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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday August 16 2014, @01:58PM   Printer-friendly
from the now-I-see-you dept.

Olga Khazan writes in The Atlantic that police in Ferguson, Missouri, arrested two reporters Wednesday night as protests over the police shooting of an unarmed teenager continued for the fifth day. The journalists, the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery and the Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly, were only detained for about 15 minutes before being released, but the incident provoked widespread outrage over the Ferguson police's increasingly brutal tactics.

Lowery wrote that armed officers stormed a McDonald's in which he and Reilly were working and demanded to see ID. They then told Lowery to stop video recording them, and finally they ordered the reporters to leave and claimed they weren't leaving fast enough. According to other reports, the Ferguson police also demanded that an MSNBC camera man and a local Fox News crew take down their cameras. Police hit the crew of Al Jazeera America with tear gas and dismantled their gear.

"The arrest and intimidation of journalists for documenting the events in Ferguson is particularly disturbing because it interferes with the ability of the press to hold the government accountable. But actually, anyone journalist or otherwise can take a photo of a police officer," writes Khazan. "Citizens have the right to take pictures of anything in plain view in a public space, including police officers and federal buildings. Police can not confiscate, demand to view, or delete digital photos."

 
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by takyon on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:39PM

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:39PM (#82082) Journal

    Photography is Not a Crime blog by Carlos Miller [photographyisnotacrime.com].

    Cops around the country aren't getting the message. Recording cops and public officials is legal. Recording openly in a public place is legal. Challengers to the status quo are often arbitrarily arrested, harassed with the specter of 9/11, told that they are interfering with an active investigation by recording arrests at a distance, and asked to identify themselves when there is no obligation to do so. Some cops will go as far as assaulting videographers, claim that citizens are resisting arrest when they don't play along, and seize phones and cameras in order to delete videos. Citizen-operated drones have come under attack recently. Unwritten "policies" banning recording or drones are pulled out of thin air even when citizens are adhering to FAA rules.

    The reporters had it lucky. They had powerful media backing. Average joes can't always count on being released quickly or having charges thrown out. For that, there is the PINAC blog, which does its best to name and shame crooked police departments.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @04:28PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @04:28PM (#82089)

    > Photography is Not a Crime blog by Carlos Miller.

    That site has a very interesting document. It is a list of every time the police pulled the driver's license [photographyisnotacrime.com] info of a guy who regularly records the police.

    The document showed me a new kind of way for the police to abuse driver's license info. The "driver's license photo line up" (search the PDF for "DLPhotoLineUp") - the guy in the document had his DL photo used for about 20 "line ups." That's waaaay more than would happen to an average guy. That seems to be an attempt by the police to get witnesses to mis-identify the guy in a crime so that the police can plausibly arrest him. It lets the police shift responsibility for harassment to an unrelated 3rd party. It is a new kind of iniquity that would have never occurred to me, but in hindsight is obvious.

    > Average joes can't always count on being released quickly or having charges thrown out.

    Exactly. As asshole cops everywhere are fond of saying, "You might beat the rap, but you won't beat the ride."