With a .45 caliber legally strapped to his side, Jordan McManus decided to photograph the federal courthouse in Phoenix last night, realizing he would probably draw attention from police, especially after reading about Raymond Michael’s experience last May.
But he was still a little surprised when a police helicopter hovered over him with a spotlight as two patrol cars pulled up next to him and another two cops approached him on foot.
They immediately tried to disarm him, but he refused to let them do it as it is legal to open carry in Arizona.
Then they tried to pat him down, which didn’t make sense considering he was already showing a firearm. But he wouldn’t let them do that either.
“You’re carrying a firearm and taking a picture of a federal building,” the cop exclaimed, trying to justify the pat down.
Then they demanded to know who he was, but didn’t get anywhere with that either.
Here is a portion of the exchange:
“Am I being detained right now?” McManus asks.
“Absolutely you are, yes,” the cop responds.
“You have reasonable suspicion that I committed a crime, right?
“Well, I’m concerned …”
“You’re concerned. Are you detaining me?”
“I am,” he says weakly.
“Under the suspicion that I committed what crime?”
“I don’t know yet. You’re not giving us any information.”
And there you have the reason why police are always demanding to see people’s identification even though the people are not breaking the law. It gives them a hope that if they run your name through their system, they will find a bench warrant and have an excuse to arrest you.
Because otherwise, they have nothing.
McManus did a great job in controlling the dialogue, despite their intimidating tactics and was able to walk away without even identifying himself.
It quickly became evident that police seemed more concerned with him photographing the Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse, a Richard Meier designed building that has been featured in countless architectural magazines, than they were about his gun.
“We have reasonable suspicion in this day and age that people take pictures to harm police or to harm federal buildings,” one of the cops explains to McManus.
“Have you not heard of people trying to blow up shit around. here or anywhere in this country?”
Below is McManus’ email to Photography is Not a Crime where he goes into detail about his experience:
My name is Jordan McManus, and I live in Chandler, AZ a suburb of Phoenix. I have been a fan of PINAC for quite a while and appreciate everything you do! Some time ago a story was posted about a man named Raymond Michael who was unlawfully detained and searched by Phoenix PD for taking pictures of the Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Courthouse in downtown Phoenix, and I’ve been a resident of the phoenix valley for over 12 years and I was having a hard time believing that PPD would respond in such a manner as AZ has some of the most respectable cops in the nation (in my opinion) compared to the rest of the country.
So tonight I set out to test them with a 1st and 4th Amendment test. I arrived at the Courthouse around 11pm. I parked my truck on Jefferson St and proceeded to walk the courthouse’s perimeter and towards the PPD HQ all while taking pictures. I had circled the PPD HQ and was on my way back to my truck when I saw two officers ahead of me about a block away, which is when I activated my camera. Just then, I was suddenly illuminated by a spotlight from a low flying Police Helicopter. That’s when I turned around to see what was going on (I had headphones in and was listening to music and didn’t realize the impending detainment) and I was being swarmed from every angle by PPD officers.
The PPD officer who initiated the contact tried to disarm me right off the bat. (I was open carrying my 1911 in a holster on my right hip). He was unsuccessful as I stood my ground and stated that I do not consent in seizures. Now I know I could have just kept my mouth shut and not played along with their game and not answered any of their questions, but I guess I have to admit it was kind of fun, as you can tell from some of my answers to the PPD questions.
Nothing dramatic ever really happened but I must say they sure did have one hell of a show of force with 15+ officers and an Air unit. I will admit, as my first time attempting to “cop block” I was a little flustered at first, and totally forgot to get officers names and badge numbers, but hey it was my first time of many I’m sure. In the video you’ll hear me make a comment about how “the only thing in my backpack is not a pressure cooker”, I said this because I overheard one of the officers behind me state that “we need to search his backpack”, I felt like responding with a smart ass answer.
Below is the link to the video, and I apologize ahead of time for it being vertical and a little shaky it was clipped onto my backpack. Feel free to contact with any questions, and you have my permission to post any or all of this description, my name, and the video to your website if you desire, just please omit my contact information.