Guy records police detaining him for recording Baltimore LRT

Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.

Moderators: nomis, keeper1616

Guy records police detaining him for recording Baltimore LRT

Postby trainmaster611 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:50 pm

Part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iMr76at ... re=related

Part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JOFwbiI ... re=related

Article discussing the outcome:
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryla ... 9369.story

I've never been in a situation like this where the police try to stop or detain me from taking pictures or videos of trains. If it does happen, what should I do?
trainmaster611
 
Posts: 213
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:20 pm

Re: Guy records police detaining him for recording Baltimore

Postby RussNelson » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:48 pm

Taking photographs from public property is always legal. Under certain circumstances, profiting from those photographs may be illegal.

That said, a policeman may wish to inconvenience you, and there seems to be no restrictions on her or her doing that. Under NO circumstances, however, should you allow a policeman to engage you in deleting the photographs. Either 1) you've done nothing wrong, or 2) you have, and you're destroying evidence. Either way, deleting the photographs makes no sense.

On private property, you are subject to the whims of the property owner. Absent a contract (preferably written) dictating the terms of your use of the property, the property owner can change his mind at will, at which point you are trespassing and must immediately depart.
User avatar
RussNelson
 
Posts: 3786
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:20 am
Location: Potsdam, NY

Re: Guy records police detaining him for recording Baltimore

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:46 am

Ugh, more erroneous baloney. This is getting tiresome, but I'm concerned that some kid who is new on RRN is going to take you seriously and get themself in trouble.
RussNelson wrote:Taking photographs from public property is always legal. Under certain circumstances, profiting from those photographs may be illegal.

Russ - IT ISN'T ALWAYS LEGAL - On public property YOU MAY NOT PHOTOGRAPH PERSONS WHO HAVE AN EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY. If you think that I'm wrong, why don't you bring your camera on the MBTA and take an "up-skirt" photo. Or perhaps walk into the mens room on the Public Garden and shoot a guy in a toilet stall. Maybe at the South Station platform you'll find a mother inside an Amtrak roomette nursing her new-born. Grab a nice artistic shot by telephoto of a guy entering his PIN in a street ATM. Let me know how any of those work out for you Russ. (P.S. I won't come and bail you out.) I think that it would be great for you to actually do what you say and lead by example.
RussNelson wrote:That said, a policeman may wish to inconvenience you, and there seems to be no restrictions on her or her doing that.

I don't know any department, with the possible exception of Mayberry, North Carolina, that doesn't have a set of rules and regulations in force prohibiting a conduct such as this without a legitimate law enforcement purpose.
RussNelson wrote:Under NO circumstances, however, should you allow a policeman to engage you in deleting the photographs. Either 1) you've done nothing wrong, or 2) you have, and you're destroying evidence. Either way, deleting the photographs makes no sense.

In your scenario whereby "you have done something wrong", if by photographing against the law and a policeman has made a discretionary decision not to arrest you, but instead give you a verbal warning; (1) there is no evidence because a criminal prosecution is not contemplated, and (2) would you rather delete your shot and walk away or risk being arrested (in which case your camera may be seized and held as evidence), go through the booking process, have to either bail yourself out of jail or spend the night in a room that ain't quite "the Ritz", go through numerous court hearings and possibly a trial, suspend your life for months with this on your back, have a permanent arrest and booking record which is permanently kept in the local police department and FBI's computer data base, give an attorney thousands of dollars towards his next vacation, and subject yourself to a possible criminal record for the rest of your life ? What do you think Russ ? I think that it makes a lot of sense.
RussNelson wrote:On private property, you are subject to the whims of the property owner. Absent a contract (preferably written) dictating the terms of your use of the property, the property owner can change his mind at will, at which point you are trespassing and must immediately depart.

Oh brother ! Do you get your posts from one of those Genie fortune teller balls, Russ ? That's a very all-encompassing statement which implies that all property owners possess this incredible power all the time, which in fact they don't. It is virtually universal that where consistant prior consent has been given (or lack of enforcement against), that notice must be given (written notice in housing situations) in order to revoke such consent. There are even situations under common law, whereby members of the general public cause private property to become a public way if it is is used regularly as a common, accepted practice, over a period of time without a property owner enforcing a right of exclusion. As you suggest, the whim of a property owner is not going to make you law abiding at 2:05 and a trespasser at 2:06. Under some circumstances where if your entry onto the property was legal initially, only after you have left (within a reasonable amount of time) after having been given a trespass notice and then return, would you be considered to be trespassing, providing the law allows for it. Trust me when I tell you that there are many apartment house owners who wish that your premise was true as they sit on an apartment occupied by no-contract, non-rent payers for long periods of time after notice has been given to persons that they cannot legally evict.

