Joel Chandler, a Florida resident whose blog is called I Am Troublemaker, tells the following story involving his 19-year-old son.
His son, an amateur photographer, had just received a speeding ticket in a school zone by the Lakeland Police Department in Central Florida.
Chandler recommended he go back to the location where he received a ticket to photograph the traffic lights to see if they were in compliance with state and federal standards.
While his son was taking the photos, including the one above, a Lakeland police officer told him that it was illegal to take pictures in a school zone.
I haven’t heard that one before but it doesn’t surprise me in the least.
The cop also told him that parents had complained to him about photographing children. He had only been there a few minutes. There doesn’t appear to be any kids in the photo. And even if there was, tough shit.
Then the cop demanded to see his photos, citing concerns with (yawn) terrorism.
Let me just let Chandler explain it:
In fact the school grounds are not visible in any of the pictures he took nor are any children visible. The officer insisted on handling his camera and reviewing all of the pictures
When my son politely challenged the officer by asking exactly what law he was referring to the officer cited concerns with terrorism but ultimately conceded that in fact there was no law prohibiting the use of photographic equipment on a public road.
Thankfully the incident ended without violence or any further harassment by Law Enforcement. In retrospect I’m glad that my son was able to experience what he and I have discussed so many times: a healthy democracy demands a fundamental distrust of authority.