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Delete the Fuckin' Picture


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Delete the Fuckin' Picture
The above gem got yours truly detained by the NYPD...well I was never really detained... I guess I was free to go as long as I 'stayed right the fuck there.' I don't make it a point of messing with confused bearers of fire arms, so I waited. One thing I was not going to do was 'delete the fuckin' picture.'

Officer Dan: Did you just take a picture of me. I heard a click.

MT: Um...why?

Officer Dan: Because it's rude and you didn't ask my consent...that's why...

MT: Um...ok.

Officer Dan: Delete the Fuckin' Picture.


Officer Dan: I said delete the fuckin' picture.

MT: Um...[Your scaring me...visions of soap on a rope begin to emerge...oh well fuck it...] I can't.

Officer Dan: Why the fuck not?

MT: Principle

Officer Dan: What gives you the right to take pictures of people?

MT: Um...1st Amendment, but now that you say it like that, if they don't want it taken and I do it anyway, a low ethical standard I suppose...sorry I do feel kind of bad...I just find people really fascinating and like to share.

Officer Dan: Last chance...give me the fuckin' camera.

MT: Oh, definitely not.

Officer Dan: Come with me.

MT: Am I being arrested for something.

Officer Dan: Just come with me.

MT: [A Dimly lit back room with a single chair and a table full of rubber hoses comes to mind.] So I'm being detained?

Officer Dan: No.

MT: So I can walk away?

Officer Dan: Stay right the fuck there.

MT: So I am being detained?

[Officer Dan calls into his walkie talkie and then with one eye on me helps a few lost subway riders. He seems like a nice reasonable guy. I would have really liked to take a picture of these exchanges, but I respect his not wanting to get photographed at this point, that and I fear it might absolutely ignite a powder keg. I choose a different tactic...]

MT: You're really quite shouldn't be ashamed of having your picture taken.

Officer Dan: Shut the fuck up.

MT: Seriously...I was just complimenting...

Officer Dan: I said shut the fuck up.

[Luckily his back up arrives.]

Officer Don: What's going on here?

MT: I'm being detained for no reason.

Officer Don: You aren't being detained.

MT: What do you call the last 10 minutes?

Officer Don: I've been watching you. It hasn't been 10 minutes.

MT: Ok whatever, so I can go now?

Officer Don: Let me see the picture.

MT: [oh no, not you too?...can I get in a fetal position now?] I don't feel comfortable at this point showing you guys anything. I've got a lot of good shots from tonight on that card and I don't want anything to accidentally happen to them. That and I'm not required by law to do so.

Officer Don: I need to see the memory card to prove you weren't doing anything illegal.

MT: Am I doing anything illegal right now?

Officer Don: No...but you might have been doing something illegal earlier.

MT: How far back can you go?

Officer Don: Just let me see the memory card.

MT: I'm really, really not very comfortable with all this. Is it just me or does this feel like a detaining? It's been a very long time since my last one [2002? I think... for taking a picture of city hall in Tampa], so I'm hoping your expertise in the matter could clarify.

Officer Don: You aren't being detained.

MT: Ok...good.

Officer Don: Let's see some ID.

MT: But...

Officer Don: You are required by law to carry ID and you are required by law to present it when requested.

MT: ...really?

[He gives the ID to Officer Dan who starts transcribing my info]

Officer Don: Do you do this for a living?

MT: No, but a guy can dream.

Officer Don: If you had a business card it would prove you were serious about photography and not a terrorist.

MT: [I can't be both?, I wisely didn't say that.] OK...what harm could it's my card.

[Officer Don gives card to Officer Dan...suddenly I feel really weird about the police having my cell phone number...odd]

MT: Was it really true about showing the ID thing? Or did you just dupe me into me giving you all of my personal information?

Officer Don: It was in your best interests to comply.

MT: ...damn. [I picture a black minivan parked on my street waiting for me when I get home] Does this mean I'm going to be on some watch list now?

Officer Don: Hah...No.

MT: Oh...then why are you writing down my personal information?

Officer Don: I like to keep tabs on the people I meet down here.

MT: a list? It's nice to meet you too Officer Don.

Officer Don: Do you want your business card back?

MT: Sure, as I'm guessing you guys won't be contacting me for a print.

Officer Don: Word of careful who you take pictures of...some new yorkers might get pretty offended. [It took me 5 years of taking photos of new yorkers without incident to find out this out today from the cops...but so I just did...we parted ways]

Dude: Hey man, what were they hassling you for?

MT: I took a picture of a cop. I guess the ones that hug tourists work above ground. Hey, I see you do photography too. Cool.

Dude: Yes..I'm doing a project about the police objecting to legal photograhy in public spaces like the subway.

MT: Wow, what fantastic luck. So did you get some good shots of me with the cops?...I could really use them for this site

Dude: No man...I was kind of worried about getting hassled myself.

MT: Bummer.

Capain Softee isn't a fan of photography either.

Entertaining and educational video on police encounters.

UK's new photo law.

Photography is Not a Crime Blog
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