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FBI police harass student for photographing "sensitive" area

Jerome Vorus, who is becoming a full-fledged photo rights activist while still in his teens, had yet another confrontation Friday over his photography.

The 19-year-old college student was taking pictures outside the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington DC when an FBI police officer




Jerome Vorus, who is becoming a full-fledged photo rights activist while still in his teens, had yet another confrontation Friday over his photography.

The 19-year-old college student was taking pictures outside the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington DC when an FBI police officer ordered him not to take her photo.

First he turned on the video camera on his cell phone. Then he informed her that that she didn’t have an expectation of privacy.

“I wasn’t even taking her photo in the first place,” he said in a phone interview with Photography is Not a Crime.

As he was walking away, another FBI cop pulled up in a car and ordered him to stop.

That cop told him he was not allowed to photograph a ramp that leads into a parking garage because it was somehow “sensitive” – even though it is not only visible from the public eye, it is off a public sidewalk.

The cop then demanded to see identification, prompting Vorus to ask if he was being detained.

At first, the cop said yes, he was being detained; for photographing this so-called sensitive area, the one in which groups of people are walking by nonchalantly in the above video as the two men debate.

The cop, who doesn’t appear much older than Vorus, appears at a loss of what to do. He ends up calling his supervisor while telling Vorus he is free to leave.

“I was followed for a block until I walked into an alleyway that is not accessible by vehicles,” he said.

Vorus is considering returning today.

“I’m really trying to stand up for photographers’ rights and make it aware to law enforcement agencies that photography is not a crime,” he said.

The female cop who did not want her picture taken is to the left. The ramp that is so "sensitive" that it cannot be photographed is to the right behind the concrete wall. The walkway in the middle is open to the public. (Photo by Jerome Vorus)

This cop at first "detained" Jerome Vorus but then he realized he had no grounds to do that. (Photo by Jerome Vorus)


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