Police State USA

Discussion in 'News' started by mark_satola|1, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. It´s worse than you think. I´ve been to Long Beach. There is absolutely nothing of aesthetic value there so they´re detaining everyone.
  2. For a minute there, I thought this might have been posted because the original posting of the same story (here) was taken down by the police state. You know, like they do in actual police states.

    Sounds like the legislators (city council?) in Long Beach needs to come up with a different method to address problems they have with how people behave with cameras in their city. If this law is like most, its purpose is to be enforceable as needed, or to provide probable cause in case circumstances actually warrant it - not because anybody actually wants to lock people up for having bad taste or no skill in choosing photographic subject matter. The statute has to go.

    Now, if they have a way for the police to detect when someone is "Bracketing With Intent To Over-HDR Old Barns," then I'm all for it.
  3. SCL


    Hey Mark - they're tracking you, and they know where you live. Quick hide your cameras, or better yet send them to me for safekeeping :)
  4. A step in the right direction, if you ask me.

    I'd like them to do the same for photos posted here on photo.net and, then, if this experiment works well, for creators of music, art, movies, etc., that lack aesthetic value.

    I've attempted to make this judgement for myself, and just ignore such things, but this is so much work! And besides, I'm not really qualified to make the judgement. Better to have the police do it.
  5. What you guys don't realize is that you have to have an MFA to get accepted at the Long Beach Police Academy. :)
  6. Of course if you actually read the article and follow up - it is the police chief's interpretation of the Homeland Security directive regarding suspicious activity.
    Nothing in the article or the chief's response indicates that they (LBPD) are stopping every photographer in the city or are limiting photographers in any way. They are simply watching for what could be suspicious activity. Unfortunately taking photos of power plants, chemical plants, etc... is deemed suspicious due to the fact that if a terrorist was going to attack one, they'd probably want photos of it. The photographer in question was taking photos of a refinery which, whether you choice to believe it or not, could be a potential terrorist target. When the officer approached the photographer, things went in the wrong direction depending upon who's side you believe.
    The "detainment" in this case seems to have come from the officer asking to see ID and running it (If I read the story correctly). And now you have a county or city attorney involved in the case which just means that the flow of information has disappeared.
    Based on what is in the follow-up article, there is certainly reason to believe that neither side is being 100% truthful in the retelling of the incident. From the he didn't say he was a reporter to the I was never asked if I was a reporter. Um... you were asked what you are? Apparently that isn't close enough. And from the other side - he willing provided ID to the officer vs he had to be compelled to show ID.
    The problem, or at least part of it, seems to be the willingness for street photographers and "artists" to challenge police when they are confronted by them. My late father told me frequently when I was growing up to respect the badge and the person wearing it. To answer truthfully and honestly when stopped or questioned by officers. And above all to not try to jerk them around. I've been stopped for taking photos before, and I responded truthfully and honestly and I've never been "detained". A little dose of common sense goes a long way. All the police are trying to do is prevent the next 9/11. And if the police didn't question people taking photos of the refinery or power plant and that was the next target, who'd be the first and loudest to complain? Just saying...
    Keep in mind that these officers with people just like us, with families and friends, and they want to get home to them too.
  7. If you like this sort of thing, try wearing a keffiyeh كوفية‎ or a taqiyah طاقية‎ while you're shooting that oil refinery, probably even a yarmulke כִּיפָּה‎ would do.
    I'm guessing there will be a selective enforcement depending on ones appearance.
  8. Restrictions on photography in public places would be irrational even if maps.google did not exist. A lot of people's paychecks in the US depend on them looking as if they're making things safer from terrorsm.
  9. Mr. Haas....
    It's America, although a lot of people seem to have forgotten it. You have a right to your opinion, but I most strongly, and even violently, disagree with any defense of the type of official behavior that you are defending.
    I've lived a long life. I've watched the removal of everyday items and behaviors that I would have never thought would even be questioned when I was a young man. My time is short and I feel the America I am soon to leave behind is not the America I worked so hard to see would continue.
