As a street photographer I have had my share of being hassled by security guards and police. It seems a lot of other street photographers do too. So many in fact that there seems to be a movement afoot. Last January there was a mass gathering in London coordinated by a group called “I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist”.
This movement has now come across the Atlantic. Recently a friend of mine forwarded an e-mail from ASMP. It is below.
Concerns over security can sometimes make law enforcement officers, security guards, and even private citizens get carried away. A number of government agencies have been encouraging citizens to report “suspicious behaviors,” and one of the specific activities often listed as suspicious is photography. By way of specific example, the LAPD has issued an Order listing 65 suspicious behaviors that LAPD officers are required to report, and one of them is taking pictures or video footage “with no apparent esthetic value.”
ASMP is working with the ACLU to try to combine security with some basic common sense and fairness. To do that, we need to provide as many concrete examples as possible of photographers being stopped, questioned, harrassed or even detained for just taking photographs. If this has happened to you some time over the past three years or so, please send an email to me firstname.lastname@example.org or just reply to this message. Please put “SAR” in the subject line (the police acronym for “Suspicious Activity Reporting”) and let me have a description of what you were doing, what happened, where it took place, the approximate date of the incident, and its outcome. I will then pass the information along to the ACLU. If you wish to have your anecdote remain anonymous, please let me know that in the email.
Many thanks for your assistance, and thank you all for your being members of ASMP,
Victor S. Perlman General Counsel & Managing Director
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