While I’m not a huge fan of the ACLU, I’m an even lesser fan of gestapo tactics that police use, especially when they are photographed or video taped while in the course of their duties. Too many times after a police officer does something questionable when arresting a suspect, you’ll see him whip his head around to see if he was video taped. Seriously, like one of my children might do. They then start harassing the photographers and videographers trying to minimize the damage.
If you photograph the police doing something out of line, snap that pic and take the ACLU’s advice.
If you are stopped or detained for taking photographs:
- Always remain polite and never physically resist a police officer.
- If stopped for photography, the right question to ask is, “am I free to go?” If the officer says no, then you are being detained, something that under the law an officer cannot do without reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to commit a crime or are in the process of doing so. Until you ask to leave, your being stopped is considered voluntary under the law and is legal.
- If you are detained, politely ask what crime you are suspected of committing, and remind the officer that taking photographs is your right under the First Amendment and does not constitute reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.