Here's a little example: Your buddy and his girlfriend live in a little apartment in Massachusetts off the NEC where a replica NYC "20th Century Limited" is coming through on an east coast tour. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and you want to get some shots of her. This apartment is right up to the tracks and is the absolute perfect vantage spot for this kind of a shot. Nobody will get this close at this location ! So your buddy says, "come on over and we'll shoot it, then have a party". Your buddy said when his lease expired, "I'm staying but no longer paying rent", and hasn't paid for almost two months now. There has been no civil court action. You show up with your tripod and camera for the shoot. Ten minutes later, who shows up but the landlord telling you that you have to leave as the three of you are trespassing. He says that he's calling the cops if you guys don't leave. What's going to happen ? Is he right ? IMHO, the answer is no, he's wrong. Nothing's going to happen. Go tell him to whatever, and enjoy your photo shoot and party. Have one for me. (No crime has been committed.)
~Paul Joyce~
[i]Moderator: Toy Trains, Model Railroading, Outdoor and Live Steam

Paul Joyce passed away in August, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion at railroad.net.
User avatar
3rdrail
 
Posts: 5641
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:10 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Guy records police detaining him for recording Baltimore

Postby RussNelson » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:49 pm

I guess you read the law one way, and I read it another. That's why there are judges, no?

I can't resist pointing out that you are doing this wrong. If you ask a lawyer for generic advice about a situation, that's called legal opinion and it is extremely expensive, precisely because it has to cover all the bases. Instead, when you ask a lawyer for advice, she will ask you for the details of the situation, and then advise you about that situation; at an affordable cost. You're trying to take the specific advice that I gave, and apply it to every situation. That's not the advice I intended and it's not the advice I gave, so just mellow out, okay? Just because it is ALWAYS okay to record the Baltimore LRT from public property, or to photograph policeman in the course of their duty from public property, doesn't mean that you can record up someone's skirt from public property. Mellllloooowwwww. I realize that I am giving advice that implies that a policeman may be incorrect from time to time, and that as a former policeman that annoys you. Sorry, but as much as it annoys you, it's true. That is precisely WHY we have inalienable rights -- to make sure that a policeman doesn't try to get you to give up your rights in exchange for something. And I realize that your rule of thumb is to always trust the policeman, but when a policeman is wrong, that can result in a WORLD of hurt, because the courts always side on the side of the policeman against the citizen when there's no better evidence (and that's reasonable, but that also means that it's reasonable to distrust policeman precisely BECAUSE of that.) And that's a run-on sentence which I have no intention of fixing.
User avatar
RussNelson
 
Posts: 3786
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:20 am
Location: Potsdam, NY

Re: Guy records police detaining him for recording Baltimore

Postby 3rdrail » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:41 pm

Not only do your posts include run-on sentences, but plain old fantasies that you portray as anecdotal examples of proof of what you are saying. Russ, I honestly believe that the furthest that you've ever gotten either inside the world of the police or the world of attorneys is reading gibberish in those radical rags that permeated the streets in the 70's. Police (including myself) make mistakes on a regular basis. That's the business that we are in. It is not a world whereby we sit and cast judgement on those who fight the fight, far removed from the scene in our own commune. Police work is performed on a dynamic, ever-changing stage, where often, breaking information changes your reality by the second. Mistakes are part of what makes it all work. Bring them on ! I welcome them and have absolutely no problem admitting them. I know that because I've lived it. You don't, because you've just (using your own phrase) "Mellllloooowwwwwed". Let's review some of your comments, Russ, such as, "... the courts always side on the side of the policeman against the citizen when there's no better evidence (and that's reasonable, but that also means that it's reasonable to distrust policeman precisely BECAUSE of that.)" ?? To that, I reply hahahahaha!!!!!!! Who's quote was that, Russ ? Abbe Hoffman's ? As far as me not suiting my responses to your intended scenarios as you claim ? Let's examine the last section of your baloney in your previous post as it was given the most coverage. I am referring to your- "On private property, you are subject to the whims of the property owner..." masterpiece worthy of a vocalized Professor Timothy Leary chemically-induced paranoia and delirium panic-attack. In this post, as in the others, you have made pointed and all-encompassing legal declarations apparently without any authority to do so. The problem with doing that is that you might "strike it rich" by accident, but unfortunately, you're probably going to babble out nothing but turtle doodoo. Clearly I have demonstrated why this is turtle doodoo by showing that regardless of the property owners whims, fantasies, agendas, or predilections, you guys have every right to tell the property owner to "stuff it" and keep taking pictures. Not apropos ? Well, you'll have to excuse me. I'm going to do a little mellllloooowwwwwing of my own with a Scotch or two and Bering Cigar. :-)
~Paul Joyce~
[i]Moderator: Toy Trains, Model Railroading, Outdoor and Live Steam

