Tuesday, August 01, 2006

visit from the police

I take photos....of everything.

Yesterday, a police detective came to my home, at dinnertime. He wanted to know if we owned a Parker boat. Yes, we do. He wanted to know if we had been taking photos of the Fire Island Ferries. Of course we do; we take photos of everything. Someone "reported us".

He came into our home. He wanted to see the photos. He also wanted to know if we sold those photos to anyone. (I wish!) He wanted to see the boat too.

I was very uncomfortable with the whole situation. My husband became assertive and insisted that we had rights, rights to photography anything in public. The detective said there were "new laws" against taking photos of public transportation, but he could not quote those "new laws". My husband informed him that there were no new laws. I just listened, wanting him to leave. I thought that the more we encouraged discussion, the longer he would stay.

We showed him the photos on the computer. After all, we had nothing to hide, but I felt violated. My computer, my photos and this strange man without a search warrant, coming into my home, my world, my space. We could have refused to show him the photos, I guess, but as I said, we had nothing to hide. We are law abiding citizens.

After he left, I felt sad. My husband was angry. What is happening here? Can an officer of the state just come into your home with the possible suspicion that there are terrorists present or activities? What would he have done if we were of Middle Eastern background or just dark-skinned?

I'm still processing what happened, but I thought I would share this with you.


Florian H. said...

Hi Alida!

This story is very astonishing, this seems a little bit like a police state. I although had some prejudices before I went to the US, but I was very surprised that every police man, I asked some questions about NY, was very smiling. However, I hope this was a exception and you aren't unsettled. I'm sure that I also took some photos of ferries, buses or of the metro when I was in NY, so, don't panic, we are all guilty :-D

Greetings from Germany


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, more than likely under the Patriot Act photos of bridges and ferry boats are not allowed. All those who wanted this Act now have to deal with it.Ben Franklyn comes to mind.."If you are willing to give up essential liberties for a little security then you deserve neither security or liberty."The fear mongers won ans now we see teh effects of how easy it is to take away civil rights.

Anonymous said...

There is no such law.

Photographs are allowed.
This is America. Still.

You did not have to let the
police man into your house,
or even speak to him except to
say "this is my lawyers number".
I am not a lawyer, not advertising...

Get one you can call, a family lawyer, it makes you feel much better. Put him/her (maybe a her for you) on speed dial and hand the phone to the cop. That's
what they are for. Let the system
talk to the system. Not you. You are too delicate.

Your pictures are stunning. Thanks.