Local Photographer Harassed by Police, Threatened with Arrest

Here are the images: Can you identify the car?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ringokamens/sets/72157605743789439/

Here is the report I filed:

After Pridefest, I started walking around town to find where my bus had been moved to, as Civic Center Station was shut down. I noticed that a street was blocked off and that they were doing a photo shoot for a car. I started taking pictures and was immediately confronted by members of the photo crew who told me I wasn't allowed to take pictures while walking by and that they had a permit to use the area. I moved to the end of the street to the sidewalk where they did not have jurisdiction and I continued to take pictures of the scene.

 

I was followed by members of the camera crew who kept blocking my shots. Soon, a plainclothes officer came to me and started being very confrontive towards me and invading my personal space, causing me to back away. She grabbed for my camera but I pulled it away before she could obtain it. I said "Don't touch my property!" She told me that I couldn't be there and that I had to move and that I was breaking the law and I quickly responded that as a citizen I had a right to be on public property and take pictures. She told me I had to go across to the other side of the street because this side was also, somehow, closed to the public. I asked her if she was a member of law enforcement and she said yes, which she had not told me prior to my asking. I asked for her card, which she refused to give me. I then asked for her number, which she also refused to give me. And I said, well then please provide evidence that you are with the police department. She yelled at me "Listen Kid, I have put myself on the line for this country, you haven't.". Then she told me to leave. I kept asking for her card and reminded her that she was required by law to give me her number. She yelled "Do you want me to go get my badge and uniform? I have them in the car" and I said that I only needed the number. She said "Here, have my number." and so I wrote it down and then she said "Write it all over, wherever you want." Her badge number was 10733

I crossed the street and continued taking pictures and less than a minute had passed before I was harassed by yet another member of the police department. He told me that I was on "city property" and not "public property" but I told him that the sidewalk was public property and that he was infringing on my rights. I asked if I was being detained and he said "No. If you don't leave though, I'll put cuffs on you", threatening me with arrest! I asked for his card, and he said no. I told him he was required by law to give it to me, and then he conceded to doing so. His name and badge number are:

David M. Bernardini

Number 89013

Technician

Traffic Operations/Highway/Hazmat Unit

 

I didn't want to get arrested, so I went back to Pridefest. I came back approximately 10 minutes later with three witnesses (who I did not get the contact information of but I told to call my parents if I got arrested) so that the officers could no longer harass or threaten to arrest me for "loitering". Employees of the photo shoot came over and said "Why are you back? You need to stop taking pictures. We can't do the shoot if you are taking pictures". And I said "I'm exercising my rights as a citizen to take pictures from public property." and they claimed they had privacy rights since they closed off the street. I corrected them and they said "Do you want me to call the officer over here" and I said "No, but I'm also not going to stop taking pictures. Your first officer was extremely rude to me and tried to take my property. I'm standing up for my rights here". By this time, they were getting extremely frustrated, saying things like "you're such a little shit", you suck, and "the parade is over there", a derogatory comment about my assumed sexuality. The woman was fairly tall (maybe an inch or two taller than me) and was a brunette. The man had a beard.

 

All of this occurred on Broadway and another cross street, which I do not remember but I believe it was 16th or 15th, right next to the Starbucks. I can show you the location if you want. It occurred on Sat Jun 21.

 

I await your reply,

***NAME REMOVED***

 

 

 

You're a jerk armed with a camera, so what?

You don't have the balls to sign your name under your story, after you name the officers involved, and you were there to interfere with the professional photo shoot. As a professional photographer, who does street photography, who has to put up with people like yourself who delibertly try to get in my shots, I would have requested your name and contact information so I could sue you for interfering with my photo shoot. I charge $1,500.00/ hour, plus expences which could have come up to 20K for them, easily!

I'm curious

How did he "interfere with the professional photo shoot?"  If he was using a flash, or getting in the pictures, sure.  How is taking a picture from a public place interfering? 

While you may be a professional photographer, you're not a lawyer, so your comments on suing are forgivably incorrect.  Try getting a lawyer to take that case (other than on retainer, we'll take money for anything you know), and you'll be laughed out of the office. 

