One time I was on a train that was stopped at Eastern Market by MTP to arrest a robbery suspect. We held for about 10 minutes before the doors opened, and then I heard a police K9 unit barking. I saw officers making an arrest with the K9 dog barking. I took out my phone to videotape the arrest, and was told to stop or else my phone would be confiscated as "evidence." Evidence of what, I am not sure, since the suspect was already under arrest. I didn't push back because I wanted to be on my way.
Recently I was taking legal photos on a public sidewalk of a building for a personal art project. A security guard approached me and asked me dozens of questions about what I was doing and who I was "with". I politely answered his questions even though I didnt have to and repeatedly told him I was doing this for a personal art project while I went about continuing to snap more photos. He couldnt seem to wrap his mind around me doing this for personal reasons and insisted I tell him what company I work for. I told him with a straight face "I work as a cashier at Burger King" (a lie) at which point he started to laugh. I finished up taking my photos and left as he kept blathering on about security issues.
I'm all for photographers' rights, but regarding the video clip... at least have the decency to tell the truth when you ARE filming or taking photography. Lying immediately discredits your legitimacy.
Agreed. The truth is the best policy in all these cases, especially given WMATA's policies are on the photographer's side. I included the video for its relevance but don't endorse the lying.
If it is legal to take photos, then I shouldn't be questioned for doing so. It doesn't matter what my answers are, if the questioning is not part of an official interrogation. This is simply transit workers being busybodies, people who feel the need to exercise control over others having little power trips; it has nothing to do with REAL security issues. It's the same situation that police around the nation have fallen into- they don't WANT to be photographed, so they don't CARE what the law is- you should stop! A photograph is not a dangerous thing. A little person on a power trip is a dangerous thing to our freedoms.
I don't think it is the case that people or the police are intentionally trying to harass photographers, the truth is, no one knows who is legitimately taking pictures or who is doing so to plot some horrible sabotage. Also, many of the photographers take pictures of people without their consent. Yes, it is a public space and they have that right but folks on the Metro are going to work, school, etc. and many don't want to be photographed. They don't know what the pictures are for or where they will end up. I think photographers have to be a little sensitive to that as well. That being said, I have seen some beautiful pictures of our Metro system. I actually didn't know myself that it wasn't illegal to take pictures on Metro. I thought it was, knowing that it is not is helpful. But, I still would suggest most people don't want their picture taken. I don't. Thanks.
Then don't go out in public. There is no right not to be photographed in a public place. The assumption that millions of photographers must be restricted because of the *possibility* some of them might be bad guys is ludicrous, because this does not restrict the bad guys.
Here is a handing doc detailing a photographer's rights. It is a good idea to print one up and carry it with you at all times.
Show them the law written down and PIGS will shoot first.
"The paper looked like a rifle."
They can't read, won't read, don't read, and would rather believe themselves than try to read anything.
C'mon, there aren't a lot of smart people working for WMATA. It is perfectly legal to take photos in public places, period.