Photo by Kai Eiselein

Here we have the same old story we always have: A guy tries to photograph a federal building from a public sidewalk and cops try to intimidate him with their authority.

Only this time, one of the cops used a set of crayons to prevent him from taking a photo of himself.

We don’t know why that cop was walking around with a set of crayons, but we imagine the other cops wished they also had a set because their face can be seen in the photos taken of them.

Photo by Kai Eiselein

Photo by Kai Eiselein

Kai Eiselein, the editor of an online newspaper, told the following account on Flickr.

This is the Thomas S Foley Federal Courthouse building in Spokane, Washington and this is the photo that started the whole bruhaha with security and the Federal Protective Service.
As I was snapping away, I hear a voice call out from my right, “May I help you?”
I ignored it.
Again, “May I help you?”
I looked up, saw a guy in street clothes(unfortunately, I didn’t get a pic of him) and said, “No, doing pretty good by myself thanks.”
“Why are you taking pictures of the building?”
Me: “Because I can.”
Him: We don’t like people taking pictures of the building.”
Me: “Well, I’m on a public sidewalk, and it IS a public building.”
Him: “I need to know why you are taking pictures of the building, I am the head of security here.”
Me: “I’m exercising my 1st Amendment rights.”
Him: Well, you can’t take pictures of the security systems, or the cameras.”
Me: Actually, I can, if they are in public view.
Shortly after our conversation started, two uniformed security guards came rushing out of the front doors….

Shortly after my conversation with “Mr. Street Clothes” began, these two came rushing out of the courthouse.
The guy on the left yelled, “Don’t take my picture!”
Me: “You are in public.”
Him: “I’m on federal property!”
Me: “It doesn’t matter, you are in public view, you have no expectation of privacy.”

Security guard 1 (left): “I didn’t give you permission to take my picture!”
Me: I don’t need it, you are in public and you have no expectation of privacy.”
He then got in my face (you know, the usual “bully tactic” these guys try to use).
“What are you doing?”
Me: Exercising my 1st Amendment rights.”
Him: “Do you have permission?”
Me: “I don’t need permission, I’m on public property and the building is in public view.”
Him: “It’s federal property.”
Me: “It doesn’t matter, it’s in public view.”
This argument went on for several minutes.
I then asked, “Am I being detained?”
Him: No, but there are some people who want to talk to you.”
Me: ” I really don’t care, good day gentlemen.”
I then walked off, towards my car.