As a photographer it’s important that you know your rights when out shooting in public. They vary from locale to locale, so if you plan on travelling to a foreign country, be sure to read up on the protocol before you arrive. While your legal rights as a photographer may not always be granted, as you will see in the video below, being prepared should a problem arise can help you stay out of or get out of trouble:
While out working on his street photography, professional photographer Shawn Nee had a run-in with the Los Angeles Police Department that Nee feels was entirely unjust. As he was photographing a gentleman he has known for many years, he noticed the police responding to a call in a nearby apartment complex. He turned his attention to the officers and began shooting images from afar. The entire altercation was captured on film via a small body camera Nee had clipped to the strap of his backpack.
The police then turned their attention to Nee and approached him from behind a chain link fence which separated the apartment complex and the area where Nee was working. When Nee refused to answer some of the questions from the police officers, which, by law, he is not required to answer, the police became agitated and put the photographer in cuffs, citing he was interfering with a police investigation.
Nee is currently involved in a lawsuit in which he and two other photographers are plaintiffs against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The photographers are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
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