Orlando Cop Tries to Intimidate Man from Photographing Emergency Scene


An Orlando police officer tried his best to intimidate a man from photographing paramedics tending to another man being carted onto an ambulance.

The cop told Brian Green that he was in violation of the federal HIPAA law – which has nothing to do with public photography – before ordering him to delete the images.

Green started video recording the encounter, asking the officer for his name and badge number. The cop responded by providing his badge number, 16758, but covering his name tag with his arm.

Green believes it may be Lt. Anderson but he is not positive.

Brian Green photography2
Orlando cop attempts to intimidate photographer (Photo by Brian Green)


The cop then proceeded to stand in Green’s way, preventing him from taking anymore photos of the victim, who apparently had a bottle smashed over his head.

When it became evident that Green wasn’t buying the cop’s bluff, the cop called over the lieutenant of the fire department to explain the HIPAA law, which made it even more obvious that he was lying.

The paramedic continued the lies by telling Green that the victim, whom was being treated in full view of the public, could turn around and sue him for any photos that get published.

The HIPAA law applies mainly to the protection of private medical records in regards to insurance companies.

It does not override the First Amendment, which protects the right to take photographs or video in public – even if someone is being treated by paramedics.

Unfortunately, this is an issue that keeps coming up, so there is obviously a lack of training how to deal with citizens who photograph these situations.


Brian Green photography
Orlando paramedics treat man who apparently had bottle smashed over his head (Photo by Brian Green)


Insisting on having the final word, the cop finished the exchange by threatening to arrest Green for blocking the sidewalk.

Green said that moments before this incident, he had a pleasant exchange about photographers’ rights with another Orlando police officer just a few blocks away as he explained in the following Facebook message:

Funny thing about the situation was 5 minutes prior to this I was talking to a cop one block over about photographers rights and such and he was very well informed and a good conversation and then the thing came over his radio about the guy with his head so I said what street should we go to for the action and he said one up, and that’s when it all when to chaos but all and all I’m really happy with the photos.

Green, an Orlando street photographer who frequently travels the country, has been written about on PINAC in the past. Check out his website here.

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • Rail Car Fan

    Once again cops lie and try to get away with it. It’s no wonder the public has little or no respect for them.

    Rail Car Fan

  • rick

    Those who work in healthcare laugh at Officer 16758!
    HIPAA has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with people receiving medical treatment on the street.

  • Ryan French

    OPD is a department is full of shady characters…. this is not the first time I’ve seen officers reluctant to give their names on video. A couple years ago they spent taxpayer money to purchase radio equipment that encrypts all radio transmissions (no scanner listening by the media or public). I’ve also heard they’re a pain to obtain public records from.

    • Virtualfrog

      The whole state of Florida police radio is encrypted. Media.. read that media they approve of.. can use decryption to listen. Other wise it is against the law. Fire, EMT, and others are not.

      • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

        My police scanner app picks up quite a few Florida police agencies. I listen to them all the time.

        • steveo

          yeah, this depends on the agency, you can buy a scanner and have it programmed for the jurisdiction and pick up just about everything, but the scanners are a little pricey. FL also has a law that protects journalists if they keep a handheld scanner in the car. I’m sure if a leo knew you had one he’d make up a law about that and demand press credentials from a “real” news source like, for instance, ESPN.

          • Virtualfrog

            I agree the price for police to encrypt is very expencive. That is why some have not done it yet. Florida has a deal with Harris Corp. here in Melbourne FL. Once they move to digital/encrypted you will not be able to hear them without having the key. They must agree to give you the key. You don’t want to get caught with a stolen key. Or like steveo says the officer will find a way to….

          • n4zhg

            If you don’t want to spend money on a scanner, but have a smart phone or internet connection, there are apps that will let you listen in whatever jurisdiction has a feed. http://www.radioreference.com is also a good site.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            That won’t help if the transmissions are encrypted.

            Trunked radio is also used quite a bit, this is a frequency hopping radio that makes it hard to follow.

          • Ryan French

            Almost all newer scanners support trunking. All public safety agencies in my area are on these systems and you can’t tell once it’s programmed correctly. Digital scared people until digital scanners came out. But now that you have encryption, the game has changed.

    • Ryan French

      Once an agency switches to total encryption, everyone is in the dark including the media. Jacksonville SO leased radios to media for years until a few negative stories started to air, then the SO took them back. Now you have to rely on a PIO for accurate and timely information. In my opinion these apps available on smart phones caused the encryption frenzy. Now, you no longer need a few hundred bucks and programming knowledge to listen in. Aside from Jacksonville, Orlando and a few state agencies… you can still listen in, but for how long?

  • name

    HIPPA applies to institutions not individual people and sure as hell not between two individuals when they are both not medical professionals (the photographer and the guy on the stretcher). And until the person is in the ambulance it’s a public health emergency protected by all the journalistic protections such as they are.

    • discarted

      Even when he’s in the ambulance, he can still be photographed through open doors or through the windows

    • REALConservative

      Prosecution of HIPAA violations can be directed at the individual, although this is not a case where HIPAA applies at all.

