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,"