This is the most bizarre story I have seen in some time:
Basically, a father allowed his daughter to change in public at the Seattle Center International Fountain, spotted someone taking a picture, demanded to see that photographer’s camera, then called the police when the photographer did not acquiesce to his demands.
After arriving, the police said “they definitely wished they could have been there earlier”, to which Rex replied, “to do what?”.
You cannot forcibly detain someone merely for the act of taking a photograph. At least not legally. The man could have walked away from the police as easily as he walked away from the father. The cops may have shot him in the back for “obstruction of an officer” or another made up charge, but legally, the photographer violated absolutely no laws whatsoever.
“You can take photos in public,” (police officer) Whitcomb said. “But is someone using a telescopic lens? Are they just focusing on children? That’s something we would take an interest in.”
The last line was even creepier than molestation, because an agent of the state openly admitted that he would detain a citizen for committing a non-crime. Welcome to the police state, folks, where everything is illegal until it’s deemed otherwise.
Here we go, one more time for the slow crowd:
Telescopic lenses and photographing children are legal. Photographing almost anything is legal, especially in public, or in places of public accommodation (shopping malls, casinos, etc).
Yes, I know that fascism has arrived, but at this moment, photography is still not a crime. Police cannot force you to delete pictures or reveal the contents of your camera. At least not yet. A new “terror” law will correct this in the near future, I’m sure.
Until then, pictures taken on both public and private property (that’s right, private property as well) are protected unless a warrant is produced. You are fair photographic game in public and you cannot order someone to stop taking pictures, force someone to show you the pictures he/she has taken, and if you attempt to detain that person, that person can use whatever force necessary to effectuate his/her freedom. If you touch someone that photographs you, even if you don’t like it, you are guilty of assault. Just ask Sean Penn.
The PI (the folks that crash your mobile browsers with ads and physically assault your ear drums) is treading on thin legal ice by putting the guy’s picture in the paper and inferring that he may be a child molester. That’s one hell of a defamation suit waiting to happen.
I don’t know if the photographer was a scumbag or not, but that is really not relevant to the PI article. Scumbags are allowed to take pictures, and if you don’t want people looking at your kids, for Christ’s sake, don’t let them change outdoors. When you get naked in Seattle Center, you’re not just entertaining the cattle anymore.
I sure hope the Capitol Hill Blog picks up this story, because I want to be the first person in the comment section to tell these people to go back to the suburbs.