MTA Officers Detain Man For Taking Photos at Station

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fulltritty

CSX Fan
In the almost 10 years I have railfanned MTA (MARC) stations at Brunswick, St. Denis, Point of Rocks, Halethorpe, Dorsey, and Bowie State University I have never seen an MTA police officer. :D
 

gp80mac

Remarkably Snide
Funny how you and TP never post unless it's to cause trouble or stir the pot.

Just sayin'.

If you think you know what my line of thinking is based off of one statement, then you're sadly mistaken.



Thank you for the laugh this morning. That is quite funny coming from one of the biggest troublemakers RR forums has ever seen. Between you and the rest of the jokers known as the "Foamer Fighters", you have done plenty create an unfriendly environment. I don't think that the harassing of other members on this forum particularly creates the family-friendly environment that Bob has envisioned for this site.
Well, your first sentence is a mis-truth at best, and a flat out lie at worst. I contributed plenty to this site in the many years here. It's been a little slow here lately, so I have been posting elsewhere. I still read many of the posts here, though. Old habits die hard.


So does family-friendly mean insulting the ACLU? Just askin'.
 

Eastern Railfan

Ferroequineologist
Well, your first sentence is a mis-truth at best, and a flat out lie at worst. I contributed plenty to this site in the many years here.
In the past, absolutely. Within the past year or so, not so much.


So does family-friendly mean insulting the ACLU? Just askin'.
Depends on your definition of family friendly. I did not use any curses or derogatory langauge so I would have no issue with my child reading the post. That's how I define family friendly. Simply because someone chooses to take offense to something doesn't mean that it is automatically not "family-friendly".
 

gp80mac

Remarkably Snide
Well, there haven't been many posts that have caught my interest in the past year. That might change sometime in the future, who knows. But I am more likely to discuss railroad operations than railfanning items now. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much of a market for real operations discussion here. This is more of a railfan site... (I still consider myself a railfan, yet, so that's why I'm here)

And in the same light, I believe I am keeping it family friendly.
 

Eastern Railfan

Ferroequineologist
But I am more likely to discuss railroad operations than railfanning items now. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much of a market for real operations discussion here.
Have you considered trying to start some threads on that topic? I know that there is at least one non-rail on here who starts some every now and again. RobertGift (the OL presenter dude) if I remember right. I'm not saying it will take off right away, but I haven't seen any attempts to discuss rail operations in quite some time. It might bear some fruit if you gave it a try. Just a thought.
 
I am kind of wondering about one thing....

What about an outreach type of scenario whereupon some of us..as fans...approach security people and introduce ourselves as such?:)

I know..sounds really naive but I've seen it work here...I can do my photography just about anywhere as long as I approach the security people first :)
 

Eastern Railfan

Ferroequineologist
I am kind of wondering about one thing....

What about an outreach type of scenario whereupon some of us..as fans...approach security people and introduce ourselves as such?:)

I know..sounds really naive but I've seen it work here...I can do my photography just about anywhere as long as I approach the security people first :)
There is certianly nothing wrong with asking permission first and often times it's a quick way to make sure things go smoothly. I think the debate that people often have though is whether you should HAVE to ask or not.
 

Pat

Photo Critiques Welcome
I am kind of wondering about one thing....

What about an outreach type of scenario whereupon some of us..as fans...approach security people and introduce ourselves as such?:)

I know..sounds really naive but I've seen it work here...I can do my photography just about anywhere as long as I approach the security people first :)
I’ve stopped at a few businesses to see if I could park in their lot or go behind a building. Some say no but unless you’re in a crime area many don’t care as long as it won’t interfere with their operation.

I get checked on by the police at least once a year. Usually it’s the police doing what police do checking on things that seem out of the ordinary. Often they will act as if the don’t believe me or keep rephrasing their questions. When this happens what they are doing is watching your demeanor and seeing if the answers change. Crooks get nervous and people with nothing to hide don’t. I’m polite and my answer doesn’t change. It’s my hobby and lots of people do it. Unless I’m trespassing (it’s happenens) they say have a nice day and go about their work.

A couple years ago I was with a few guys on the St Mary’s River. We crossed into Canada and took our boat down along the docks at Essar Steel to shoot some hoppers at the mill. This brought out the Ontario Provincial Police, Coast Guard and the Immigration for a lengthy check out. The dock wasn’t posted or on the charts as no small craft allowed and the Soo Locks tour boats go down the dock so trespassing was out. We passed the Coast Guard inspection, weren't drinking and weren’t fishing so we we’re o.k. with them. We hadn’t landed (actually set foot ashore) in Canada so no immigration problems. In the end the O.P.P. officer said the mill was pissed off. If we’d pull up to the dock to let Essar’s security people tell us how dangerous it was and to stay away we’d be on our way.
 

Tower 55

Its DGNO. Not Dingo!
I would give the policeman the benefit of the doubt that, though ill informed, they were doing the job they thought was asked of them. It's doubtful they get their jollies harassing railfans. We expect law enforcement to prevent the next 9/11 or Oklahoma City and we leave it to them to figure out how.
I wouldnt, and I have more than a few friends that are cops. As a cop you take an oath, one thing in the oath is to defend The Constitution. It doesnt mean you get to interpret it. I know there a metric shit-ton amount of laws out there, and I dont expect a cop to know them all, but I do expect every cop to know the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

People will bemoan that we are letting the terrorists win and I say it isn't so. We still exercise freedom of speech. We have and exercise a right to disagree. Photographers disagree with the police and air their grievance in public. This is in part how our government works.
Holy smokes! That is not how our society should work! If we are allowed freedom of speech, than Mr Fussell never should have been told to cease his activities, his identification shouldnt have been demanded, nor should he have been detained.

