It's a sign of the times and a mark of shame against the character and honor of this country that not just every photographer, but every citizen, needs to read this....
I've come to believe that the only solution to this problem is that there must be penalties put in place for violators—that is, we need laws stating that any law enforcement official, or any person acting in a security-providing role, who illegally interferes with, threatens, impedes, arrests or detains any citizen for photographing legally in public, be punished with something such as suspension for ten days without pay for the first offense, thirty days without pay for the second offense, and firing for the third offense. Something like that.
Photographing in public is legal in a free country and public officials do not have the authority to systematically and persistently deprive citizens of rights clearly granted to them by their Constitution. Obviously, even systematically informing police departments about the rights of citizens to photograph isn't doing the job, even in the relatively rare instances where that's being done. Photographers are becoming an illegally persecuted class of people, for utterly no good reason.
Only if there are consequences for doing it will the persecution of photographers in public subside.
NOTE: This post is not an open invitation to discuss generally all the shortcomings of law enforcement, government, or the U.S. as an entity. Comments that overstep the boundaries of the present topic by too great a margin won't be posted. Thanks. —Yr. Friendly Ed. Mod.
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Jeroen Grobben: "At least Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier gets it right. fstoppers had this interesting article on their site on July 25 this year. Here's the link. She even went so far as to issue a directive (linked in the article) which instructs her officers on the rights of photographers and the public. Yay for her. Too bad the world is such a crazy place nowadays. Why can't we all just get along?? Yikes...Jeroen, way up north near Ardrossan, Alberta, Canada."
Response by MartinP: "I suppose I am the hundredth person to point it out, but the comment by Jeroen Grobben over a 'photographer friendly' statement by a senior police-officer omits that the statement was made as part of the settlement of a civil-rights lawsuit which was lost by the police department in question. The ACLU supported the case."