The Washington Post covers the ongoing inability of police to understand or acknowledge that people can almost always take pictures whenever they want:
A few weeks ago, on his way to work, Matt Urick stopped to snap a few pictures of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s headquarters. He thought the building was ugly but might make for an interesting photo. The uniformed officer who ran up to him didn’t agree. He told Urick he was not allowed to photograph federal buildings.
I’ve gotten this before, and my general reaction is to aggressively assert my rights. The photography involved has never been particularly important or informative, but that’s up to me to decide, not a police officer who doesn’t understand the law. Lots of people don’t react they way I do, of course, and for understandable reasons:
Urick wanted to tell the guard that there are pictures of the building on HUD’s Web site, that every angle of the building is visible in street views on Google Maps and that he was merely an amateur photographer, not a threat. But Urick kept all this to himself.
“A lot of these guys have guns and are enforcing laws they obviously don’t understand, and they are not to be reasoned with,” he said. After detaining Urick for a few minutes and conferring with a colleague on a radio, the officer let him go.
This continuing harassment by law enforcement officials is getting a lot of coverage. I hope it will sink in at some point. Until then, I suggest a quick review of your rights in the US. In the UK, check this out.