  • discarted

    Guess there’s gonna be all kinds of HIPAA lawsuits in Oklahoma against photographers taking pictures of tornado victims receiving medical treatment.

    Everybody in this video has no clue what HIPAA actually entails. Taking pictures of someone receiving medical treatment in public is not a violation of HIPAA. I’m a registered EMT so I had to learn all about how not to violate HIPAA.

    Great job Brian standing up for your rights. Make sure you submit the photos you emailed me to the NPRO flickr group.

    Last year or so, an LA County Sheriff tried to say I was violating HIPAA and could be sued because I was photographing a man receiving treatment from LAFD in public. The deputy took it a step further and even said we were not in public. At the time, I was standing on Hollywood Blvd, a short distance from Adam Sandler’s star. Hundreds of people were around.

    The HIPAA tactic, is just that, another tactic police are using to get you to stop taking pictures in public.

    Cop needs training and an attitude adjustment. You should file a complaint. Telling you to delete your photos is unacceptable.

    • Difdi

      If you’re not in public, make a criminal complaint on him for being a peeping tom. (I know, it’s silly, but by the letter of the law…)

  • Fred P!

    As both a former cop in the 1990’s and a current hospital senior manager I can tell you that this cop and the fire official are both plain silly and badly misinformed on HIPAA. A sad display of professionalism from these public figures. In my old department he would have been disciplined for not clearly articulating his name, as well. I hope he is there, too.

    • Proud GrandPa

      Is there a law or only a police policy that the officer must self-identify?
      If a law, what are the penalties?
      Anyone know?

      • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

        A couple of states have a law on identification. I don’t believe Florida is one of them.

        Almost every police department has a policy that requires an officer to ID himself.

        • Proud GrandPa

          Thanks, your answer is appreciated.


          I am not sure there is a direct solution to the problem in FL. The roundabout solution is to somehow persuade the department to enforce it’s own policy or else to elect a new sheriff.
          It can be done… Tea Party and independents should shock the system each election to set things right.

          • BigPoppaAz


            It’s not a political thing, old man (assumption as you’re a professed Grandpa), it’s an American thing, regardless of political leaning.
            Kudo’s to Green for being informed and standing his ground.

          • Proud GrandPa

            Sure it’s a political thing. And don’t blame America. The good old USA has the means to correct the situation. It’s called politics. You see we are a republic, with a bill of rights for citizens and free elections. We vote into office people who support our rights. In this case we can elect an honest sheriff who will enforce department policy.


            If you just blame America, what good have you accomplished? Show respect for your betters. We are your elders and your betters. Hope that did not sound arrogant but you need to be told to display better manners.

          • rick

            America is a republic in name only.
            An empire, however…

        • RaymondbyEllis

          I had a cop tell me that policy is not a rule, the implication being obvious that it doesn’t have to followed at all times.

          I’d bet that a PD that has policy for a LEO to ID has it because the state requires it.

    • Voice-Of-Concern

      Easy peasy. “Officer, what does HIPAA stand for?”

    • Difdi

      If HIPAA would stop photography on a public street it would also stop you from looking using your eyes as well. For that matter, the cops probably aren’t considered to be medical personnel under that…novel…interpretation of HIPAA, and would therefore have to avert their eyes and shut their dash cams off. Funny how they never notice that problem with their belief in what HIPAA does.

      • n4zhg

        Funny how they think HIPPA doesn’t apply to them when they want to know why you’re taking insulin in a restaurant, but does apply to photographers out in public…

      • steveo

        I think what is really humorous and ironic is that the OCR or the Office of Civil Rights is where you go to complain about a HIPAA violation. That’s the same place we are supposed to go to complain about leos stopping us from recording and deleting photos and stealing memory cards.

  • Bill Larson

    People need to sue and to argue that the officer has no legal right to interfere with your exercise of your constitutionally protected rights, and since the officers actions were beyond the bounds of his lawful duties he should be subject to civil penalties for his actions.

  • $22798478

    Wow, are these cops really that dumb ? 16758 I want you to know that you are a pathetic little boy. Police around the country are making fun of you. Americans around the country are now making fun and ridiculing you. You sounded like such a weak little sniveling pussy it’s actually a disgrace.
    Also Mr. Dumbass 16758, your so called blocking the sidewalk charge for “getting even” purposes is when NOBODY can get by you little bitch. Stop making shit up and I hope to hear that you were shot in your spine and you are a quadriplegic.

  • Todd

    What a CONTROL FREAK. This cop was bullied a LOT back in grade-schooil.

  • joe

    call internal affairs and make an official complaint.Everyone else who sees this video can do the same and call I.a.If we don’t complain,this will go on forever..

  • John Kruzelock

    A bunch of misinformed idiots talking crap.

    • BigPoppaAZ

      Agreed, those who are employed at the pleasure/expense of the public, must be better informed! When they are not and knowingly misinform the public, should be help personally liable.

