Arrested For Taking Pictures???

Hi all! We are still having a busy time around here I’m sure you noticed I was missing more often than not this past week. In addition to K graduating and getting his degree L has become engaged to her boyfriend; M. Yep; I’ve gotten much much older these last few days.

I just had to take a break and log in so I could pass along something that I just heard. It’s too crazy not to share with all of my fellow photography buffs out there.

It seems that there was a woman, a mother of three with her own “support our troops” web site, who was recently arrested for simply taking pictures of a tourist attraction.

According to the complaint filed in Federal Court she was driving home past the local airport where a helicopter shell was on display to the public. She stopped her car across the street from this airport in a public area and crossed the road to the public airport entryway to take a picture with her point and shoot camera of the helicopter display. She was going to use the picture on her website.

When she was about to drive away she was stopped by a police lieutenant who demanded to know why she was taking pictures. She showed him her camera and he didn’t handle it carefully at all so to try to prevent it from being damaged she removed her memory card for him which he confiscated and has still not returned to her. The lieutenant made her stay where she was and would not let her leave. He then notified the sheriff’s office and airport authorities and told them that she was a terrorist threat.

The deputy sheriff shows up on the scene with other officers and cameras pointed at her sons (young adults) who had by then made their way to the scene to help their mom. The deputy sheriff made the family stand in front of the cameras and told them not to move. There were also officials from the airport and other local and federal law enforcement (including homeland security) on the scene by this time. The woman was questioned right there on the side of the road for over five hours and denied food or water or even the opportunity for a restroom break. And never being read her rights.

She had received an injury to her ankle earlier in the day wich was causing her to limp and when the officers noticed the limp they made her show her wound. They told her that they were going to arrest her for an unreported knife wound. Also earlier that day she had been to a shooting range practicing her target shooting. Her car was searched without her consent and her unloaded rifle inside it’s locked case was found. She objected to having her rifle taken by the officer and as a result the lieutenant shoved her around and called her things like “right-winger” and “tea bagger” and told her she would never get it back.

During the over five hours she was held on the side of the road she was taunted, verbally abused, threatened, belittled, physically abused, humiliated and harassed by members of the sheriff’s department; and told that she was going to be arrested for terrorism. By midnight they had decided that she posed no terrorist threat and the deputy sheriff ordered that she be handcuffed. She tried to hand her purse with her wallet, a large amount of cash, and her cell phone to her sons; the deputy refused to let them take it and ordered that it be left on the front seat of her car. Her sons objected and the deputy threatened them and made them leave the scene.

The next morning a large amount of money was missing from her purse and has never been returned. There were also other items missing from the car and damage done to the car.

After her sons were made to leave the woman was taken to jail where she was again harassed and after officers admitted they had nothing to charge her with they said they would find something in order to teach other’s a lesson. She was interrogated without being told her rights and requests for a lawyer were ignored. She was told that she was being arrested for terrorism.

She asked for medical treatment for her ankle wound and several hours later was finally taken to a medical center by male officers where she was handcuffed to a bed.  She was made to remove her clothes and even though the doctor asked the officers to turn away they didn’t and watch the whole time. She was given antibiotics and sent back to jail where she was denied the antibiotics and given no care for her wound; causing an infection.

The next day she was handcuffed and put in ankle shackles and taken to court. On the way she was not allowed a seat belt and the driver drove very recklessly causing her to be tossed about in the car. She was shoved through the door of the courthouse and again her requests for a lawyer were ignored.

Even though she had been on public property the whole time she was charged with trespassing and assigned a legal aid attorney. The deputy sheriff lied to the judge telling him that she was a terrorist and had surveillance equipment in her car. A large bail was set and was so high that her children needed time to come up with the money so she was sent back to jail. After talking to the deputy her legal aid attorney said that he was no longer her attorney and that he wanted her put on suicide watch.

She was finger printed, given prison clothes, harassed, abused, given some kind of injection, disrobed and put into a “suicide gown” kind of like a straight jacket. A few days later (in the same “suicide gown” the whole time) bail was posted and she was able to go home.

All charges were dismissed.

The harassment continued after she was released in the form of press releases from the police with headlines saying that she was arrested for trespassing, and was taking pictures of the airport and security, that she was hysterical and screaming, that she had surveillance equipment, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, scary weapons, and that she was an extremist and terrorist.

That’s all just a little bit too crazy for me. I can only hope that in time she is able to clear her name and get some kind of public apology from all the officers and everyone involved. I also hope that she wins the law suit she has filed against them.

Know your rights everyone and be careful where and when you point that camera! You can read your Photographer’s Rights if you follow this link.

–sources for this case are here and here

If I don’t “see” ya all again this week have a good one! I’m off to get things ready for a graduation bar-b-q!

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One thought on “Arrested For Taking Pictures???”

  1. It is upsetting to read this. Not only was she being harassed for taking a picture (where have our freedoms gone?) but also, I believe, for being a woman on her own. Would it have gone so far had she been surrounded by large, strapping men? I have my doubts.

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