I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the operations order the New York City Police Department came out with last year turned out to be complete bullshit.
We’re still constantly hearing of incidents of NYPD officers harassing photographers for taking photos in public, including two incidents in the past week.
The first incident comes to us from a photographer in Norway who was harassed during a recent visit. He went back home and blogged about his experience, which was translated through Google
The translation is not perfect, but it’s not hard to understand what happened. We’ve heard it so many times before.
The policeman was wondering really why I took pictures of the subway. And I said the truth was that I think the subway looks good and is a good photo subject. The answer did not seem to convince the NYPD man, so I tried the nervous English to elaborate how all the posts and darkness creates a cool symmetry. But it was not the NOK. The policeman asked for identification, and had a bit disappointed to be content with driving license, since the pass was at the hotel. He followed up with a lesson that this was suspicious and that they had to be careful with the subway in New York.
– Take a walk with me, “said the policeman, and he took me away in the direction of three other policemen at the entrance to the underground station. One thing is to see the NYPD on tv. Another thing is when the four of them have singled you out. I tried to look smart, while I stood and småtrippet with his hands in his coat pocket.
No good idea.
– Keep your hands out of your pockets while I’m talking to you! half-shouted the police officer from the metro.
And the second incident comes to us from Rachel Wise, a journalism student at New York University, who also blogged about her incident.
Most people would agree that police officers know right from wrong. I mean, after all, their jobs are to enforce the laws, so they must know them, too, right? Well, yesterday I learned that’s not necessarily the case. At least not for some members of the N.Y.P.D.
Wise was covering a protest in Manhattan when a cop told her she was not allowed to take photos from the public sidewalk.
At first, I’m stunned. I almost concede and walk across the street until I realize he is completely out of line. The protesters are standing on a public sidewalk, where hundreds of people are walking by. The last time I checked, public spaces are just that — public. I know my rights as a journalist and as a citizen, and I know it’s perfectly legal for me to be photographing and standing exactly where I am.
Wise was successful in getting the cops to back off. And she followed up by photographing each one of them glaring at her. The pictures are below.
Maybe one day cops will learn that the surest way to get your photo online is to forbid someone from taking that photo.