Making Up The Law

It is easy to find examples of police enforcing made-up laws.  Here is an example from the Department of Homeland Security:

"There are certain things that the press cannot do when it comes to national security, and filming federal buildings is one of them," said Luis Martinez, a spokesperson for the Dept. of Homeland Security.

This is a total crock.  If it were true, no tourist would ever leave Washington DC -- they would all end up in jail.  Via Carlos Miller, who is doing a great job blogging about the growing efforts by police to make public photography illegal.  Mr. Miller, by the way, is still fighting in court against charges that he committed the ultimate no-no (as far as police are concerned) -- photographing a police officer in public.

Police have decided that the way to avoid having problems like the Rodney King beating which was caught on film is too.... prevent anyone from filming them!  The police can fix just about any evidence, they will back each other up in even the most outrageous of stories, but the one thing they can't fix is video, so they want it banned.  Lacking cooperation from legislatures in actually banning video, they have decided to ban it de facto if not de jure through their actions on the streets, hoping a cowed public will not question their actions.

  • DrTorch

    I've seen the Capitol and White House on film numerous times. Don't these count?

  • Bob Smith

    Why are they worried about video? It's easy to lose, and in a "he said, she said" regarding the alleged existence of the video the cops always win.

  • tomw

    I wanted to take a picture of the twenty-odd police vehicles parked in no-standing zones at Hartsfield-Jackson, but after getting a ticket for 'being stopped in a loading and unloading zone', after stopping at the direction of a police officer, I decided I didn't want to be taken to jail in handcuffs. To fight it would have meant a 60 mile round trip and a day in court. Not worth the $25 they extorted.
    They act with impunity, because they can. Some of us live in a 3rd world country already.
    tom

  • Ian Random

    Well, at least you can take pictures legally in New York City. Oh, wait that requires a permit now:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/28/nyregion/28film.html

  • ted rado

    I visited relatives in communist Hungary on three occasions in the 1980's. It was against the law to photograph, among other things, filling stations and TV towers, as these were deemed to be potential military targets. There was even an armed guard on Mt. Tokay where there is a TV tower, with a "do not photo" sign! Talk about paranoia!

    Maybe we need to raise the Hungarian communist flag over Washington.