, a taxi inspector approached Tucker and told him that he couldn’t take photographs of commission members seated at the front of the room. Tucker snapped a photo of the inspector. According to his account, two Park Police officers approached him, and one said, “You can come with me or you can get locked up.” He responded that he was merely documenting a public meeting."

The reporter was led from the room in handcuffs.

Woman Escorted Off US Airways Flight For Snapping Photo
Deemed a "security risk" for photographing nametag of rude employee
"A Miami photographer was escorted off a US Airways plane and deemed a “security risk” after she snapped a photo of an employee’s nametag at Philadelphia International Airport Friday. Sandy DeWitt said the employee, whose name was Tonialla G., was being rude to several passengers in the boarding area of the flight to Miami. So DeWitt snapped a photo of her nametag with her iPhone because she planned to complain about her in a letter to US Airways. But the photo didn’t come out because it was too dark. However, once DeWitt was settled in her seat, preparing for take-off, Tonialla G. entered the plane and confronted her. “She told me to delete the photo,” DeWitt said in an interview with Photography is Not a Crime Saturday morning. DeWitt, who already had her phone turned off in preparation for take-off, turned the phone back on to show her that it didn’t come out, but deleted the photo anyway. “I complied with her wishes but it’s not something I would normally do,” she said. “It just wasn’t usable.” But Tonialla G. wouldn’t let the issue go. She then walked into the cockpit to inform the pilot that DeWitt was a “security risk.” "

An update later said that the passenger was escorted off because she used profanity.

Activist stunned from video fallout
"Rochester activist Emily Good says she had no idea she would set off a firestorm when she stood on her lawn videotaping a police traffic stop on May12. She never expected to be arrested, handcuffed for nearly an hour, or taken to jail in her pajamas, either. "It was outrageous and I still kind of don't believe it. This is still a little bit of numbing shock, this entire situation." A video of that night's events in front of Good's house on Aldine Street shows Good not obeying Rochester police Officer Mario Masic's commands to go inside her home. "I felt like that was an unreasonable order, and I stood in my yard and I said: 'This is my yard,' and I tried to understand what he wanted because I felt like going inside my house was unreasonable, and it just escalated very quickly."

So she stood in her own yard, videotaping the police who were dealing with a traffic stop at a neighbor's house. They told her to go inside, and arrested her when she didn't and kept recording.

State police arrest homeowner for taking photos of a crash in her yard
"Massachusetts state police arrested a 65-year-old woman who was standing on her property photographing the damage after a car had come crashing through her yard and into her driveway late Sunday night. Judith Davis-Scott, the West Elm Street homeowner in whose backyard the car crashed, said she was handcuffed and arrested at her house after police took away her Nikon camera as she was taking pictures of the damage to her backyard. “I told them this is my property and I have a right to take pictures on my property,” said Davis-Scott, an optician. Her husband, Michael Scott, a disabled veteran, sat on his back porch on Monday, and shook his head when speaking of the night before and of his wife’s arrest. “This is ridiculous,” Scott said, his eyes filling with tears. “You try to live a decent life and this is what you get. It’s upsetting.”

State police arrest homeowner after car crashes into her house
"Judith Davis-Scott, the West Elm Street homeowner in whose backyard the car crashed, said she was handcuffed and arrested at her house after police took away her Nikon camera as she was taking pictures of the damage to her backyard. Davis-Scott was charged with interfering with police and disorderly conduct. She said she spent the night in a jail cell at the Brockton Police Department and was released on $40 bail. Monday morning, she showed media crews bruises on her arms that she said resulted after a state police officer grabbed her and handcuffed her. “I told them this is my property and I have a right to take pictures on my property,” said Davis-Scott, an optician. She said the state police officer “grabbed me and dragged me up the stairs and he pushed me into the house.”

In the first incident, media representatives attending a public meeting were arrested for taking pictures. In the second incident, Airline employees used their authority to detain a passenger deemed a "security risk." The risk was never defined. In the third and fourth incidents, the events occurred on private property. The Massachusetts homeowner was on her own property taking video of an incident next door, and in the last one, the homeowner was on her OWN property taking pictures of something that happened on her OWN property.

We see that the authorities in each case varied from Government Airline officials, Park Police, State Police, and Local police. I chose these four because they are emblematic of the different places where people are increasingly denied a right to scrutinize public servants engaged in their business; meetings, security areas, and police stops. In each of the four, the kind of public servant varies. It cannot be said that it is always a belligerent citizen, or always a certain kind of law enforcement official, or always in one certain city. These happened in NY, Mass., Philly, and DC.

The fact is, as things become more authoritarian, there is less tolerance for scrutiny. There is less need to accede to citizen vigilance and more desire to shut them out. As the wheels of civil law become eroded there is more ease in abusing the power that has been delivered to it.

This fact should not surprise us. It is written in 2 Timothy 3:2-4 that in the last days, "People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God." Do not suppose that the "unloving" and "brutal" applies only to private citizens. It applies to all people. Those in power in a world where the Holy Spirit no longer restrains will be more than ever compelled to allow their carnal brutality to unleash. If they have some power and a gun, then all the more dangerous.

In Matthew 24:12 we are warned that "Love will grow cold." If you look up the Greek word for "cold" it means: "spiritual energy blighted or chilled by a malign or poisonous wind." It give me chills just to read that, never mind live it!

Prior to the Flood, we were warned that there is a set time period for His longsuffering and then when the time is up, the Spirit will be removed and judgment rendered. (Gen 6:3- "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever" Greek translation of strive: administer, govern). When the Holy Spirit Restrainer is removed then the perilous times shall indeed begin. Without restraint, the conditions will shortly revert to what they were in the Days of Noah, as Jesus said in Matthew 24:37. What were those days like? "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5) EVERY intent was ONLY evil, CONTINUALLY. That is 100% saturation, folks!

Crime rates are up. Jails are opened to let out the 'milder' criminals because we cannot afford to keep them. Yet retired housewives are arrested while their disabled Military veteran husbands sit on the porch and cry for a country we no longer recognize.

1 comment:

  1. This occured in Dearborn. Michigan 2009 & 2010
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUdYsvA3wg0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy2aGbICoM8&feature=related

    ReplyDelete

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