Union Station Makes Photographer Erase Pictures

The Photo Police have struck again! According to Discarted (via L.A. Observed) a photog known as ShutterBuda was merrily snapping pictures inside L.A.'s highly photogenic Union Station when two Amtrak employees and an irate traveler ("I'm an ex-Guarian Angel!") told ShutterBuda to shut it down -- and delete the pictures in his camera. Just a reminder here: Union Station is a public space and not some "black" corner of the Dryden Flight Research Center in the Mojave.  A food chain of authority was quickly climbed: An Amtrak manager was called, who then called a security guard, who then called three sheriff's deputies.

Before this caper became even more absurd, ShutterBuda agreed to delete the images from his camera's memory, though he was able to recover them through a software program and post them on his site. The most unforgettable quote from the whole episode came from one of the deps, who advised ShutterBuda to always obey Amtrak suits "because they're ambassadors for the law."

Discarted says Amtrak has pulled these authoritarian stunts before and last month the National Press Photographers Association denounced the company's hamfisted harassment. In January, local photographer Anthony Citrano ran afoul of Pacific Park when he attempted to snap some nighttime pictures on the Santa Monica Pier, another public space suddenly deemed Top Secret.

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