    Were I to properly respond to your post, I would be kicked off Photonet. A lot of men of what used to be called the Greatest Generation gave their arms, legs, eyesight, and lives so that you and I today would not be subject to such things as dropping our pants at the demand of a police person to see if we were circumsized. You think that possibility is absurd? Then you are naively ignorant and have not learned, or have perhaps not been told of the history of the diminuation of personal dignities and rights of an American.
    Most of my life, I have had a respect for the law, and still do, as such. On the other hand, I certainly have no respect for so many of our current laws and regulations. This type of thing generally causes people who've lost respect for many laws to lose respect for the law in general, and those who choose to enforce it.
    My cousin Jack was rifle-butted to death on the Bataan Death March. The least I can do to honor his memory is to refuse to go along with the type of situation the original poster was describing. I'll do jail time rather than give in. Let the governing body, who choses to defecate on my personal freedoms and dignity, pay for the 30 prescription medicines that are keeping me alive (if you can call it that).
    Be sure to include me in that group of people that you call the "problem" people who are unwilling to submit to unreasonable police authority. Better than that, put me first on the list. Neither wearing an expensive suit nor badge entitles anybody to respect. Respect is earned. Or at least that's the way it used to be in America.
    If the above sounds bitter, then you have taken it properly. My bitterness is not toward you per se. It is towards the social values that have undoubtedly been impressed upon you that would cause you to defend rolling over rather than standing tall. Yes, I understand, rolling over, and even smiling gratefully as one is punked (and I mean that in its original prison term), are in keeping with the current values of a sadly declining America.
    A. T. Burke
  10. National security state USA more like.
    Obviously if you have a huge, expansive, sprawling security apparatus, it has employ itself, and so the threats that cause in people a fear beyond their ordinary fears will never cease to appear.
    Is terrorism an ordinary fear? Not even in the 60s and 70s when terrorists had a work ethic. People forget what the world was like when terrorists weren't all supposed to be muslim. (Nowadays sll terrorists are Muslims, except the 94% that aren't.) Nowadays terrorists are too busy, bragging on Islamist sites how much they hate the US or in other bumbling acts of pre-terrorism, to even pick up the phone and call in a fake bomb threat.
    I fear drunk drivers.
    I fear I'm smoking too much.
    I fear my city's aging infrastructure.
    I fear doing the wrong thing one day and getting thrown into the maws of the legal system.
    I fear the irrational fear of terrorism.
    Realistically, after weighing the odds, I fear photographers more than I do terrorists. You can put an eye out with one of those zoom lenses.
  11. I live in Long Beach, CA. The police stopped and asked about why I was photographing the water reclaimation plant. I told them I wasn't, which was true. We talked about the coyotes I was photographing. They mumbled something about terrorists upon leaving.
    Another time I was out with my dog in a local large park, camera and tripod. I was eating my lunch under a tree when the police helicopter started to circle me. Eventually it blared at me to rise and walk east on a dirt road. Two police cars blocked the road on the perpendicular, officers behind the cars, guns drawn. To my left was the police firing range. An officer at the car directed me to put the rig on the ground. I asked if I could stand it up. He repeated to put it on the ground. I looked to my left and saw about 25 officers with shotguns and rifles aimed at me, serious expressions, lined up along the fence of the firing range. No more questions from me. Ended up prone on the ground, my dog tied off. Cuffed in the car, but no rights read. Eventually they let me go. One officer told me he had been on the other side of town when he got the call to come on. I met a lot of nice fellows, one who insisted I should be shooting Nikon.
    The reason they responded so was that they suspected that I was armed. I wasn't. Before I sat down to eat my lunch, a fellow I know casually walked by me with the pointer he was gun training. He fired off a charge, some device for that purpose, while throwing something for the dog to retrieve. Someone called in gun fire. No one was armed. I was of the two people in the area the gun sounds came from, and so it goes. A week later I ran into the fellow and his dog. He said he had been through the same treatment and ticketed for doing something unsafe in the park. He had been ticketed and the issue was resolved. It was after the issue was resolved that they then they came after me. Or maybe they didn't consider the issue resolved. And maybe by some policy they used all their force on me instead of the two or three officers that would have seemed more of a proportional response to me. I do think of the Long Beach police as somewhat militarized.
    So I would just say that you don't know why a police officer is approaching you. Maybe it is about the camera and what you are photographing, and maybe it isn't. The officer in the steet doesn't make policy. If I had a point about policy to make I wouldn't make it to some guy with a gun who is trying to do his job.
  12. Mr. Wood....
    In your example #1, I don't consider a sewer reclaimation plant something one would normally suspect of a dangerous terrorist target. Of course, I wasn't there. Perhaps you saw something I didn't at the plant, like perhaps its also being the local headquarters for congressmen and senators. With all the money they are making, including their recently raised salaries amongst rampant American poverty, you'd think they wouldn't need a free lunch to boot.
    In your example #2, you say a police helicopter circled you. I presume at least more than once around. With their high-quality, high-powered vision devices, they were able to see your camera on the tripod. If they, with all their high-tech gear, cannot determine the difference between a camera out in plain sight and a rifle, then they are incompetent men with guns, obviously either not just trying to do their job, or not trying to do it well. They deserve to be brought up short, individually. Of course, that is unless the local policy is to pretend a camera is a rifle and send out the Gestapo in full battle regalia as an exercise of your personal humility.
    Also in your second example, what you said seemed to imply they had already dealt with the situation to the point they had issued a ticket. For those officers to then run a company-sized military exercise on you is totally out of line, and I doubt the situation is within city policy. I again would have an issue with the guy with the gun because I wouldn't think he was just trying to do his job. As in my previous post, I would be willing to go to jail over this too. Citizens who do not stand tall lose their ability to stand at all. Those who are unwilling to take the risk do not deserve the rewards.
    I had a small percentage ownership in a Firestone store at the corner of Orange and Pacific Highway in Long Beach in the late '60s. I knew all about Long Beach police. At that time, I was a business owner and considered on the "right" side of the law. I could still recognize a bunch of wannabe Green Berets with Gestapo-like attitudes, despite their more benign police uniforms. It sounds like things have not changed much.
    Citizens like yourself, who think that type of behavior is okay, in fact, make it politically okay. History repeats itself, just not always in the same place.
    A. T. Burke
  13. A.T. Burke - Citizens like yourself, who think that type of behavior is okay, in fact, make it politically okay.​
    I don't think it okay. Policy to have a cop to ask me if I am photographing a water reclaimation plant, or similar structure: google maps has pictures that are useful enough, it is an unintelligent policy. But my argument is with the policy, not with the cop.
    EG 2, the helicopter circled me all for about ten minutes. In that police action, the camera turned out not to be the issue. At the time I couldn't think of anything other than the camera being the isse. But really the issue was that what sounded like a shot had been fired, called in to the police by an undercover officer (I know, I know) in the park, who knew it came from where two men with dogs had been. By the time the helicopter arrived I had forgotten all that. A guy gun training a dog didn't seem like much of a big deal.
    Also, they had indeed already determined that the shot sound didn't come from me, had ticketed the other man. At the point where they put me through the drill they knew or should have known there had been no gun. I don't think what they did was okay. But what was I to do at the time? After the fact, there were no witnesses for me to interview.
  14. google maps has pictures that are useful enough​
    Don't forget looking. Just looking.
    Overheard in a sleeper cell.
    Terrorist 1. What do you mean no photo? Abort abort abort!
    Terrorist 2. Oh man we were this close. How's a guy supposed to instill fear?
    Terrorist 1: It's hopeless.
    Terrorist 2: Let's just go home.
    Terrorist 1: I miss Minneapolis.
  15. Neither wearing an expensive suit nor badge entitles anybody to respect. Respect is earned. Or at least that's the way it used to be in America.​
    I agree entirely. Even when I was at school there were teachers who had my respect because they had earned it, not just because they were teachers. This is a principle I have continued throughout my life.
    I'm English, not American but the same thing applies here as far as I am concerned.

    My father used to comment on police officers, politicians and other officials: "they are our servants, not our masters".
  16. I lived in a country with a terrorist threat. The more laws to make me "safe" the less freedoms I HAD! Did it make a difference. No. Eventually the country got full democratic rights. The crime that then ensued made me happily leave,forever. The joke is that NEVER did those laws be so enforced as the States. The place we in the outside world looked up to has got lost in Homeland shuffle.
    What so many fought for is now buried under a pile of laws and mongrel dogs enforcing those laws.The President vowed changes..and added personnel to Home Security..
    Lived in Southern California for some years, Pre-9/11. Never harassed. Imagine today taking shots of the oil things near/in Long Beach? Bought a camera system there..
    Seeing the way cops acted in the "G-20 Protest" has caused me once again to re-affirm my belief in so called strong laws. Wanton disregard of human rights.
  17. "Cuffed in the car, but no rights read."​
    This is a common misperception: that the police must read you "your rights." In fact, there is no obligation of the police to read you what are more accurately referred to as Miranda Warnings unless triggered by a combination of to things: (1) you must be in custody (that is, a reasonable person in your position would believe they were not free to leave, and (2) you are being questioned beyond mere pedigree information. In legalize, Miranda is triggered when one is being subjected to "custodial interrogation." If you are not being interrogated (and being asked your name etc is not interrogation), the police are under no obligation to read you any rights if you are in custody. But even if there is custodial interrogation taking place, the only purpose of the Miranda Warnings is to insure the courtroom admissibility of any statements made. Failure to read the warnings simply results in any statements being suppressed and the prosecution cannot introduce them against you in court. There is no other remedy or consequence. The Miranda Warnings are a court-created method of helping to insure the voluntariness of statements--nothing more. They are not provided for by the US Constitution--they are created to assist the courts in determining compliance with the Constitution's voluntariness requirement for statements which has been read into the 5th Amendment.
    So, if you think that upon detention or arrest you are somehow legally entitled to some kind of reading of rights, you are completely wrong. That is not the law of the U.S. and never has been. Law enforcement need not tell you why they are arresting you, what the charges are, or anything else. That is what a speedy arraignment is for.
    Anecdotal instances of police conduct are difficult to evaluate. Often information provided is incomplete. For example, one might view the reaction to a "shots fired" report differently if the call came from an open field in the country versus a park next to an elementary school or government building versus along a route that the police are aware will be used by a foreign dignitary within minutes (granted, a more likely event in NYC than Laguna). Judging police response without having the information the police have is unfair; asking questions about police response is fair...AFTER the incident is over.
    I work in a building that is utterly unremarkable. It has no names on it other than the street number and signage for a drugstore and gym franchise inside. It is near nothing of any note and far from the city center. Yet, inside this bland building, is housed the US Dept of Taxation, the local FBI field office, the District Attorney's investigations division and major crimes divisions, and a newspaper's office, and an airline's back office, and the office of a US Congressman. If someone is standing outside videotaping or photographing the building, sitting in a van parked in a no standing zone outside for an extended period of time for no apparent purpose, or simply is standing and observing the building for a length of time with no evident purpose, you are darned right they will be approached and questioned. The building has been subject to bomb threats and anthrax scares in the past. In the days after 9/11 for example, we were evacuated twice in one week while the emergency services unit of the PD investigated threats. My point is that in the real world, there is a balance between individual freedoms and security. You are not free to falsely shout "fire" in a crowded theatre despite the 1st Amendments guarantee of freedom of expression. As with all rights, there are limits. Always have been. The question is what is a reasonable limit--not whether there ought to be limits at all.
  18. It appears that the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments have way too much time on their hands...
    One solution: lock the doors to the Library of Congress; seal all public libraries; and fire-bomb Google Earth servers. You never know who is using the Internet to view parts of the Long Beach real estate...and the trained-eye of a Long Beach police office knows what is best to view!
  19. What's silly about this is that I'm darn sure--if I were a terrorist--that I could take countless photographs of so-called "targets" without every being noticed or seen. And so could most who visit this site. Not to mention the vast number of photos that can be found by looking around the internet. I don't think authorities accomplish anything useful by harassing photographers whose only crime is being obvious. These paranoid policies are completely and utterly stupid. If a terrorist wants a photo of a target, he's going to have it. We might as well accept that fact and concentrate on other approaches to security that might actually achieve a meaningful result.
  20. Mr. Smith....
    Your father certainly spoke in the right spirit. It is people's recognition of that and their determination to keep it so, that keeps it so. When people don't see it and/or are not determined to, nor will make the sacrifices necessary, to keep it so, it is not kept so.
    Mr. Gold....
    Aha! You've already been through that. I know it was tough, but you are better for it. At least, it assures that you will not dwell in ignorance and bliss. There's nothing like being cycled through that which you described to make you a firm believer that it can and will happen.
    Sadly, I think it is America's turn to learn the hard way. I don't see the current trend reversing in the near future. Eventually, the country can take two courses: stay buckled under for centuries; or real (not a pretend) revolution. Too bad its citizens can't save themselves being limited to those two choices. Unfortunately, ambition, self reliance, willingness to sacrifice, and honor are no longer even the stated, let alone kept, values that once made us a country on the way up, rather than on the way down.
    Mr. Wood....
    I took the inference that you thought it was okay not to make the point over policy with the guy with the gun. My point was, that the guy with the gun was making the policy. With the additional information you provided, I am even more sure the guy(s) with the gun(s) did make it a policy to put you through the hoops. The undercover officer knew it wasn't you. You also state they put you through the drill when they know the sound didn't come from you. They decided to do you harm for their own reasons, not in defense of society. I consider that Gestapo-like behavior, and, if we condone it and/or do not resist is, we will find ourselves in a Nazi-like society.
    Even when the rules are wrong, sometimes they are enforced without any intention of meeting the tenets of wrong rules. They are enforced and/or abused for the delight of the person able to create the abuse. Look at the scenario of late1930s Germany. Police had what I believe is a wrongful obligation, but nevertheless an obligation, to check the citizenry in order to "ferret out Jews." Do you think all the Nazi pendejos were always simply attempting to carry out orders, or did they enjoy the power of making people drop their trousers and expose themselves on a public street? Furthermore, like the policies to question photographers with visible cameras who are photographing buildings, that does not accomplish their goal, neither did the genital check. Although not as common in Europe as it was in the U.S., many were circumsized for reasons other than Jewish law or ritual. About half the population were women. Women have no penises to check for circumcision. Most of the Jews who were not already in camps had been spotted and were simply awaiting available transportation. Now, how many new Jews were they likely to find by having people drop their pants? It simply wasn't a very effective way to accomplish an evil end. What it accomplished was cowing the non-Jewish population into accepting what should have been unacceptable Nazi policies which went far beyond exterminating the Jews, already bad enough in itself.
    My point is if we citizens don't stand up and are willing to say "No," when asked to drop our pants, we are more likely, as a nation, to become more complacent, cowed, and accepting of that which my generation would never have put up with. Unfortunately, we're heading in that direction. The sin I am committing against my current government is I am willing to say "No" to the direction which those in power want to take our country. They're going to have to pull my pants off and book me. I realize there is a substantial chance that will actually happen within the short time I have left on earth. I also realize with my age and infirmity I cannot put up much of a fight and will, in fact, be overpowered. But, they're still going to have to do it and I'm not going to make it easy for them.
    You ask "what should you have done at the time?" Although, I've answered it for me, I can't answer that for you. Both of us will have to live with the results. I have the advantage. With what I've lived through, they can't do to me anything that hasn't been done before. I also have the advantage they don't have that long to do it to me. So when I say we both have to live with the results, my results are short term. Yours have the potential to be very long term. Put another way, my actions or inactions (and it ain't gonna be "inactions") will affect you a lot more than your actions or inactions will affect me, simply because of the difference in time we have left to be affected by them.
    So, the question goes back to you. What do you think you should have done, considering how you want your future life to be? It's your choice. Tag, you're it.
    A. T. Burke
  21. Never mind photographers - LAPD and Chase Bank have taken it to the next level:
  22. England is MUCH worse.
  23. England is MUCH worse.​
    Care to show some (real) examples?

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