Paul Joyce passed away in August, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion at railroad.net.
User avatar
3rdrail
 
Posts: 5641
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:10 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Guy records police detaining him for recording Baltimore

Postby Jeff Smith » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:20 pm

Okay, folks, let's take a breather on this for a bit. Russ and Paul, you guys are never going to agree, and that's probably a good thing as it's what makes our democracy great.

I won't lock, but ask for a temporary "time-out".
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator
Jeff Smith
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7404
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: MP 67.2 Georgia Southern Railway

Re: Guy records police detaining him for recording Baltimore

Postby gprimr1 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:50 pm

The MTA police have since backed off this and apologized.

My advice is if the police approach you, be nice and be civilized. Yes sir, no sir (or ma'am) go a long way. Don't play constitutional lawyer right off the bat. Understand the police have no idea who you are or what your doing. I've been stopped by the police before, and I always approach it in that context. If there are documents such as a written photo policy, carry a copy with you. The officer, while I would say he should know, may not, or may have forgotten. They are humans. As a parallel, I have a permit to carry a concealed firearm from Pennsylvania. It is honored by several other states, but none the less, I carry a copy of the agreement with me in case an officer is not aware.

Now if the police do run you off a public area, take their name and badge number and file a report. Or in some areas you can ask for a police supervisor. Every police department has a department to handle officer complaints, and from my understanding they are taken quite seriously.

3rdrail is right about the people, but I think it's not the best example because those are places where you do have an expectation of privacy. Clearly up-skirting is a crime and people do have an expectation of privacy in a bathroom. I would hope that people would not misinterpret the idea "no expectation of privacy in public, to include up the skirt or in a bathroom. (Although I know they will.)
-Greg Primrose
Moderator: General Discussion: High Speed Rail Amtrak
"I'm leaving on a jet train, don't know when I'll be back again. Bags are packed and there ready to go."
Ave Atque Vale
User avatar
gprimr1
 
Posts: 3846
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:39 pm
Location: Towson Maryland

Re: Guy records police detaining him for recording Baltimore

Postby 3rdrail » Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:47 pm

Agreed gprimr, except that I would want to advise that the charge of trespassing in all the states that I know of is a discretionairy misdemeanor. If you tab a policeman doing what he believes is his job, I'd be willing to bet down the road that that "photo-shoot" that just may be might be a little fudgy regarding public/private property is going to be responded to with an arrest. The problem with rail fans trying to define law is that the law and reading through them can be very challenging. Cops, lawyers, and judges get them confused. This reminds me of a spirited debate that I had with an ex-site administrator here involving pink kittens and the MBTA.I argued against his advice of refusing a CSA's orders to leave a station, insisting instead that the CSA call Transit Police for a "legal call". I knew that the law involved the CSA, an agent of the police, to potentially turn the matter into a criminal matter by not obeying his order to leave the station immediately. Our site administrator, a sharp guy, ie. your average citizen or rail fan, didn't. The overall point here is that railfanning should be conducted so as to give the maximum enjoyment without involving having it turn into a "bad scene" or money pit for legal funds. I would suggest that the best action to take here is just to walk away so as to come back here or someplace else another day and get the best photo-shoot of your life.
~Paul Joyce~
[i]Moderator: Toy Trains, Model Railroading, Outdoor and Live Steam

Paul Joyce passed away in August, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion at railroad.net.
User avatar
3rdrail
 
Posts: 5641
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:10 pm
Location: Boston


Return to Photography & Video

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest