The Hopkinsville Police Department in southwest Kentucky is developing a habit of harassing a certain photographer who enjoys doing night street photography with a tripod.
James Geeo described his first run-in with the local police department last May on Flickr, describing how he was standing across the street from the police station, taking the above photo.
They detained him for more than an hour and wouldn’t allow him to shoot video.
I was surrounded by cops for a bit more than an hour, all over taking a few photos. At one point, one of them yelled at me and didn’t allow me to speak (I actually feared that his irrational behavior was going to lead to him being violent), and then another followed suit. Ugh…
I started to use my phone to take notes, and was told that I could not. They viewed that as a threat. They told me I could take only mental notes. Thus, I don’t know any of their names. I may or may not pursue this further.
They demanded and took all my information; and by all my information, I mean everything about me. Web sites I run, personal information like where I live, all kinds of stuff. It was a full interview, and the guy with the ATF badge claimed that he was going to look into me further, because he didn’t believe me.
Since then, he had another run-in with the same police department while attempting to photograph long exposure shots of a train in the town of just over 31,000 people.
It was at night, and I was doing long exposures so the train would be a blur, and everything else in the frame would be still; would have been quite the effect. It’s too bad it couldn’t happen. In the middle of my exposure, a cop not only turned around in the middle of the road in front of my camera with his police cruiser, he then parked the car in the frame, and walked up and stood in front of my camera.
He demanded ID (I could make allusions to Nazi Germany here, but I won’t; pointless), asked questions that he could have answered himself through basic observation, and then proceeded to call in my name over the radio to “check me out” while insisting it was standard procedure.
It’s only standard procedure if he lets it become standard procedure.
Hopefully, the third time it happens, Geeo will use his iPhone to videotape the harassment.