Police/security and photography.

monkeykoder

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Since this has been brought up in several threads I figured I'd ask the question. What would be the best course of action when asked to stop photographing and delete your pictures when dealing with a security guard? What would be the best course of action when dealing with a Police officer (assuming you clearly have the right to shoot)?
 

nicfargo

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If a guard asks you to delete pictures, I figure go ahead. You can always recover them with software. If you are using film, never give up your film, it's your personal property. As far as police go, I'd do what they say even if they're wrong. They will find a way to make your life hell, even if you're technically not doing anything wrong.
 

skieur

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Since this has been brought up in several threads I figured I'd ask the question. What would be the best course of action when asked to stop photographing and delete your pictures when dealing with a security guard? What would be the best course of action when dealing with a Police officer (assuming you clearly have the right to shoot)?

OK, for the first: "I'm sorry but under the law, all you can do is ask me to leave the property, is that what you wish?" Most security guards know, that if they touch someone, they can face an assault charge. Lay charges against the security firm, if anything serious develops.

As to the police officer it depends on the situation. A photographer cannot appear to be loitering or impeding pedestrian traffic, for example, and in some jurisdictions it is felt that if you are using a tripod on the street, you should have a permit from the city, like movie companies for example. That does not mean you are forbidden from taking photos, but you would be required to move along, or possibly pack up the tripod.

In dealing with a policeman, it is useful to have a business card and to politely explain why you are interested in taking a photo of ..whatever.
"I am not aware that I am breaking any laws. Is there a problem?" What he says at that point determines your reaction. Be aware that taking photos is not illegal in a public place or on private property, so you cannot be arrested for taking pictures. Also a warrant is required for a policeman to touch your equipment (You have heard of the term unauthorized search and seizure) and that requires an arrest that relates to your photo equipment. Impossible because as I said, taking photos is not illegal.
It is covered under Freedom of Expression in many countries.

skieur
 

Big Mike

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As mentioned in just about every other thread on this topic...the best thing to do, would be to pack up and leave. Be as polite as possible and move on. The authorities may not be in the right, but that doesn't mean they can't make your life difficult for a while.

I wouldn't delete or hand over any photos/cards/film though. That's going too far.

Another option is to keep a copy of applicable laws etc...that clearly show that they don't have the authority to stop you. It still might make them angry, so don't push it.

You could go on the offensive, asking for their badge or ID number and the name & number of their supervisor. That might scare them off...but again, it might aggravate them and end up being a large inconvenience to you....or worse.

Another tip from someone here...wear a funny hat. :er:
 

dpolston

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If it's a "rent-a-cop"; no way would I delete the photo. If if a police officer I would say "very, very politely" that I would leave the location (if in fact it is trespassing or private property), but I think it would take a warrant to make me delete the photo. There is a First [Freedom of Religion and Press] and Fourth Amendment [Search and Seizure] issue for our protection.
 
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monkeykoder

monkeykoder

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I know this is somewhat covered in a couple different threads but I was figuring a more comprehensive approach might be had by having it's own thread. Like at what point would it be worthwhile to draw media attention if it was a police officer? Does it actually make any difference? Is telling the officer (obviously specific to police) that you will not delete your pictures going to cause any major difficulties perhaps legal action?
 

Alpha

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This is very simple.

If you're on private property and a security guard asks you to leave, then leave immediately.

If you're on private property and a security guard asks or attempts to confiscate anything on your person, refuse, tell them that you will call the cops if they persist, and leave immediately.

If you're on public property and a security guard asks you to leave, plainly inform them that you're simply taking a few photos from a public area. If they persist, tell them you'd be happy to call the cops yourself. If they still persist, then either call the cops or leave. Leaving is probably a better choice.

If you're on public property and a security guard attempts to confiscate anything on your person, refuse, tell them that you will call the cops if they persist. If they persist, call the cops.

If you're anywhere and a cop confronts you, tell them plainly that you were just taking some photos for your portfolio. If they ask you to leave, then leave immediately. If they attempt to confiscate anything on your person, calmly refuse and try to talk your way into walking out. If they do confiscate your equipment, leave and then start calling the local papers when you get home. File suit if you and your bank account are so inclined-- your insurance won't cover equipment confiscated by a police officer.
 

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I haven't had any experience with an encounter like this (knock on wood)...but I would think (or hope) that a police officer would at least be well versed on the laws and would know that they can't take your photos or make you delete them. They might find some reason to take you in and maybe harass you though.

Security guards, on the other hand, can be more dangerous because they are not well versed on the laws...they think that they have more authority than they do...which probably isn't much. When confronted by a guard on a power trip, it might be in your best interest to actually call the police.

As for legal action if you are wronged...it's probably more hassle than it's worth...and they probably know that. That's why they use intimidation to get their way. Sure, you could fight it out and get your way in the end...but it's probably not worth it. That's why I say...just be polite and move on.
 
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monkeykoder

monkeykoder

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Now if the officer does confiscate your equipment you can get it back right? Does anybody know what it takes to get your equipment back?
 

Alpha

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Why don't you just cross that bridge if you come to it? All this talk of doomsday scenarios seems pointless unless you're intending to throw yourself into one of them, which I wouldn't advise you to do.
 

Alex_B

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regarding confication and deleting images, you are only in trouble if it is real cops (in most countries at least). security guards can prevent you from taking further images, and remove you from the property, or even hand you over to the police, but they have no right to confiscate your gear or remove images. the images, even if taken illegally, are your personal property.
 

Alex_B

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Now if the officer does confiscate your equipment you can get it back right?

if you were not committing a serious criminal offense, nothing will be taken away from you, and if, it should be easy to get it back shortly afterwards.
 

patrickt

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They won't take the camera away. If someone is agitated, they might take it out of their hand or insist they put it down but the camera will not go away from you unless you're arrested. If you are arrested, it will be logged into property and returned to you when you're released.

If the arrest is somehow related to the pictures you were taking the camera might conceivably be logged into evidence in which case it would not be returned until the case is terminated.

I cannot imagine a circumstance in which a police officer would demand that you delete photos. If there is something illegal about the photos he might take the card with the photos as evidence.

If anyone responsible for private property, even property open to the public, asks you to quit photographing the property, quit. If he asks you do delete photos it's your option and then it is his option to tell you to leave and not return.
 

Alex_B

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I was asked to delete images by a French security guard. But I was able to scare him away by speaking English ;)

He send me to the management of that place then. but instead of going there i just left the place (Paris, 2007).
 
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astrostu

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What if it's not a security guard or police officer - what if you're in a state park and it's a park ranger?

I was shooting engagement photos for some friends in a state park and about half-way through I was approached by a park ranger asking for a business card. I was really freaked out (this was 2.5 years ago, before I knew my rights and about TPF). I told him I didn't have one and that I was just shooting some engagement photos for my friends as a present. As soon as I implied that I was doing it for free (which I was, I just don't remember my exact wording to the guy), he nodded and basically said, "Carry on," and walked away.

So, a state park is technically public property in the US, right? Paid for by a trust and/or state funds and/or admission ($5 parking in this case). So even if I had been charging for the photos, would he have have been legally correct in saying that I couldn't do the photos?
 

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