  • steveo

    Liability does not necessarily create criminality. The FD guy said “you might be held liable…” That doesn’t mean you can charge me with a crime. And these local yokels don’t enforce federal law,( the Office of Civil rights enforces HIPAA), either, even if they knew anything at all about HIPAA.

    Let me give you an example of HIPAA, my wife works in an ALF. A person comes up to her and says can you tell me about Ms. Jones’ treatment plan. The health care worker can’t divulge anything to that person, unless they have a form of power of attorney over the patient. This is to protect the medical records of the patient, in the event, someone is snooping that shouldn’t be snooping. Filming in public an ambulance and an emergency scene has absolutely nothing to do with HIPAA.

    But we are making some progress, the leo, at least, didn’t smash the camera out of the journalist’s hands, break it, steal the memory and place the guy under arrest for 843.02. That is an improvement.

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    Mr. Green, you handled that interaction brilliantly! You kept your cool and allowed the cop to reveal his foolishness!

  • Steven

    This post pertains to Carlos’ lawsuit against 50 State Security, so it’s more than a little off-topic, for which I apologize. (It probably belongs in the forum section, but at this point it seems that the story comments are read a lot more widely than are the forum messages.) Anyway…

    Carlos, it would be great if you could post updates on your lawsuit against 50 State Security. I realize that you’re only in the beginning stages of the litigation so there isn’t too much to report yet, and also that your lawyer may be limiting what you can say. But you could still post public court documents like defendant’s answer, which I just took a look at. I’m sure your readers would like to hear about 50 State’s ridiculous defenses. For example, 50 States claims that their “employees were acting in self defense and in the defense of another at the time of the subject incident,” and that your injuries weren’t caused by 50 State, but rather “were caused by pre-existing medical conditions [and] subsequent medical conditions.”

    This site frequently exposes lies told by law enforcement authorities; how about turning the spotlight on the lies espoused by 50 State’s attorney?


  • Harry Balzanya

    The point here is that the officer twice ordered this man to delete news footage not a request a direct order this officer broke federal law and they conspired to deny a american his civil rights. Hippa is not the issue , the issue is the actual crime that took place.

    • http://www.facebook.com/woohoowoohoo William Woodrome

      indeed good eye

  • Nostromo526

    It might be that they understand HIPAA doesn’t apply and are simply using it as an intimidation tactic. But I think it is more likely that they are received extensive training regarding HIPAA and have had it pounded into their heads that they can not violate patient privacy. This is of course to ensure the department doesn’t get sued because some dumbass in the dept takes pics at accident scene and then passes it around to his buddies and it ends up on Facebook or something. Hello lawsuit.

    Now, they are so used to having or think they have extra rights over the public (e.g. I can open carry my firearm in public and you can’t; I can video / audio tape you up and down all day and twice on Sunday but I’ll harass, intimidate, arrest you if you try it on me; etc.) that they can’t get their brain around the fact that in this case, the law is limiting their authority to do something while the public citizen stand right next to them can do that exact thing with impunity; in this case, taking pictures of someone receiving medical treatment in public.

    I would file a complaint about the ID thing. Just don’t end up like these guys,



  • n4zhg

    Responders can’t stop photography, but they can put up sheets closer to the scene to shield the patient. And that’s pretty much all they can do — this intimidation crap is BS and probably subject to a negative response from a judge if it ends up in court. Prior restraint never plays well in court.

  • Mr. Ben

    I work with HIPPA every day… I know the basics of it very well as part of my job.

    1) HIPPA is a federal law, not a state or local law. It is not up to the state or locals to enforce their interpretation. It can mandate their reporting in certain situations.

    2) HIPPA doesn’t apply to situations like this, photographing an incident in public. It would apply in to snooping in to records.

    3) HIPPA is a regulation and statutory framework for the handling of patient records and documents. For example, it doesn’t allow the provider to discuss or disclose patient information to unauthorized third parties.

    4) The HIPPA framework requires certain levels of provider reporting.

    • REALConservative

      Did you know that it’s not “HIPPA?” It’s HIPAA.

      • Mr. Ben

        Yeah, I know…. It is HIPAA. That is a blatant typo.. It was late and I was tired. I know that is not an excuse for not re-proofing my typing….

    • steveo

      The Office of Civil Rights enforces HiPAA.

      • REALConservative

        Which is division of the HHS

  • JdLxx

    Green started video recording the encounter, asking the officer for his name and badge number. The cop responded by providing his badge number, 16758, but covering his name tag with his arm.

    Demonstrating, once again, that cops are the biggest cowards on the face of the earth. Poor frightened, pathetic little cop! Someone wants his actual NAME, so he’s shitting in his pants.

  • hazy

    It’s not the police’s prerogative to enforce a civil tort.

  • http://www.theretiredbabyboomer.net/ Dave

    This is probably going to be a dumb question, but it’s been on my mind a lot. Why aren’t police departments training officers about citizens video and audio taping them? It seems like that would cut their paperwork in the double digits percentage-wise if LEOs know the law. Instead cops continue to arrest people who lawfully video tape them.