Matt Modica, a Massachusetts photographer, specializes in photographing and video recording trains, so he makes it a habit to familiarize himself with the rules and regulations regarding this practice.
Unfortunately, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials do not make the same habit.
While shooting the above video earlier this week at a Boston train station, Modica was standing directly outside MBTA property on city-owned property.
He was using a tripod and standing on a stairwell. A fence separated the city property from MBTA property.
It didn’t take long for an MBTA inspector to start yelling at him, telling him he needed a permit to record the train.
That is not true. You need a permit to use a tripod while recording if you are on MBTA property and that’s mostly because a tripod can interfere with pedestrian traffic.
And while it can be argued that the same tripod could interfere with the same pedestrian traffic on a stairwell leading from the station to the street, the city of Boston has no such ordinance in place, so there is no law against it.
The MBTA inspector who hassled him was under the impression that one needed a permit to record the trains with a tripod whether or not they were on MBTA property.
He used his radio to call his supervisors to find out exactly what to do, eventually admitting that he did not know what the policy was.
Modica, who emailed me the MBTA photo policy, stated the following:
I was behind a fence separating the walkway from the MBTA right of way. My tripod was just tall enough for my camera to be able to shoot without getting the fence in my shot.
After he walked away (and after admitting he wasn’t clear on what the policy was) I shot a few more trains passing by, then packed up and headed to get on a train back to Boston. When I was on the platform waiting for a train, I saw the transit police show up at the spot where I was filming from, but they didn’t end up getting there till about 15-20 minutes after the guy had initially confronted me.
At least the MBTA inspector didn’t accuse him of terrorism, so maybe we are making some type of progress.
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CARLOS MILLER’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.
My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.
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