If I get arrested do I have to give up my camera? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Taking Care of Business

Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 29th, 2008, 07:31 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Ridley Park, PA, USA
Posts: 269
If I get arrested do I have to give up my camera?

Hypothetical situation:

I am taping a government building from the outside. This is completely legal according to things I have read such as this...

Excerpt: "...there are not very many legal restrictions on what can be photographed when in public view. Most attempts at restricting photography are done by lower-level security and law enforcement officials acting way beyond their authority. Note that neither the Patriot Act nor the Homeland Security Act have any provisions that restrict photography. "

From http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

If I am approached by police and asked to turn off the camera do I have the right to refuse?

If arrested (unlawfully) do I have the right to keep my camera with me and running at all times?
__________________
http://mikepulcinella.com/portfolio.htm
Check out my work!
Michael Pulcinella is offline  
Old July 29th, 2008, 07:57 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lewisburg PA
Posts: 752
The 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution says:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The police need a warrant issued by a judge to take your camera and/or look at the tape unless they have probable cause that crime has been committed (if they arrest you they probably believe they have probable cause to do so). If they question you you can always ask whether you are violating a law and if they can't cite one and there is not an immediate issue related to public safety you can try to continue taping.

HOWEVER, you should generally comply with the instructions of a law enforcement officer. To do otherwise is to ask for trouble. File a complaint or a lawsuit later.
Peter Wiley is offline  
Old July 29th, 2008, 08:01 PM   #3
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
If you are approached by police and asked to turn off the camera, generally speaking, in most common situations it's a good idea to honor the request. Assuming that by using the term "ask" you mean just that, being politely asked, why would you want to escalate such a situation into a confrontation by refusing such a request? This isn't an issue about "rights" so much as it is an issue of the right thing to do.

If arrested, you are in no position whatsoever to determine whether the arrest was "lawful" or "unlawful" (only a judge can make such determination later on), nor do you have any power to do anything about it at the time of arrest. So, if arrested, no you do not have the right to keep your camera with you and running at all times. You'll have to yield it (along with any other items on your person) at the time of arrest.

Refusing to do so is foolish, as you'll bring on the risk of other charges such as resisting arrest, obstruction of justice, interference with a police officer, and who knows what else. Never a good idea. Hope this helps,
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline  
Old July 29th, 2008, 08:07 PM   #4
Kino-Eye
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 455
Chris is spot-on, once you are arrested, someone other that you gets to decide what you can and can't do. The Josh Wolf story is a cautionary tale, the Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Wolf) has lots of links to related material you might find of interest. I had a chance to talk with him last year at Web Video Summit and he experienced quite an ordeal that raises many questions about media, law, privacy, and free speech. I would not dare for a moment to give any legal advice, I'm not an attorney nor have I every played one on television.
__________________
David Tames { blog: http://Kino-Eye.com twitter: @cinemakinoeye }
David Tamés is offline  
Old July 29th, 2008, 09:11 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Ridley Park, PA, USA
Posts: 269
Thanks everybody! I am shooting a documentary about a controversial subject that may get me in hot water and I'm trying to figure out how far I can push things. You all have helped immensely!
__________________
http://mikepulcinella.com/portfolio.htm
Check out my work!
Michael Pulcinella is offline  
Old July 30th, 2008, 06:46 AM   #6
Kino-Eye
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Pulcinella View Post
... I am shooting a documentary about a controversial subject that may get me in hot water and I'm trying to figure out how far I can push things ...
I would line up an attorney now. This way they can offer guidance along the way, suggest strategies (what you say and how you say it can make a difference) and if you ever have to make a phone call, you know exactly who to call and they already know about your project. Much easier and better to find the right attorney now than later.
__________________
David Tames { blog: http://Kino-Eye.com twitter: @cinemakinoeye }
David Tamés is offline  
Old July 30th, 2008, 07:38 AM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: switzerland
Posts: 2,131
quote :"Assuming that by using the term "ask" you mean just that, being politely asked, why would you want ..."

Hey man , if we count every time a lousy cop had done something wrong and thanks a camera the fault was publicly revealed, i mean just this worth to try to defend your right.
after all shooting picture is no offense, and if somebody ask you (even politely) to stop and this cause escalation, it is not your fault (who is escalating ? and why ? what is the reason ).
If i was a cop and somebody says no at my request , i would just give up, after all if there must be problem with the video later, it is up to the guy who hold the cam to assume.
Additionaly, the presence of a camera is sometime a warranty that everybody keeps cools and think twice before doing silly thing.
another reason would be that the situation is interesting enough to be recorded, and the opinion
of somebody who has no more rights on the subject than you is not supposed to make decision.
The problem with people in uniform is they shoot first and think after sometime just because they wear an uniform.