And you're a overcharging jerk with no life, so what?

You don't have the balls to sign your name after your comment, after you try to tell him the same.  And me, as a professional photographer, who charges $1,000 an hour and probably does a much better job than you, would at least be kind enough to nicely ask for the person to leave.  This photographer is standing up for his rights.  He, in fact, did not interfere with their shoot.  If they had just let him take the pictures, then he would have continued on his jolly way and no interference would have been involved.  They obviously made it much harder than it had to be, and due to the fact that they harassed him, he could have sued them as well.  Sorry "Anonymous", but your points have no relevance.

SIGNED,

Brenden Gebhart

Responses

In Response To Anonymous:

 

Funny that you criticize me for trying to remain anonymous when you do the same. I keep my name out of the article because it's not needed and activists tend to get harassed, brutalized, etc. by cops -- especially those who criticize cops. I use Ringo Kamens as a peusdonym as one level of protection against this kind of activity. If there's any real reason I need to provide my full legal name, I will but you haven't provided one. Furthermore, Police are public officers and as such they are required by law to give me their information. As you'll recall from the report, the officers violated the law by refusing me that information. There are grounds for a suit against the DPD here, but I'm not going to do it simply because I have bigger fish to fry. And there's no ground to sue: "interference" is a risk you take when doing photography in public places. I was well within the law and my rights to take pictures from public property. What seems absurd to me is that they could cut off a street for a corporate shoot! I paid for that street with my taxes, the least I should be able to do is use it. And I was not interfering with the shoot or trying to get in the pictures, I was simply trying to take pictures of what was going on. Let me know where you're doing a photo shoot so I can come take pictures of it and then we can try out your legal strategy. I'll even make it easy for you and represent myself!

 

In Response to my new friend Brenden:
I appreciate you backing me up, nice to hear some encouraging words from another photographer who cares about our rights.

 

Comrade Ringo Kamens

David

David I too am a professioal photograper as well as having police experance.  It would be very good for the profession if you would file a complaint to the Police Department and the Civilian Review Board. This bully cop thing gets out of hand and if we the people control or at least assert the right of control over our civil servants there will be much less chance of violance from the cop next time. If she is left unchallanged she will get more badge heavy to the next photographer. Some bullys must be faced down for public safety.

Cordley Coit, Rocky Mountain Media Collective

The next guy

Being the next guy to wander by and snap a couple of pictures is never fun after these confrontations. Even if it's worth it for you to "make an issue," remember somebody else might walk by after you tease the dog.

"Being the next guy to wander

"Being the next guy to wander by and snap a couple of pictures is never fun after these confrontations."

 

Is an argument the government would use to quelch dissent.

priorities for denver police

Too bad the Denver Police don't put the same effort into enforcing the traffic laws in that vicinity that they put into safeguarding the "right" of a private company to photograph a fancy car on Broadway. I've witnessed a pedestrian fatally run over at 19th and Lincoln. Some crazy guy in a red porsche making a left turn from Lincoln at high speed came within a couple of inches of running over my toes while I was attempting to cross at 18th (with the ped signal in my favor). The cars in that area are completely out of control but the DPD apparently has more important things to do.

this is one b.a. mofo

fucks the police. its public property. its his camera. its a free nation. now will someone tell me why shouldnt he be allowed to take pictures please? because he has every right to. thank you.

ah ha ha!

You're my new favorite, Ringo! -crystal

Police officers are often

Police officers are often power hungry swine riddled with the burden of an incurable Napoleon complex. Props for standing your ground. I do think that your credibility is slightly compromised by using an anonymous name, but I understand your reasoning for doing so. I'll be interested to learn how this case unfolds.

Being a photographer myself

Being a photographer myself for a local news agency, I experienced threats and coercions from police officers especially when the photos taken were of police brutallity. They would literally force you to surrender your camera to them! Press people here are now a little aloof on taking photos of police arrests as the same thing might happen to them. Andrew of ABP http://www.amandabarkerphoto.ca