April 2nd, 2009

Phoenix police harass photographer under Homeland Security pretense 0

By Carlos Miller


When they’re not raiding the homes of bloggers who are critical of them, Phoenix police are harassing photographers, telling them that it is illegal to take pictures of federal buildings, public transportation, stadiums, street lights and banks.

William J. Nash-McAdam told the Downtown Phoenix Journal that he and a friend were detained by a Phoenix cop last weekend who took their identifications and informed them that they had violated some Homeland Security statute.

When they asked him to cite the specific statute, the cop told them to “Google it,” according to the article.

Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Building

Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Building

Somebody should tell that cop that anybody can go on Google Street View and find a three-dimensional view of almost any building in Phoenix, including the cherished Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Courthouse, which I found in a matter of seconds and uploaded to this post (click to enlarge and analyze the building for terrorist purposes).

And speaking of Google Street View, check out how residents in England surrounded one of its car with cameras on the roof, forbidding it from entering their village.

In the Phoenix incident, the article states that other photographers have been harassed in the city’s downtown.

Nash-McAdam spoke to two other people with cameras in the Copper Square area. According to him, one photographer stated that he had been confronted by police about taking a photograph of Civic Square with the Bank of America building in the background, and the other stated that he was confronted by officers for taking photos of Chase Field.

The article also mentions the story behind my comrade in arms in New York, War on Photography.

Jim Poulos, a train affecionado, has been told by officers in New York City that he was not allowed to take photographs in the Subway, when photography is explicitly permitted by an affirmative statute. Poulos has been collecting stories of photographers who have been wrongfully harassed by police at the War on Photography website.

The Phoenix cop eventually let them go with a “warning”.

While Nash-McAdam doesn’t think that this incident will keep him from visiting Downtown Phoenix in the future, he says that it has cemented his view that Phoenix is a “police state to me when held in comparison to my hometown of Orange County and the numerous other cities I’ve traveled to.”

Ya think?


Send stories, tips and videos to Carlos Miller.

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