The trend of photographers being harassed by Police for taking pictures of public buildings continues. Word from fellow blogger Etan over at Too Much Sexy is that he’s become the latest person to be stopped and questioned by police for the supposed crime of taking pics of various things around his college campus:
I was declared a terrorist, today. As I was walking around campus photographing art, buildings, cars, people, I was stopped by police.
The policemen asked who I was, what I was doing, why I was taking photographs, where I lived, all the good stuff. When I told them I was a student taking photographs for my own personal enjoyment (a concept they couldn’t comprehend) I was told this is illegal under USA PATRIOT act.
I was greatly confused by this statement. My understanding is that I am legally allowed to take photographs of public buildings. I informed them of this and they were taken aback. They then went on to tell me that NJIT is not a public institution. They told me that it is publicly funded but not a public school. This is a blatant lie. If you visit NJIT’s website you see very clearly, “A Public Research University.”
Stuff like this floors me and makes me want to wander around town taking pictures of public buildings just out of spite. The fact that it’s happened to a blogger I’ve talked with quite a bit makes it hit much closer to home. Bush keeps claiming he’s made America safer, but only from people who might take pictures of City Hall it would seem. And people wonder why I laugh when they tell me the Bush administration hasn’t damaged our civil liberties.