Taking Random Photos in Long Beach Can Put You in Handcuffs (Really)
Nice to see Jim McDonnell bringing some of the good ole' LAPD to his gig as chief of the Long Beach Police Department.
We remember the pre-Bratton days when L.A. cops were outright hostile to reporters and it took an act of congress to get some info for a story.
Things have changed for the better, but down in LBC McDonnell is keeping the anti-media flame alive.
He recently declared that ...
... detaining people who are snapping pictures "with no apparent esthetic value" is within department policy, according to the Long Beach Post.
This after Sander Roscoe Wolff, a contributor to Long Beach Post, was detained for taking photos of a North Long Beach refinery.
McDonnell told the publication:
If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery, it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.
Use a camera, go to jail?
It's nice of McDonnell to know the finer points of department policy, but perhaps he forgot a little something called the U.S. Constitution. You know, the law of the land, which last we checked, supersedes LBPD protocol. And, despite what some cops think, they don't get to decide who's media who isn't.
It seems that under this directive LBC cops will, besides determining if there's probably cause to ticket or arrest someone, become aesthetic police as well. We wonder if there's any gallery training involved. Maybe they get to hang out with Terry Richardson.
Anyway, it's fairly clear this policy is straight up wrong. We hope McDonnell corrects his mistake before he costs LBC taxpayers money, something the LAPD was used to, with a shortsighted, unconstitutional approach to policing.
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