Phoenix Man Arrested for Photographing Sandra Day O'Connor…Courthouse Building


Via the website Photography is Not a Crime (PINAC), which documents law enforcement abuses related to taking pictures and videos, comes the story of Raymond Michael Rodden, a 33-year-old man who made the bad decision to photograph some public buildings late at night last week.

Last Thursday at 3 a.m., Rodden was unable to sleep and drove to downtown Phoenix in his boss' car (he was staying with the guy and had permission) and snapped some shots of government buildings. Then, he told PINAC

He noticed he was being followed by a Phoenix police patrol car. Before he knew it, he was being followed by an additional two marked cars as well as an unmarked car, not to mention a cop on foot.

"I kept walking around because I knew if I got into my car, they would pull me over," he said.

They kept trying to talk to him but he kept asking if he was being detained and they said no, so he kept walking and they kept following, He walked around for more than an hour as the cops kept following, waiting for him to slip up.

That was when he walked into an alleyway, thinking he was not breaking any law.

Little did he know that Phoenix Municipal Code 36-61 states that "no person shall use an alley within the city as a thoroughfare except authorized emergency vehicles."

Rodden was held briefly on an invalid out-of-state warrant and released after police could find no links to terrorist groups or anything else, though the cops kept his cameras and computer. He was fired from his job by his boss.

Charming line: "The most radical thing I do is read Photography is Not a Crime and Cop Block."

For more details on the case, go here.

Hat tip: Twitter feed of @heyitsraymond.

For Reason's archive on the war on photography, go here.

Watch the infuriating 2011 Reason TV doc, "The Government's War on Cameras,"

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  1. “That’s some fine police work there, Lou.”

    Three patrol cars, one ummarked, and a cop on foot? Sounds like the Phoenix is ripe for a 75% reduction in funding if they have this much excess capacity.

    1. I am not responding to you merely as a means of getting my comment near the top of the pile.

      1. Nothing, nothing, nothing … and then *this*?!

  2. I’m sure that the policemen will soon be charged with theft, destruction of property, and false imprisonment. Right? Right?

  3. ATFPAPIC, this looks like good police work because cops who aren’t wrong a lot when they detain civilians aren’t working hard enough.

    1. not enough hth


  4. “He was fired from his job by his boss.”

    I am sad to hear that, I hope someone hears about this case and hires him soon. Sounds like he has a talent for photography. Anyone need to hire a photographer?

  5. I wish I was doing contingency fee litigation in AZ – I’d make a big buck off the civil suit this guy is going to win or settle.

  6. Well, thank god we’ve made everyone a criminal. Can’t have people wondering around not breaking laws. It’d be pure chaos.

    1. What do you mean “not breaking laws?” He used an alleyway despite a local ordinance prohibiting from doing so. A fucking alleyway. Where the fuck do you think we are, Somalia? What kind of society do you want? One where men who are doing nothing wrong have a right to evade the police by entering an alleyway?

      You’re a fucking animal.

      1. *squints at mlg, removes and polishes monicle*

        I believe I’ve just been out snarked. I don’t like it all. Not one bit. Good day to you sir.

        *turns and stalks away in his leather-soled italian loafers*

        1. *tips bowler hat*

          And good day to you, sir.

  7. Oh, thanks Reason. It’s 8:30 Monday morning, I needed a reason to start my week pissed off.

    I have a friend who works for the Phoenix PD (not as an officer). Every time I talk (in other forums that he happens to be a part of) about something like this, he goes full Dunphy. I don’t have all the facts, I just hate cops and I’m twisting facts, whatever. I should probably post this to him, just to piss him off.


  8. Why was the guy fired? Bad publicity? Did someone contact his boss?

    1. Probably missed work and was unable to call in.

      1. Yeah. I’m sure the boss was upset to wake up and find that his car and his employee were missing. If the guy was staying at his boss’ house and borrowing his boss’ car maybe they had a big sales call or conference or something to attend the next day.

        1. Not to mention that the car had been completely destroyed while looking for bombs that his terrorist employee had planted.

          1. Bombs, money, contraband. What difference, at this point, does it make?

    1. Pretty sure that Chuck D has just fallen one step in esteem due to wearing a Jets hat. That shit is just inexcusable.

  9. “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”

    1. But laws are magical incantations by Top. Men. that compel men to act in accordance to the will of their masters. I know because Rachel Maddow told me that nothing is more sacred than new laws. The more new laws our Top. Men. enact, the more pure society will be.

  10. Little did he know that Phoenix Municipal Code 36-61 states that “no person shall use an alley within the city as a thoroughfare except authorized emergency vehicles.”

    Seems like a long way to go for that. They should have just arrested him for breach of the peace or, better still, resisting arrest.

    1. so he would have been OK if he’d gone into the alley, and then stopped, turned, and did a West Side Story song.

  11. Phoenix Municipal Code 36-61 states that “no person shall use an alley within the city as a thoroughfare except authorized emergency vehicles.”

    Anybody know how pervasive this little snippet is?

    If most municipalities ban alley traffic we gots ourselves *lots* of criminals.

    1. I think that’s the point.

    2. He is lucky he didn’t have his skull caved in with batons or get run over for attempting to evade the police. They wouldn’t even have had to confiscate anyone’s cell phone footage…

  12. Seriously though, what did this guy expect? You go walking around at 3AM and you’ll be lucky if you do not attract the attention of the police. Once you have their attention, things are going to go badly because that’s what cops do. I guess dude’s folks never told him that nothing good happens after midnight.

    1. My folks told me that. Then they reminded me that everything happens after midnight so I should not worry about it too much.

    2. I guess dude’s folks never told him that nothing good happens after midnight.

      Your parents lied.

      1. You mean mosquitoes don’t take the blood that they suck from you and feed it to their babies in nests in trees?

  13. So, walking down an alley is probably cause for “using an alley as a thoroughfar” in Phoenix? Sounds like they’ve perfected the art of “because fuck you, that’s why”.

    1. Sounds like they’ve perfected the art of “because fuck you, that’s why”.

      This is the land of Sheriff Joe Apaio, after all.

  14. At least they didn’t get violent.

    BALTIMORE (CN) – Baltimore police beat up a woman and smashed her camera for filming them beating up a man, telling her: “You want to film something bitch? Film this!” the woman claims in court.

  15. Another terror plot thwarted.

  16. The lesson I’m learning here is: Unless you’re in a small community where everybody knows you, don’t do anything unusual in public. It could be taking pix of gov’t bldgs. at 3 AM, it could be leaving out signs made of lights with no obvious message, it could just be walking around with unusual skin color or clothing for the area and no obvious business. The police will be compelled to check you out, and then they’ll be compelled to find something wrong with you to prove they weren’t wasting taxpayer money doing something stupid by checking you out.

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