Monthly archives: July 2011

July 31st, 2011

United Threatens To Place Woman On No-Fly List For Taking Photo Of Name Tag 0

By Carlos Miller

Less than a month after a woman was escorted off a US Airways flight for snapping a photo of an employee nametag, a United Airlines employee threatened to place a woman on the “no-fly” list for doing the same thing.

The passenger named Helen said she was recently checking in her bags at Houston’s international airport for a flight to Costa Rica when she became annoyed at the inept service.

She used her cell phone to snap a photo of an employee’s nametag for the purpose of filing a complaint.

Within minutes, the employee was chasing her down the terminal, ordering her to delete the photo.

This is how she explained it to The Consumerist:

She demanded that I hand over my camera phone so that she could delete the photo I took. I politely refused. She then insisted that I delete the photo while she watched. I again refused. She then informed me that if I didn’t delete the photo in her presence, she would call the Houston Police Department, have be arrested, put me on the “no-fly list” and “make me miss my fancy Costa Rica vacation.” She stated, “you will never fly my airline again.” I asked her what law she was talking about and she replied, “My law.”

Absurd threats from power-tripping ticket agents don’t scare me. However they do scare my daughter, who began sobbing. I knew full well I broke no law and that the police don’t have the time or resources for this garbage. My daughter had no such confidence. I deleted the photo and [the staffer] smirked at us and walked away. When we asked a TSA agent about it, she laughed, “of course it’s not illegal.”

Helen wrote to United and to Continental, which merged last year with United to form United Continental, the world’s largest air carrier.

They are operating as separate airlines until they receive a joint certification from the Federal Aviation Administration later this year, according to Bloomberg News.

United confirmed that photography will in deed get you placed on the no-fly list, while Continental apologized for the incident.

Below are the responses from both airlines, beginning with the response from United:

What you refer to as a law is actually a United policy. We strive to make its customer experience safe and comfortable and accordingly issued the following policy in regard to the use of personal audio and video equipment. This policy is not a contract and does not create any legal rights or obligations.

Unauthorized photography, audio, or video recording of airline personnel, aircraft equipment, or procedures is always prohibited. Any voice, audio, video, or other photography (motion or still), recording, or transmission while on any United Airlines aircraft or in the terminal is strictly prohibited, except to the extent specifically permitted by United Airlines.

Insistence on violating any one of these prohibitions could lead to arrest or being placed on the “no-fly list”. Those results are extreme but are possible depending on the environment at the time. I hope this information helps.

Continental’s response:

The behavior you described is not reflective of our commitment to providing our customers the highest level of service. I apologize for the negative impression this situation created. We intend to provide a high-quality experience, tailored to meet the individual needs of our passengers.

Based on your comments, we did not meet your expectations, and I regret you were not satisfied with the service provided. I realize my apology cannot erase what happened, but I hope it helps to know we take your concerns very seriously.

At Continental Airlines, we believe all customers and co-workers are to be treated with dignity and respect. This philosophy is deeply woven into everything we do. I regret that [the staffer] did not meet this standard.

We expect our representatives to realize their responses to your requests can make a difference in your perception of our overall product.

[P]lease be assured your comments will be included in a monthly Customer Care report… which is distributed to senior management for internal review. I am confident necessary corrections will be made.

Again, please accept my heartfelt apology on behalf of the entire Continental Airlines team for the level of service you experienced. I hope you will not rely solely on this incident when forming your opinion of our overall service. The agent’s actions you described is not reflective of the level of service we usually offer.

So only time will tell which policy will go into effect once the merger is complete later this year.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Security Administration insists it will not revise its policy on allowing passengers to photograph and videotape the checkpoint areas, even though many screeners act as if it is a violation of federal law.


July 30th, 2011

New York Cop Arrests News Videographer On Baseless Charge 0

By Carlos Miller

A Suffolk County police sergeant with more than 30 years on the force proved to have a blatant disregard for basic First Amendment rights when he arrested a news videographer Friday.

Phil Datz, who works for Stringer News Service in New York, was standing across the street, videotaping the tail end of a police chase that ended in a crash when the sergeant stormed up to him and ordered him to “go away.”

Datz was attempting to be cooperative, asking where he could stand, but the cop insisted he just leave the area because it was an “active scene.”

Meanwhile, citizens without cameras were walking through the area without harassment.

Datz ended up moving a block away, but the cop drove up to him and arrested him on a charge of obstruction of governmental administration.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and there’s nothing you can hold over my head,” the sergeant tells the reporter.

Tony Ryan, owner of Stringer News, told the Long Island Press that this is the third time in three years that one of his videographers has been arrested.

The Suffolk County Police Department maintains a Facebook page that is mostly comprised of surveillance video of suspects caught in the act of crimes.

Here’s betting they won’t add the above video to that page.

July 29th, 2011

Second Video Emerges Of Hot-Tempered Canton Police Officer 0

By Carlos Miller

A second dash cam video has emerged showing Canton police officer Daniel Harless overreacting to finding a gun in a man’s car.

The video is from July 29, 2010, exactly one year ago today.

Like the video that emerged earlier this month (second half of story), Harless can be heard threatening to kill the driver because of the gun that was found.

Unlike the last video, it is not clear whether the driver had a concealed weapons permit.

But the one thing that is clear is that Harless has a very hot temper and does nothing to deescalate a potential violent situation.

Here is just a small sample of what Harless told the man he pulled over.

“Do not move a muscle or I will put you in the grave.”

“I’ll shoot you in the face and I’ll go to sleep tonight.”

The first video to emerge has prompted gun advocate groups to call for Harless’ resignation.

Canton residents also created a Facebook page demanding his removal.

July 29th, 2011

Lawyer Detained For Photography Files Lawsuit 0

By Carlos Miller

Allan Horwitz said he snapped a photo of a woman at a baseball game because she resembled a female associate.

He even sent the photo to his associate.

Security guards and stadium officials confronted Horwitz as he was walking out the stadium, calling him a “pervert” and “deviant” for taking the photo.

He was detained for ten minutes where he was ordered to show his photos and identification.

Horwitz, an attorney who sits on the Pennsylvania Board of Dentistry, is now suing.

The incident took place July 2010 at a Harrisburg Senators baseball game in Pennsylvania, according to The Patriot-News.

July 28th, 2011

Chilling Video Captures Man's Cries For Help As He Is Tased And Beaten To Death 0

By Carlos Miller


Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man with schizophrenia, kept calling for his father as police beat and tased him repeatedly.

But his father, a retired Orange County sheriff’s deputy, was not around.

It wasn’t until after Thomas slipped into a coma and was hospitalized with multiple injures that his father saw him.

And by then, it was too late. Thomas never recovered. The 160-pound man died five days after his run-in with Fullerton police.

Now investigators are looking for witnesses as to what took place the night of July 5 when police responded to reports of someone breaking into cars.

So far, one video has surfaced, that doesn’t show much of what took place, but does allow us to hear Thomas’ cries for help as well as the reaction from witnesses.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Thomas began struggling when officers attempted to search him.

His father said his son was probably off his medication.

 “When I first walked into the hospital, I looked at what his mother described as my son … I didn’t recognize him,” Thomas said. “This is cold-blooded, aggravated murder.”

Hopefully there are more videos out there.



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