Yet another disturbing story of the apparent disregard for civil and constitutional rights in post 9-11 America on Boing Boing today (well done BB for highlighting it). Steve and his wife were approached by ticket inspectors in San Francisco after snapping a few photographs and ordered to cease and threatened with being cited for breaking the law if they continued. As a member of the National Press Photographer’s Association Steve knew there was no law restricting him and challenged the inspectors to explain which law they were citing (not to mention his contitutional freedoms being restricted).
Unsurprisingly they were unable to do so, but continued to tell him his photographs were a security threat and then went on to call in SFPD officers who also harrassed and threatened him. They too could not find a law he had broken so instead threatened to arrest him on a trumped up charge of ‘trespass’.
How does one ‘trespass’ on a public space such as a rail station? And considering most every night we see live images from cameras covering correspondents from round the world right outside the White House how can these jumped-up jobsworths possibly see taking a photograph in a rails tation as a threat? Perhaps they better get their officious and over-zealous little butts over to Washington to arrest the world’s press corp as they film George’s workplace (although that is a generous term since he spends a lot of time away on a break rather than working there but that’s another tale). Check out Steve’s site for his well-thought out (especially given the provocation) explanation of the events and response to them.