September 30th, 2010

Man Detained by Security Guards for Videotaping Buildings 0

By Carlos Miller

A man who was videotaping buildings from a public sidewalk in Washington D.C. ended up detained by a group of Verizon Center security guards after he refused to show them his identification.

The guards called police, who arrived on the scene and asked for the man’s identification.

The cops then handed his personal information to the security guards in a highly questionable move.

The videographer posted his story on Fred Miranda under the username jramos, wondering if his rights were violated.

According to Miami attorney and nature photographer Michael A. Pancier, the fact that the guards detained him against his will possibly constitutes “false imprisonment.”

And the fact that the cops handed over his personal information to private security guards constitutes a possible Fourth Amendment violation, which protects us from illegal search and seizures.

“Police did not have right to take his information and give it to the guards (unless it was a police report of the incident where witness information was included),” Pancier said in an email today.

“So if they took his license and gave it to the guards and said, ‘Here, copy this information,’ it may be a technical Fourth Amendment violation by the police.”

It is unclear if jramos has any video footage of the exchange. My advice in these situations is to keep rolling, no matter what. And don’t be afraid to videotape their faces.

It’s all about keeping them honest.

September 28th, 2010

The PINAC transfer is scheduled for today 0

By Carlos Miller

We had to finalize some details in the contract before we could transfer Photography is Not a Crime to Pixiq, but now it appears as if we’re all set.

The transfer is scheduled for today at 9 a.m. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take, but if you have problems accessing the site, that is the reason why.

Once the transfer is complete, you can continue logging on to and you will simply get redirected to my new page on Pixiq.

For those of you who use a news feed, I would imagine you would have to switch it to the new site. I’m not really sure how that works.

Anyway, this is a big step for PINAC and I’m hoping for the best. I know there are some skeptics out there (and I wouldn’t expect anything less from my readers) and in all honesty, I also have some reservations.

But you have to take chances in life.

Either way, I still own all the content on PINAC, so if worse comes to worse, I will just move my site back here.

The immediate benefit of all this is that I plan to do more blogging, now that I am generating some income.

September 28th, 2010

Man referred to Homeland Security after photographing water tanks 0

By Carlos Miller

One of the city’s water towers displayed on the city’s website.

The City of Kentwood, Michigan, (population less than 50,000), believes terrorists are targeting its water tanks, so they will gladly terrorize anybody who dares photograph these tanks.

However, they haven’t done anything about the pictures of the tanks on the city’s website, which are posted above and below, putting the entire town at risk to any potential terrorist savvy enough to do his research online.

But they did send out a message to self-described nerd Ed Heil, a 40-year-old computer programmer, who was caught photographing these very same water tanks last week.

“It’s a nerdy thing I like to do,” he explained to the Grand Rapids Press.

But Kentwood officials did not buy his folksy demeanor. When they spotted him photographing the water tank, utility workers demanded to know his name and the reason why he was photographing such a prime terrorist target.

Heil refused to answer their questions and walked down to the local library, which raised even more suspicion. The utility workers followed him as he sat down at a computer terminal. They continued demanding his name.

After much prodding, they finally broke him down.

“I was physically shaking with anger and fear, and let them know in no uncertain terms that I did not believe this was a legitimate exercise of authority, and I wanted them to cease harassing me and let me work,” Heil said. “I told them they had no right to demand any personal information from me, but they were so intimidating and threatening, I did give them my name and they finally went away.”

The utility workers were praised by the mayor and by the city’s utilities manager for their diligent work in keeping the town safe.

In fact, the utility manager even referred the case to the Department of Homeland Security, which might land Heil on some kind of terrorist watch list.

But Mayor Richard Root said no one takes chances any more. He said he was proud of city workers for their diligence, adding that they responded appropriately.

“You’re never certain what the intention is,” Root said. “I’m sure you’d find the Coast Guard very excited if somebody (was photographing) the Mackinac Bridge.

“I hope (Heil) is not too offended, but on the other hand, I think we did a good job.”


John Gorney, Kentwood’s operations and utilities manager, said his concern wasn’t the content of the photo, but the reason behind it.

He was summoned to the scene Thursday. If he had to do it over again, he said, he would’ve called police immediately, a new policy that took effect Friday morning.

But he made no apologies.

So rather than create a policy that would educate city workers about photographers’ rights, they’ve created a policy that would escalate the situation by getting the cops involved.

But that still doesn’t change the fact that Heil would still be legally allowed to refuse to provide his name to the officers.

After all, there is no reasonable suspicion in photographing a public water tank.

One of the city’s water tanks displayed on the city’s website

One of the city’s water towers that is displayed on the city’s website
September 27th, 2010

Maryland judge throws out wiretapping charges against Anthony Graber 0

By Carlos Miller

Common sense is finally prevailing in Maryland where a judge today dismissed all the wiretapping charges against Anthony Graber, who was facing 16 years in prison for uploading a video to Youtube.

The video, which became viral, shows an uncover Maryland State Police officer jumping out of an unmarked car with a gun in his hand, ordering Graber off his motorcycle.

The officer, Joseph Uhler, did not identify himself as an officer for several long seconds. Graber thought he was about to become the victim of a carjacking.

According to The Baltimore Sun:

Judge Emory A Pitt Jr. tossed all the charges filed against Anthony Graber, leaving only speeding and other traffic violations, and most likely sparing him a trial that had been scheduled for Oct. 12. The judge ruled that Maryland’s wire tap law allows recording of both voice and sound in areas where privacy cannot be expected. He ruled that a police officer on a traffic stop has no expectation of privacy.

“Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public,” the judge wrote. “When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation.”

September 24th, 2010

Man assaulted in church for videotaping politician making speech 0

By Carlos Miller

A man who was videotaping the former governor of Oregon making a speech inside a church was assaulted after he refused to stop filming.

The man claims it was a public meeting even though it was taking place inside the Emmanuel Temple Church in Portland.

He describes it on Youtube as a “Meet and Greet” where voters would get to hear former Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber speak. Kitzhaber served from 1995 to 2003 and is running for governor again this November.

The Urban League of Portland organized the event. A local TV station, KOIN Local 6, also took part in organizing the event.

For illogical reasons that are not apparent, a moderator told members of the audience that they would not be allowed to videotape the speech.

The man continued videotaping and it wasn’t long before he was confronted by a couple of men who sat on both sides of him. One of them was wearing a name tag identifying him as being from the African American Alliance, but they came across more like the African American Mafia.

The man on his left grabbed at his camera, then the man on his right punched his camera into his face – an incident that was caught on another camera from across the room. The videographer was left with a scar on his nose.

The man videotaping is possibly named Mike, if he is the same person in the video below that was obtained from the same Youtube channel. In that video, you can see the guy clearly opposes Kitzhaber and is trying to grill him with questions, something every politician should expect when running for office.

His actions end up concerning some of Kitzhaber’s people who try their best to shield the candidate from the videographer. At this point, they don’t have an issue with him videotaping the exchange as much as they do him drilling the candidate.

You can also see several people with cameras in the crowd not being harassed.

I think it’s obvious that the only reason they suddenly announced that videography was not allowed was because they feared Mike would somehow use the video against the governor. But it was a public forum even if it was in a private church. The event was free and open to the public and the candidates had no expectation of privacy, especially of anything they are saying on stage.

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