DC Security Guard Interupts Fox5 News Interview With Amtrak Offical Being Interviewed About Photography Being OK

DC Security Guard Interupts Fox5 News Story on Photography Being Legal Saying No Photography Allowed

Security interrupts Amtrak spokesman who says photos are OK in D.C.'s union station – Boing Boing I’m not sure how I missed this one from Monday, but BoingBoing is out with a story about the recent harassment of photographers that’s been taking place in DC’s Union Station.

This story is straight out of Catch22 though. While the interview is taking place with a senior Amtrak spokesman saying that photography is absolutely legal in the station, a security guard actually interrupts the interview to say that photography is not allowed. You can watch the entire episode on video here.

One of the other interesting things in the news report is a mention that Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is looking into drafting legislation to protect the rights of people to take photos.

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12 Comments

  1. Phil says:

    Here’s another article that may interest you:

    http://tinyurl.com/5rpp4e

  2. KD says:

    Looks like someone in the chain of command decided that photography ought not to be allowed without a permit (anti-terrorist measure?) but instead of going through official channels, just told the guards to take care of it. Just a theory.

  3. btezra says:

    I’ve always been cautious about private property and not allowing anyone (security, etc.) to have an excuse to hassle me…I just don’t like being hassled and tend to stay clear of anything remotely private.

    Now, if I am clearly being approached and accosted simply for firing the shutter I will stand up and defend my right to do so on public property no matter the consequence, but the line between what’s private and public can be blurred at times, so I resist testing the waters.

    Sometime I feel as if I am being complacent about how photographers are being harassed more and more these days but when in doubt I avoid the conflict.

  4. TranceMist says:

    Wow, what morons. Even after the NPR guys were there.

    I actually had a decent encounter at a security guard at a convention center yesterday. It was late at night. He walked up and asked what I was taking pictures of, I replied “The architecture, it’s cool.”

    We exchanged a bit more chit-chat, but he was reasonable and never asked that I stop or leave or anything like that.

  5. Kirk says:

    Thomas,

    I am put this comment here too, due to the fact I noticed it publish the links I added. So I will ad the link to the Law page at the end. Sorry about the confusion.

    I had heard of photographers being harassed in Chicago and in N.Y.C. I found the FOX 5 NEWS interview at the Union Station in Washington D.C. very comedic. I think this has come about because security and law enforcement are paranoid of photographers in general. I also think this a due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of the laws and rights.

    I ran across this yesterday while I was searching out this very topic on Photographer’s Rights. This .PDF was put together by Bert P. Krages II Attorney at Law. It is recommended to make a copy and put it with your photo gear.

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

  6. JeffH says:

    Here is Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s response on this issue. She is clearly aware of what the law is and what our rights as photographers are. Hopefully she will make more noise on this issue.
    http://www.myfoxdc.com/myfox/MyFox/pages/sidebar_video.jsp?contentId=6680096&version;=1&locale;=EN-US

  7. Eric in SF says:

    Until the police are fully educated on the laws surrounding photography in these situations, we are still at risk.

    How many of us can afford to suddenly lose 24, 48, 36 hours of our life in a cell for refusing to follow the orders of a police officer? Yes, you’ll be vindicated later, but who has the money to hire a lawyer to defend yourself?

    In the USA, the simple fact remains – if you refuse to follow the order(s) of a police officer, EVEN IF THE OFFICER IS WRONG, you go to jail. Untangling THAT mess has the potential to be life-changing, and not in a good way.

  8. Chief Robot says:

    It seems we are seeing more and more incidents of photographers being hassled by security guards or even real police. Just check Boing Boing and you will see almost 1 incident per week. Has anyone started keeping track of all the different incidents?
    I’m really glad you have this blog Thomas.
    Please everyone – make sure Eleanor Holmes is re-elected!
    More power to the photographers!

  9. Danno says:

    It would seem the video has been taken down by Fox. Anyone still have a copy somewhere?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Your fox link is dead…

  11. Ian W. says:

    Looks like they just moved their site around, the Fox video lives here now:

    http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/Union_Station_Photo_Flap

  12. […] officials don’t seem to know what the actual law is.  This is due to mismanagement and piss poor instruction.  After 9/11 it was literally drummed into every officer at 10 concecutive roll calls and in […]