This is a discussion on Illegal To Take Photo Of LEO In Tennessee? within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Originally Posted by ccw9mm Precedent for the right of people to peaceably record the public actions they witness: Robinson v. Fetterman , conviction overturned July, ...
Absolutely every Federal Employee from the guy who opens mail at IRS to the scientist at NASA is a Civil Servant. For years and years there was a Civil Service Commission which took care of personnel issues involving Federales.
Second, I'm unconvinced by the rational you have for not wanting to be photographed being a legal reason or justification for it being unlawful in any way.
We all have reasons for wanting our privacy and anonymity, and you guys don't deserve anything special in this regard.
When you work out in the public, you are observable by ordinary observation and you can be photographed just like anyone else.
If you worry that it compromises your security in under cover stuff, get a better disguise.
The bystander had every right to photo the cops beating the man, and eventually the officers were severely dealt with--if my memory is correct on this.
I'm sure the law varies a little from state to state, but we aren't the former Soviet Union yet, notwithstanding the fond wishes of a few
ultra-right posters here who support totalitarian ideas.
and yes it is arbitrary... here is the second and most important part of my first reply in this thread, just so we all understand where I'm coming from;
"Just blame Sixto"
M&P Doc- Just ask.
It sounds like, in many cases at least, the "subject" of the picture can't be determined until it's placed in context by publishing it in some form.
The same video of a cop directing traffic at an accident whilst dislodging a bit of unexpected snout debris could be published on youtube as "horrific wreck in front of my house" or "traffic cop on mining expedition in booger canal". In the first case the subject is clearly the accident while in the second it's just as clearly ridiculing the officer with the blocked nasal passage.
Now, what happens when the same video is posted to show the accident and no one has noticed Sixto... er... the unnamed officer with his finger in up to the second knuckle until someone points it out in comments and the gist of the publication turns from "look at the accident" to "make fun of the cop" - completely outside the control or intent of the creator/publisher of the video?
Wow. This makes my brain hurt. Obviously, the way pictures and video are disseminated nowadays is going to have to change how we look at such things.
I have to respectfully disagree with Sixto on the point of potential hazards to undercover work. If an officer has worked deep cover and is now working in the public eye, that officer should never work deep cover again. I believe that, once you go public, you sort of waive that ability. It is sort of like the infamous DEA Agent who shot himself doing the classroom presentation. He claimed in his lawsuit against DEA that the video of the incident would prevent him from working UC in the future. No...doing classroom presentations at public schools about DEA and allowing them to be videotaped will prevent you from doing UC work again.
On the other hand, I also don't like the idea of guys on raids wearing ski masks and balaclavas. If you are the UC on the case, you don't need to be in on the search/arrest warrant. Leave it to other officers. When you go in dressed like ninjas and hiding your face it tends to lead to problems (both real and perceived). If you work UC, leave the raids to patrol; ERT; non-UC guys in the unit; etc.
Nobody will ever accuse me of being overly-PC. I don't buy into all of the "over militarization" of law enforcement arguments. I don't have a problem with BDU's and polo shirts. But when you start kicking in doors wearing black hoods and masks, you start sliding down that slippery slope. Just my humble opinion...
Personally, if I'm doing my job in public and interacting with folks and you want to film me or take my picture, knock yourself out. I should be conducting myself in a professional manner. If I don't and I get caught on video, shame on me. I have been filmed before and even seen it on the national news. It did not cause me any great heartache. Unless you are actively interfering with my duties, creating a public safety hazard (i.e. - standing in the middle of the street to get your pictures), filming/photographing on private/government property, or filming/photographing some sort of sensitive security operation (witness/prisoner movement; visitor screening; etc), you are exercising a public right. Again, just my opinion.
"Skin that smokewagon!".
If I am in a public place picking my nose, and a store video security cam happens to catch it, they do have the right to post it on youtube or anywhere else.
And I have a right to be pissed; and maybe sue for them holding me up to ridicule; but I'd lose, 'cause I was picking my nose.
As an amateur photog I feel the need to share some resources with everyone reading this thread.
Here is a half-way decent article to introduce you to photographic rights
Here is a little bit more detail on photographic rights.
What's important to take away from this discussion is the importance of intent.
You can photograph children at the playground, even if they're not your children. But if you intend to use the photos for illegal purposes then the act of photographing them is illegal.
It's the same for anyone else, not just LEO's. For whatever reason some States felt the courts were so egregiously misinterpreting cases before them, that they had to write a law clarifying that LEO's have the same protections you and I as private citizens do.
They cannot be photographed when they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. And you cannot photograph them with illegal intent, such as using the photograph to libel or slander them.
"Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington