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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wikileaks Truck Owner Arrested For Photographing Police; Told It Was Because He Was 'A Dick'

Wikileaks Truck Owner Arrested For Photographing Police; Told It Was Because He Was 'A Dick'

from the that's-not-how-this-works dept

There's a guy in NY, Clark Stoekley, who apparently owns a white panel van that he's painted with the Wikileaks logo to raise awareness of the plight of Bradley Manning (though he has no other connection to Manning or Wikileaks). There's a lot more info on the truck on his website. However, it appears that, unrelated to the truck, Stoekley has another issue to deal with: he was arrested for photographing police at Penn Station in Manhattan. He saw police in the station carrying semi-automatic weapons (an unfortunately common site in Penn Station), and he decided to photograph them with his phone. And from there, a familiar, if unfortunate, and almost certainly illegal incident ensued. As told by Pixiq:
Metropolitan Transit Authority police arrested a man for photographing them at Penn Station in New York City this afternoon – deleting his photo – before releasing him from a jail cell an hour later.

Clark Stoeckley was issued a summons charging him with “engaging in threatening behavior.”

“I was walking through Penn Station and I came across these MTA cops with semi-automatic weapons,” he said in a phone interview with Photography is Not a Crime.

“I stopped to take a photo and the cop came up to me and arrested me. I asked, ‘why am I being arrested?’

“’Because you’re a dick,’” the officer responded.
Of course, we've written tons of stories about police arresting the members of public for photographing or filming them while on duty. The MTA and New York may want to pay close attention to what happened up in Boston, where Simon Glik prevailed against the city of Boston and the Boston Police Department for violating his First and Fourth Amendment rights under very similar circumstances (though I don't even think they deleted the photos). In the end, the city of Boston had to pay Glik a large sum of money for violating his rights.

At what point will police finally learn that when they're in public, being photographed or video taped is fair game?