People need to realize that the Bill of Right, The Constitution, is under attack daily. Not so much by foreign terrorists, as much as by domestic ones. Ones that use interpretation and obfuscation as weapons in the Avtomats and IEDs.

Negative! They didnt side with the ACLU, they obeyed the law.
 

Jon Bentz

New Member
Tommy et al - I certainly never meant to stir up this pot. As I've said at other times, we all need to engage brain before mouth ( me included ). I'm posting the following link to the ACLU web page dealing with their lawsuits relating to religious rights. If nothing else, it demonstrates that they defend constitutional rights regardless of denomination. I don't belong to or contribute to the ACLU so I don't have any other agenda than to set out facts. I promise to let this go now.

http://www.aclu.org/aclu-defense-religious-practice-and-expression
 

Eastern Railfan

Ferroequineologist
Tommy et al - I certainly never meant to stir up this pot. As I've said at other times, we all need to engage brain before mouth ( me included ). I'm posting the following link to the ACLU web page dealing with their lawsuits relating to religious rights. If nothing else, it demonstrates that they defend constitutional rights regardless of denomination. I don't belong to or contribute to the ACLU so I don't have any other agenda than to set out facts. I promise to let this go now.

http://www.aclu.org/aclu-defense-religious-practice-and-expression
Fair enough Jon. trainboy actually posted something similar to yours, albiet from a third-party website. It was info that I certainly was not aware of. Gives things a different perspective.
 

maersksealand3329

Son of a Conrail fan
MTA was clearly in the wrong, as I have had this happen to me twice in Toledo, Ohio. Once was by 2 rookies with the Toledo Police Department and one private security guard. the one with the 2 rookies it was simple- either shut down the bridge or arrest everyone who uses it. Cant make one an example without everyone getting the same treatment.

Ns Police did know who I was at that time. Met one NS Railroad officer back in june of 2005. Real nice professional guy. gave him my Id and said where I would be at that way if anything went down he knew I was up there. Made things a whole lot easy. There were times him and I talked and he would let me know what was coming in. I have his e-mail addy, but DO NOT ask me for it, as I cannot give it out. thats one thing I cannot do for a Ns officer that treated me quite well while I was trackside.

the private guard wanted to confiscate my gear. I whipped out the photographers rights I had on me and said that absent a COURT ORDER you cannot take anything. I then said if you do I will have you arrested for theft. Clearly had him beat as his own game.

the best thing is this-know what your rights are educate the ones that think that trampling on the constituion is what they want and fight back. In that situation-I clearly would have made a stand for my rights right then and there regardless. Arrest provides you with more evidence to use against them, possibly even a slam dunk for a lawyer after filing a civil suit.
 
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Pat

Photo Critiques Welcome
I don't intend this to be to political but Tower 55 makes a good argument.

It doesnt mean you get to interpret it. I know there a metric shit-ton amount of laws out there, and I dont expect a cop to know them all, but I do expect every cop to know the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
I agree that the police don’t get to interpret the Constitution. That duty falls to the judicial branch. Since the day the last signature was put on the Constitution it has had to be interpreted. This is a part of its strength and many believe the writers intended this to allow it flexibility to adapt to a future they couldn’t foresee. The police only enforce the law. As in the MTA case the police don't get to make laws that don't exist. The courts say photography is protected by the First Amendment. Like freedom of speech there are limits but in general it is protected.

Holy smokes! That is not how our society should work! If we are allowed freedom of speech, than Mr Fussell never should have been told to cease his activities, his identification shouldnt have been demanded, nor should he have been detained.
The right to disagree with the government (redress of grievances) is also protected by the First Amendment. The writers of the Constitution knew the government would overstep its powers and provided for the people to make grievances. Agreed Mr. Fussell shouldn’t have been told to cease his activity. There was no law or regulation in place prohibiting photography of MTA’s trains. A grievance was made and the government agreed it had overstepped its power. This is indeed in part how our government works and what makes it, even with its flaws, one of the best in the world.

As this thread has evolved I searched out the Patriot Act and see if it says anything about photography or not. There is lots covering money laundering, surveillance, defining what domestic terrorism is and so forth. Searching through it for photo, photograph and photography I didn’t find anything remotely relating to limits on photographing “critical infrastructure”.

I would encourage all of us to know what our rights are.

...and thanks Tower 55 for motivating me to look at the Constitution again.
 

Jon Bentz

New Member
Pat and everyone, here is a link the photographer's rights document. Every rail fan and aviation fan should read this and carry a copy.:D

http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

Another thing to remember is that certain areas like refineries, chemical plants, certain manufacturing facilities, port facilities, airports, etc,...have always been considered 'sensitive' areas. We have a paper plant in Everett that is located in the downtown area. It receives chlorine shipments in tank cars and the unloading area is visible from a major road. One day I stopped at the security gate and asked if I would be able to photograph a BNSF coal train that was stopped at an adjacent crossing. I was informed by the plant security guards that anyone taking photos was to be 'detained' and that local police and Homeland Security were to be called. Now this may have been a load of bull dookie or not. I didn't really want to find out. I had a nice conversation with the guard and left.

This story is merely an indication of the 'hidden traps' out there for folks who like to photograph trains.
 




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