US Bank Tower security challenges photographers on a public sidewalk

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=raxSlPxTYQA[/youtube]

Last Sunday a group of photographers were confronted by security outside of the US Bank Tower, who tried to stop them, citing 9/11. Even after conceding that the photographers were shooting from a public sidewalk, security continued to argue that they were totally in the right.

Blogger Discarted captured and added commentary to the video, above… more details at his site. (h/t LA Observed)

What do you think: are these photographers just looking for trouble and should stop shooting from public sidewalks when security asks? Is the security guards’ argument that they’re just doing their jobs legit, First Amendment be damned?

On a similar note, Anthony Citrano grumbles that security at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier told him to stop shooting as his camera appeared to be professional… although in this case, he was on private property.

3 Replies to “US Bank Tower security challenges photographers on a public sidewalk”

  1. I hope someone far more eloquent than I will turn up and put what I’m about to say into more concise language, but here goes:

    It seems clear that the photographers at the US Bank Tower were looking for trouble. If I understood correctly, they chose that building because others had trouble with security there in the past. Trouble was the point, but only to illustrate that citizens (in this case, photographers specifically) should not hesitate to challenge authority figures when those “authorities” are attempting to abridge the citizens’ rights.

    Sure, it can be argued that the security guards were simply doing their jobs as tasked by their superiors, but all that does is remove any accountability for their actions. It doesn’t change the fact that what they were doing was wrong.

    The photographers were engaged in a lawful activity in a public space. It may be easier to avoid conflict by backing down and acquiescing to the guards demands, but why should they when they’ve done nothing wrong? Those who will not stand up for their rights don’t deserve any. (Insert Franklin quote about exchanging liberty for security and deserving neither here.)

    I always hate when the ‘slippery slope’ argument is invoked, but really, where does it end? Can anyone with a badge or ‘security’ patch make up whatever rules they like just by adding “9/11,” “security,” or any other made up reason? Even when citizens are acting entirely within the law?

  2. I’m with Burns!. These photographers definitely were looking for trouble, but that doesn’t mean that they should stop shooting from the public sidewalks.

    The point where I depart from their actions is when they start to try to reason with the security guards. Regardless of whether these guys are “idiots,” the point is, the guards really don’t know what the actual law is. Here’s a bunch of rabble rousers with cameras telling them what the law is and here’s the manager telling them what the law is – who are they to believe? If I were the security guys, I’d think that the photographers were making up their “this is what the law is” mantra, just to bully back.

    The soldiers that carry out the wrongdoing are just as culpable as the ordering officer, but really, the way you change it is to go to the manager, flip open a copy of the relevant regulation or statute, and point to the section that allows you to take pictures on public sidewalks for private use. If that doesn’t get you anywhere, ask for the name and number of their legal counsel. That usually will do it. Arguing with rent a cops won’t get you very far – just good tv.

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