Last edited by Giroud Francois; July 30th, 2008 at 10:41 AM.
Giroud Francois is offline  
Old July 30th, 2008, 08:59 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 1,866
When you behave like a subject you become one. I am thankful to those with the courage to face these challenges head on. Unfortunately, they often pay a high price.

Addendum:

I'll just add a comment here. Often the one we most admire in our lives is our father. My father, a WWII veteran of the war in Europe was never a bully, but most anyone of that era who survived the life and death experiences is a profile in courage, and fearless of the trivial worries we fret over.

On one of his trips to communist Vietnam, he was told "NO CAMERAS!" I take pride in him for the videos he brought back. He ignored them, just like he ignored the Russians and the Chinese who told him the same thing. And he did it with a smile.

He once told me he and the other brave warriors from that awful war were just "peanuts." They weren't fighting for democracy. They were fighting to live. After that he was never outwardly emboldened, but neither was he afraid of his government or any other. I wish I had that kind of courage.

Last edited by Tom Roper; July 30th, 2008 at 10:00 AM.
Tom Roper is offline  
Old July 30th, 2008, 01:10 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 1,997
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
quote :"Assuming that by using the term "ask" you mean just that, being politely asked, why would you want ..."

Hey man , if we count every time a lousy cop had done something wrong and thanks a camera the fault was publicly revealed, i mean just this worth to try to defend your right.
after all shooting picture is no offense, and if somebody ask you (even politely) to stop and this cause escalation, it is not your fault (who is escalating ? and why ? what is the reason ).
If i was a cop and somebody says no at my request , i would just give up, after all if there must be problem with the video later, it is up to the guy who hold the cam to assume.
Additionaly, the presence of a camera is sometime a warranty that everybody keeps cools and think twice before doing silly thing.
another reason would be that the situation is interesting enough to be recorded, and the opinion
of somebody who has no more rights on the subject than you is not supposed to make decision.
Note the different nations involved in this discussion. Different countries, different laws.

First off, yes shooting video COULD be an offense. Ever hear of the DHS? Department Of Homeland Security? If the building you are trying to film is a federal building of any sort of importance, then it very well may be illegal to film it (check with a lawyer to find out the laws).

What is legal to do to you, and what "could" be done to you under the pretext of the law (I am not saying justifiable), are two entirely different things. There are all sorts of laws that could come to bear to suit the argumentative needs of both you, and the police (but most laws are designed to aid the authorities, not the citi
Jason Robinson is offline  
Old July 30th, 2008, 01:13 PM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 1,997
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tames View Post
I would line up an attorney now. This way they can offer guidance along the way, suggest strategies (what you say and how you say it can make a difference) and if you ever have to make a phone call, you know exactly who to call and they already know about your project. Much easier and better to find the right attorney now than later.
If you are serious about shooting this project, and not just trying for a shock effect production, then this is the best advice on the forum..... besides just getting a permit to film.
Jason Robinson is offline  
Old July 30th, 2008, 02:34 PM   #11
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
...the presence of a camera is sometime a warranty that everybody keeps cools and think twice before doing silly thing.
You could not possibly be more wrong.

It is first and foremost the level of training and experience that a police officer has, and the intelligence, reserve and composure of all parties involved, that everybody keeps cools and thinks twice before doing anything silly. As we have seen on the news over and over again, the presence of a camera all too often does *nothing* to prevent unfortunate decisions on *both* sides of the badge.

Quote:
The problem with people in uniform is they shoot first and think after sometime just because they wear an uniform.
Actually the exact opposite is true: if the general population at large received only one tenth the amount of conflict resolution training any law enforcement officer receives, the world would be a much better, far less violent place to live.
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline  
Old July 30th, 2008, 02:51 PM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Deep South, U.S.
Posts: 1,384
Just got back from law enforcement verbal judo refresher training this week and happened on this thread. As a federal law enforcement officer for 29 years I can say that no one I work with likes to bully the public around. It is very unprofessional. 99% of what we do is conflict resolution, surviellance and diffusing situations, not making them worse. As far as filming federal federal facilities at which I have worked, yes any law enforcement officer worth his salt is going to observe and study your actions first then make contact to see what you intentions are. Agency policy will dictate what actions if any will be taken. You would be suprised and even frightened at how many times these contacts have panned out to be something significant to our nation's security.
__________________
Mark
videos: http://vimeo.com/channels/3523
Mark Williams is offline  
Old July 30th, 2008, 03:38 PM   #13
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
And with that, the thread is closed. The original poster has already received the best possible advice.
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline  
Old July 31st, 2008, 01:15 AM   #14
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles (recently from San Francisco)
Posts: 954
DELETED -- I missed Chris' closure of the thread.
Paul Tauger is offline  
Closed Thread

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Taking Care of Business

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:46 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network