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Your right to photograph anyone in public — even cops beating someone.

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by iGonzoid, Mar 5, 2013.

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  1. iGonzoid

    iGonzoid Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 6, 2011
    Tasmania, Australia
    Regarding your right to take photos and videos in public places [in Oz at least] — even of cops beating people.

    Regarding the filming of police action during the Sydney Mardi Gras:

    * [ABC report} 'A video posted on YouTube shows a policeman throwing the handcuffed 18-year-old to the ground and putting a foot into his back after the parade on Oxford Street on Saturday night.

    'The young man appears to have a head injury, and an officer repeatedly tells witnesses to stop filming as the man cries and cowers on the ground.

    'What happened between police and the man before the incident is not clear.'

    [NSW] Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch says the incident is being investigated by the Professional Standards Command

    'He told a press conference an officer was wrong to order members of the public to stop filming and will be spoken to.

    ' "It is contrary to our media policy," he said.

    ' "I would suggest that unfortunately, it shows a degree of naivety of the police involved who made those comments.

    ' "We understand and accept, and in fact support the right of the community to film anyone in a public space. We do it ourselves as part of our operational duties." '

    THIS LAST COMMENT IS SO IMPORTANT: You have a right to film anyone in public space. Use your rights.

    The full ABC report and video are here:

    Police investigate Mardi Gras brutality claims - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  2. Zariell

    Zariell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    Bountiful, UT
    You do have the right to photograph, however and this is a very big HOWEVER, a police officer can cite and arrest you for obstruction of justice, ergo you won't be holding your camera when you are cuffed and in the back of a police car, I've seen it happen many times, and guess what you can get it thrown out of court, but that is after you go to jail, get booked and then have to get all your gear out of the police property room, which may or may not have the photographs you took on them.

    Most police are decent people and they are just trying to do their jobs, and usually unless you are making a problem of yourself they will usually leave you alone, the important thing is if they ask you to stop filming them, be POLITE, express your rights exactly, this doesn't mean what you think they are, what you hope they are but what they ARE, and that varies from place to place, even from town to town in some places, and hopefully they will go about their job and not even notice you. But I can guarantee you go waving the camera in a cops face you will go to jail.
  3. iGonzoid

    iGonzoid Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 6, 2011
    Tasmania, Australia
    Actually I have been in a circumstance in South Africa back in the apartheid years in '86 when I and my Leica CL were held at the site of a shooting [police/political death squad I think] while the victim died at my feet. I was a journo at the time, working for a small black-owned newspaper. The police held me at the scene for nearly an hour awaiting the decision of a police captain from John Vorster Square police HQ. Only the intervention of my [black] editor saved me from being taken for a ride. I was prevented from taking pix and had my film confiscated. However, in any similar circumstances I would do the same today, knowing that one has rights. Politeness has its place; however insistence on rights is often needed too.
  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Sorry, discussion of politics is not allowed anywhere on the site. This includes discussion of photography-related politics such as photographers' rights.


    We would like to make an exception for discussion of photographers' rights and/or let it go until overtly political, but invariably it gets there, and we don't want to deal with that.
    • Like Like x 2
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