Adam Himmelsbach of the The Courier-Journal was walking near Waterfront Park in Louisville when he heard that the Florida State football team was practicing in the park.
Himmelsbach walked towards the grass where the team was practicing and saw Florida State staff members guarding the perimeter. When he took out his phone to take a picture, the staff members freaked out.
“Put that away!”
I calmly told them that this was a public park, and that anyone can take pictures at a public park. They told me they had reserved the field. I said that I wasn’t trying to use the field they had reserved. I was just taking a picture of it.
They told me to talk to the police, and then pointed me toward a Waterfront Park staff member, who was clearly not a policeman. I explained my situation to him, and he understood.
When someone else from behind Himmelsbach started taking pictures, two FSU staff members screamed and ran towards the photographer, “as if there was an imminent danger.” For his part, Himmelsbach stopped taking pictures, as FSU staffers continued to try and enforce a photo ban they had no right to enforce.
As I sat on the bench, not taking pictures, another staff member walked over and told me not to take pictures. I told him the same thing I had told the other staff members. I said I didn’t plan to take any more pictures, but told him that this was a public park and they really had no right to tell the people in the park what they can photograph.
Then I noticed two members of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office standing near the field. I asked them about what was transpiring, about the FSU staff members flipping out on people taking pictures. I assumed they knew the laws, and they did. They said people were allowed to take pictures, and … they said FSU was within its rights to ask people not to take pictures, but people didn’t have to listen. Of course, chasing and screaming at someone is a bit different than asking. It seemed like the members of the Sheriff’s Office could have told FSU to ease up a bit.
If members of the public other than employees of a major college football team had ran at people in a public park, possibly committing assault as they screamed at people not to take pictures, you can rest assured that the police officers would have at the very least told them to calm down.