The Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker who was arrested for photographing trains earlier this year has filed a lawsuit against the City of New York.
Robert Taylor is asking for $2 million, including $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.
His attorney, Gerald Cohen, said although he might not receive that much, he can easily receive a five-figure settlement.
“It’s outrageous, they didn’t even read the laws,” Cohen said in a phone interview. “They were just bullying him around for no reason.”
Kerzic received a five-figure settlement after he was arrested for photographing Amtrak trains for an Amtrak photo contest he was planning to enter.
Also, another photographer whom Cohen did not represent received $31,000 after he was arrested for photographing trains in New York City.
Like the Kerzic case, this incident was ripe with irony.
As an MTA employee and train aficionado, Taylor is well-informed on the policies and laws regarding photographing trains. He uses the photos as screen savers on his computer.
In fact, when he was approached by the officer, he informed him of the specific statute that permits photography in the train stations.
“The cop said, ‘our rules are different than the MTA rules,’” Cohen said.
Nevertheless, the cop used the same statute to charge Taylor.
The statute, 1050.9 (c), states the following:
Photography, filming or video recording in any facility or conveyance is permitted except that ancillary equipment such as lights, reflectors or tripods may not be used. Members of the press holding valid identification issued by the New York City Police Department are hereby authorized to use necessary ancillary equipment. All photographic activity must be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Part.
Taylor wasn’t using lights, reflectors or tripods at the time. All he was doing was holding a camera, which is permitted.
“It doesn’t even say he was using these things in the summons,” Cohen said.
Not surprisingly, they dropped the charges against him.
Check out the lawsuit here.