ACLU To Sue Over Maryland Rules Against Taking Photos of Trains


Is it illegal to take photographs of trains in Maryland? Christopher Fussell of Oregon tells the Baltimore Sun it wasn’t until he came to Baltimore that he was detained for committing photography. The American Civil Liberties Union will sue over the conduct of transit police in ordering Fussell and another photographer to stop taking pictures. “Photography is expressive activity that is protected by the First Amendment,” said ACLU attorney David Rocah. “If you are legally present, you have a right to take photographs.”

Disputes over the right of photographers to take pictures in public places have become more frequent — and more contentious — since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which prompted police to challenge individuals who take photos or video of public infrastructure as potential security risks. Civil libertarians say police have been given no new powers to curb photography since 9/11. In many cases, they say, police are making up laws and rules on the spot and issuing orders they have no right to give. Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, said it’s an issue he deals with all the time. “I call it the Patriot Act gone wild,” he said. “For some reason, police see someone with a camera and they don’t want them to take pictures or want to assert their authority.”

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