Photographer Held for Hours By Police New York City and Tri-State News from WABC-TV: In yet another case of police abuse of authority, photographer Ben Hilder was held for two hours by Weschester Court police for taking photos of a flag in front of the court house.

Ben Hider, Photographer: “Emptied my pockets, searched me, frisked me, started telling me about the recent terrorist threats in America over the past five years and ‘haven’t I been watching the news?

Although David Bookstaver, from the Office of Court Administration apologized to the photographer this is simply unacceptable. Since when is photography a crime? I had my own run in with the Alameda County Sheriffs last year while shooting in Oakland. Although I was only detained for about a half an hour, I was still subjected to a background check and required to show identification to Alameda Sherifs for nothing more than taking photographs.

This is simply unacceptable.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to Bush country!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wish they would just let anyone and everyone walk around and take pictures of whatever they damn well please. All this inconvenience is really making me think about moving to a country with a little more freedom. Don’t they understand how important my insane little photography hobby is?! Yes, I understand that real photographers acquire permits and permissions and schedule sessions to get their pictures, but I have civil rights that I will take advantage of regardless of how ridiculous I sound. There is a point to be made here, and even if terrorists attack our country attempting to kill us, what good is staying alive in a country where you can’t do whatever the hell you want to do?

  3. Shawn Oster says:

    *laugh* I love what the second commenter said, he is dead on.

    Thomas, 80% of the time you post some pretty good stuff but your whole “photographer abuse” shtick goes way overboard. I’m pretty much as liberal as liberal can be and even I don’t think this is a big deal.

    They didn’t beat him, they didn’t drag him into a back room nor did they blacklist him. They asked him some questions and oh no, two hours of his precious life were wasted because someone erred on the side of caution. Calling this abuse is pure exaggeration.

    This post reminded me of the book, “How To Be Good” by Nick Hornby. Check it out, you might find some parallels.

  4. It did not take much more to stopped people from taking street pictures, a once joyful hobby to be missed by many.

  5. Well Shawn Oster, my precious little life is now waisting more of its precious little time commenting on your precious little comments. And when you get dragged into a back room, searched, accused of being a terrorist and threatened with deportation, then we’ll talk.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I took a picture of the security in front of the NY stock exchange over a year ago. There were homeland security guys there, dogs, automatic weapons, blacked out SUVs, etc. No one cared. But take a picture of a building or flag and you get detained??? hahaha Maybe it’s because my pregnant wife was with me? 🙂