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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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @07:20AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @07:20AM (#82229)

    > but they took pictures of me taking pictures of them

    It is an intimidation tactic.

    When the public photographs them it is to make them more accountable to the public.
    When they photograph the public without reasonable suspicion it is a threat that they will abuse their power to hurt the person they are photographing.

    You can't prove that they had no reason to be suspicious of you, but the chance that someone who happens to be at the end-point of a chase that ended in a wreck (versus at the start point of the chase) had anything to do with the chase approaches nil.

    > but that also means they can take photographs of me taking photographs of them.

    Actually it does not. When they are on the clock they are not free to do whatever they want. I'm sure their department does not have a specific policy against photographing random people, and I'm sure that if they were called to account for it they would have plausible deniability as Nollij described. But they surely do have a policy against intimidating random people. It just one of those things that they can get away with because they haven't been effectively punished for it yet. Like the way they used to get away with warrant-less searches the phones of people they arrested.

    Watch this cop do it as soon as he gets out of his car. []