An outraged father ignorant of the law traced a man down and banged on his front door, ordering him to delete photographs he had taken of his 13-year-old girl days earlier.
The father, who goes by J. Keith on Youtube, kept threatening to call police if the man did not delete the photos. Oblivious to the fact that no laws had been broken.
The man who took the photos agreed to get his camera and delete the photos in front of him, appearing more as a gesture to appease the angry dad than an admittance of guilt as he scrolled through all his photos in front of the video camera.
Many of the photos were of young people in bathing suits, both male and female, nothing particular provocative. Just scenes from a lakeside in Illinois. Nobody in the photos had an expectation of privacy.
According to J. Keith’s Youtube description:
After leaving lakeside today with my two children and a attractive friend I noticed an old man in a red Cavalier holding a camera in his car taking pictures of my friend and my two kids. At first I thought it maybe just a coincidence then I noticed him taking another picture of another attractive female. I immediately approached the man and asked what he was doing. He simply said “I am taking pictures of adult females and kids”.
I snapped since I knew he had taken one with my kids in it as well. he then jetted off. A few days later since the police had no leads I put up a cash reward for finding him and 10 min I had all the information I needed and here is the video of me going to his home.
Many commenters celebrated and congratulated him on Youtube, perhaps not realizing that the man with the camera had broken no law and that if he really wanted those photos, he could simply recover them.
And if he really wanted J. Keith out of his hair, he could have ordered him off his property or have him arrested for trespassing.
UPDATE: Well, I spoke too soon. The man with the camera was arrested for disorderly conduct for alarming people in public.
Police arrested Cox for disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, not for taking the pictures, but for alarming parents in a public place.
“It’s legal to take the pictures, but it’s not legal to alarm individuals attending that public place,” said Lt. Tom LaFollette, with the Galesburg Police Department.
Police say if there’s no proof the photos are for anything other than personal use, no law has been broken. But, they also say Cox was reported for similar reasons a few years ago.
“There’s some other cases this person was a suspect in ’06 and ’07, same thing, taking pictures but again, the cases weren’t proved up that he was using them for any type of exploitation,” said Lt. LaFollette.
Allen says it may not be “illegal” but it’s “wrong.”
And that is exactly why Cox has enough grounds to not only be cleared of this charge, but to sue for unlawful arrest.
UPDATE II: The Galesburg Police Department have banned Cox from the lake. Not because he took photos of kids but because did so without asking permission as any “reputable photographer” would do.
On June 25, 2014, our Department arrested, Kerry D. Cox (04/03/57), for State Disorderly Conduct stemming from an incident of Cox taking pictures at Lakeside Pool that alarmed and disturbed those present. Cox has been advised not to return to the Lakeside Complex. The investigation continues. The law does not prohibit individuals from taking pictures in a public environment; however, any reputable photographer will usually ask permission. If you feel uncomfortable, ask the subject to stop and if they continue you should contact the police immediately. We urge you to work with authorities and not act alone as these can be volatile situations that officers are trained to handle.
UPDATE III: Scroll a little lower on the police department’s Facebook page and you’ll come across this photo which evidently was taken by one of these reputable photographers who probably didn’t receive an irate visit from a parent.