LA County Sheriffs Hassle Photographer, Trample Constitution, Get Lauded by Bosses

Disturbing new information in the war on photography.

(Page 3 of 3)

The reason local law enforcement are looking for potential terrorist activity is thanks to the 2001 PATRIOT Act. The act expanded the powers of federal agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency to gather intelligence but also increased the powers of local beat cops to gather intelligence. Local police have been empowered to become the eyes and ears of the feds via suspicious activity reporting to fusion centers.

Levenson says that the reaction by local law enforcement agencies has generally gone too far.

"The 9/11 mentality - that there are terrorists everywhere - could intrude on everyone's constitutional rights," she says. "I don't think anyone wants to go in that direction and I don't even think it's effective law enforcement. You can end up getting so much information that most of it is not useful and you're missing the needle in the hay stack."

According to a Government Accountability Office report from March 2013, as of November 2012, more than 14,200 local law enforcement agencies in 46 states, plus the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories, had the ability to share suspicious activity reports with 74 fusion centers.

About 10 minutes.

Written and produced by Paul Detrick. Camera by Tracy Oppenheimer, Zach Weissmuller, Alex Manning and Detrick. Graphics and associate producing by Will Neff.

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  • John C. Randolph||

    Terrorists use bombs, not cameras. The cops don't have a leg to stand on.

    -jcr

  • sarcasmic||

    Terrorists often take pictures of places they plan to attack so they can study the layout, where the guards are, etc.

    So anyone taking a picture of anything must be treated a terrorist scouting out a target until they prove their innocence to the satisfaction of law enforcement.

  • Mainer2||

    and god help them if they make any furtive movements

  • Mark22||

    The question we need to be concerned with is the probability that someone is a terrorist given that they are taking a picture. That probability is essentially zero.

    The probability that someone is taking a picture given that they are a terrorist is irrelevant. It can be 100% and it still wouldn't justify any stops.

    By analogy, just because almost all gun homicides are committed by males doesn't mean that we have reasonable suspicion that every male is a gun toting homicidal maniac.

  • ||

    Since when? Name one terrorist plot that wasn't an FBI sting that involved photography.

  • Number 7||

    There are simply too many things in this article to comment on. The reports, the guidelines, the quotes. It is simply chilling.

  • VicRattlehead||

    From my youth i vaguely remember something about innocent until proven guilty in a court of law tried by a jury of your peers, but you live in Califarabia by choice dolt. Take your tax dollars and go to a more liberty friendly state

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Well, terrorists ARE everywhere. But they wear these distinctive blue uniforms, so its possible to avoid them.

    Oh, you meant NON-GOVERNMENTAL terrorists.

  • sarcasmic||

    For work I've had to take some anti-terrorist training, and the story is accurate.

    Anyone with a camera should be treated with suspicion because they could be scouting for an attack.
    Anyone writing things down should be treated with suspicion because they could be making observations to be used for planning an attack.
    Anyone loitering should be treated with suspicion because they could be watching for patters that could be exploited in an attack.
    Heck, everyone who does not work for the government should be treated with suspicion since they are a potential terrorist.

    Basically, the government has decided that every single one of us is a terrorist until we prove otherwise, and even then we're still to be treated with suspicion.

  • ||

    Terrorism is a felony. You can make a citizen's arrest for a felony in every state in the union except North Carolina.

    If photography is, in and of itself, sufficient evidence of terrorist activities to make an arrest, then a citizen could lawfully make a citizen's arrest of a cop because he has a body camera or a dash camera.

  • Tim||

    Clearly this is a case of "let's fuck with that guy, I don't like the way he looks".

  • juliajuli875||

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  • country bumpkin||

    1. Am I free to leave?
    2. If I am not free to leave, I am not answering any questions without my attorney present.
    3. No, I do not consent to any searches.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Hey Joe, did you see that? He took a swing at me..."

  • Harvard||

    The required equipment in this story is his body cam, hopefully downloading via Bambuser to the cloud.

  • petarmark4||

    like Walter explained I am taken by surprise that a single mom able to profit $5487 in four weeks on the internet. visit their website
    http://WWW.JOBS72.COM

  • Dave Krueger||

    In any confrontation with cops, while it might start as a legitimate investigation, the moment a cop feels his total authority is challenged, it immediately degenerates into a contest where the cop will try to teach the mere citizen a lesson in who's boss.

    From that moment forward, it has nothing to do with terrorist threats, fighting crime, preserving order, or ensuring public safety. It has to do with the fact that cops don't understand that they don't have unlimited authority. And the reason they don't understand that is because whenever they exercise powers they don't have, there are zero consequences.

    The one thing this isn't is some kind of challenge to a cop's capacity to do his job. He ceased doing his job the moment his actions became dictated by anger rather than the need to complete the simple job-related task of determining whether a crime was being committed.

  • Anvil||

    Like Cartman says: "Respect mah Authoritah"

  • Matthew Cline||

    "suggests he is more interested in litigation and making a name for himself" than following the rules.

    What are the rules for taking photographs in public?

  • Yerkov Markakis||

    Police aren't allowed to suspect anyone who looks to be of Mexican descent and who only speaks Spanish of being an illegal non-citizen.

    Using the same logic I guess the police are not allowed to be suspicious of someone wearing a burqa and taking photographs of the same highway; that would be racist.

  • casey5990||

    Google is paying 80$ per hour! Just work for few hours & spend more time with friends and family. Yesterday I bought a top of the range Lancia after having made $9458 this month. Its the most-financialy rewarding I've had. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out www.Pow6.com

  • Jim Walsh||

    Apparently the ghosts of Ed Davis and Darryl Gates continue to loom large in the Southland...

  • Exador||

    I'm not surprised that the cop did that; cops violate the 4th and 1st amendment all the time. What shocks me is that the IA report applauds it. Where do you go from there? Try to get the feds involved? Good luck with that.

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