Busted! Photography is NOT a crime.
On October 23 a house behind A mountain exploded. Gone. Completely. Why? What happened? The entire community is speculating. I took this picture on the 23rd. Mike and I drove by to see the damage. We heard about it on the news. He painted many of the houses on this street so he wanted to see which one was involved. At the time, there were road blocks preventing access to the street in front of the house. The house is at the end of a road that loops around so it was fairly simple to block the roads without restricting access to other homes. News crews were camped out, taking pictures and interviewing residents.
Yesterday, Butterfly wanted to go for a ride. We had about an hour before we had to pick up the rest of the kids. Mike was working in the same area, so I told her we could drive by the house and then go see Daddy. The roads weren’t blocked and there wasn’t any traffic. I pulled over to the side of the road and took ONE picture. As I drove off, a police car came out of nowhere and pulled me over. Another car with a detective stopped by the van.
They were giving me the third degree about taking pictures, trying to intimidate me. They ran my license, looking for warrants. One of the officers said that I looked like a man because my hair is short and surely I could understand how a man in a van taking pictures would be suspicious, right? They were vaguely threatening, pointing out my broken light and the fact that my registration expired a few weeks ago. The van is still in Mike’s sister’s name because we were waiting for her to sign the title over. I told them I would be happy to take a ticket for the light/registration but that they couldn’t tell me not to take pictures. They told me not to be driving around in neighborhoods where I didn’t belong.
The detective called me a looky-loo. How funny is that? I believe it is a ‘technical’ term for someone that wants to be nosy?! I don’t know. I’m not up to date with all the ‘police lingo’. It may be true, but the last time I checked it wasn’t against the law to take pictures or to be curious. I didn’t get out of the van. I didn’t go on the crime scene. I didn’t sit there and stalk the investigators. Here is the offending photo and here are the pictures posted by the newspaper. I guess they haven’t heard of citizen journalism. It’s too bad I didn’t have the new Polaroid printer to make myself a press pass!
I wanted to take a picture of the officers, but Butterfly was scared and I didn’t want to make a bad situation worse. Echo, in the back seat, wasn’t scared at all. He was shaking his fist out the window chanting “Take my mom to JAIL! She took a PICTURE! Take my mom to JAIL! I’m FREEEEEEEEEEE!”
The bottom line is that photography is not a crime. Download and print this handy guide to the photographer’s rights.