Seattle Police Department Issues Clarified Policy on How Police Should Deal With Photographers

Seattle Cops James Pitts and David Toner Pwned After Trying to Take Photographer's Camera

Seattle Police Department issues new policy regarding photographers Carlos Miller has a post out on a newly issued policy by the Seattle Police Department reminding officers how they should treat and handle photographers out in the field.

There have been many documented cases of police harassing photographers, taking their cameras, etc. over the course of the past few years. In the Seattle PD’s case, one of their recent run ins with a photographer resulted in an embarassing $8,000 fine when the ACLU helped Bogdan Mohara sue the Seattle PD over a wrongful arrest by Seattle PD Officers James Pitts and David Toner.

The ACLU helped the Seattle PD draft their new policy towards photographers. The policy, according to the Seattle PI, reminds officers that bystanders have a right to film officers making an arrest and also emphasizes that police are not allowed to seize someone’s camera without a court order.

It is great to see the Seattle PD taking this forward step and reminding law enforcement that photography is not a crime. Hopefully other police departments will see this and use this as a reminder to their own officers that taking photographs of police is perfectly legal and that photographers should not be harassed when they do this.

My Cops set on Flickr here.

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2 Comments

  1. Kirk says:

    Thomas,

    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.

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