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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 15, 2012 8:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was Membership has its privileges. The next post in this blog is Father Angel is one sick SOB. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A weird encounter with the PoPo

Remember Dave Letterman's old routine, "May We See Your Photos, Please"? Well, apparently that shtick has some fans in the Portland police bureau. A dazed reader sent us this e-mail message last night:

I was walking around the South Auditorium area on my lunch hour with my camera. This is something I do all the time. I have a blog where I sometimes post pictures I take in downtown. I took three pictures at Keller Fountain, thinking I would pair them in my blog with some pictures I took back in the '70s when I was in high school, to show how the park had changed, and then went on my way heading south along the pedestrian path where I do a loop around Lovejoy Fountain before going back to work.

As I approached the Harrison Street crossing, I noticed two police watching me, and they approached me. They asked if I had been taking pictures at the fountain, which they explained was not a crime, but they were investigating a report of a suspicious person taking pictures. They asked if they could see my ID, which I handed over to one of the officers who walked away with it, presumably to check if I had a criminal record (I don't). The other officer asked if I would mind letting her see the pictures on my camera, which I handed over to her and showed her how to scroll through the pictures on the memory card. I think she looked at every picture.

She then handed it back to me showing me one that she thought would make a nice postcard. I think they apologized, but I was so shaken up by the experience I don't remember. I felt stupid for being so cooperative, but I wanted them to believe me that I wasn't taking kiddie porn or plotting a terrorist act.

Anybody know what the heck might have been going on there?

Comments (34)

Someone must have complained. If there were groups of young kids nearby a daycare worker light have been on hyper alert for opportunistic pervs. Sadly, that's the world we live in.

Here is a link to a discussion of the whole concept of being stopped for taking pictures in a public space:

Cops drinking Kool-aid. They don't know any better. There's a real need for Americans to repeal the phony anti-American "Patriot Act."

WikiLeaks Stirs Global Fears on Antiterrorist Software
Published: August 13, 2012

TrapWire is discussed in dozens of e-mails from Stratfor Global Intelligence, a private security firm in Austin, Tex., that were posted online last week by WikiLeaks. The e-mails were part of a large cache captured late last year and early this year by hackers associated with the loose-knit international collective called Anonymous, which gave the e-mails to WikiLeaks.

The WikiLeaks Web site has been shut down by unidentified hackers in recent days, leading to speculation that it might be retaliation for the e-mail leaks.

TrapWire was originally developed in 2004 by the Abraxas Corporation, which was founded by several former C.I.A. employees. It later spun off TrapWire, but the C.I.A. connection, along with the company’s vague but impressive descriptions of the program’s capabilities, appears to have fueled the furor on the Web that it was a sort of automated Big Brother.

TrapWire’s marketing materials say it uses video cameras and observations by security guards to develop a 10-point description of people near a potential terrorist target and an eight-point description of vehicles. It also records “potential surveillance activity, such as photographing, measuring and signaling,” combining in a TrapWire database “this human-entered data with information collected by sensors.”

Trapwire: It’s Not the Surveillance, It’s the Sleaze
By Noah ShachtmanEmail Author August 14, 2012 | 1:51 pm | Categories: Mercs, Spies, Secrecy and Surveillance

Wikileaks uncovers TrapWire surveillance: FAQ
Summary: Wikileaks' latest trove of leaked Stratfor emails details the breadth and potential impact of the TrapWire surveillance system. What is it, and are you affected?

That's just creepy! Stopped and questioned by the cops for taking pictures in and of a public place!? Really?!
So much for encouraging tourism in Portlandia!

I also thought of tourism.
Here is an interesting comment from the above link:
Sam D
Wayne, PA
'Tourists taking pictures are being told by police, security guards and sometimes other citizens, “Sorry, you can’t take a picture here.” When asked why, they say, “Well, don’t you remember 9/11?”'

To which the only answer is: "Well, don't you remember December 15, 1791? That's when the Bill of Rights was ratified."
Aug. 15, 2012 at 6:50 a.m.

Creeping police state is pretty much at our doorstep now. As soon as the next 9/11 comes along, you wont be able to go anywhere or do anything without permission.

It is more than vital for people to speak out and reclaim our liberties and restore the rule of law - which includes protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

I don't think this incident had any "Big brother" connotations. I am assuming the person taking the photos was male with this hypothesis... but evidently it is getting to be a major problem with perverts going to public parks and shooting photos of young women relaxing on their lunch break, or children playing all the while pretending to photograph surrounding buildings, ect. I just saw an expose about this very thing on TV last week. Sounds like the cops were pretty polite about the whole thing at least.

They can take pictures and video of us and that's ok. But we can't take pictures of them, or sometimes anyone.

Some time back I was going thru TSA security at PDX. A woman with children ahead of me paused to take a picture of her children going thru security. TSA officer yells, "No pictures... $10,000 fine!" or something to that effect. The woman of course put the camera away. My impression was that she just wanted a picture of her kids on their trip.

Just say no unless you have information you think would help stop or solve a crime.

I live near the fountain. There was at least one creepy guy who would sit there an leer at young kids. Cops are probably trying to stay ahead of things before a crime is committed.

1. Under most circumstances a person has the right to take photos.

2. Police have the right, indeed the duty, to inquire about anybody's activities if they believe public safety may be implicated.

3. 1 and 2 above are not mutually exclusive.

Why is this so difficult?

A lot of cluelessness going on.

My bet is that either a parent or a child care worker saw someone who appeared to be a little too interested in photographing children playing in the fountain and called the police. The above photo shows kids in the background, and if you were watching him/her taking pictures it would be difficult to tell if they zooming in for close up shots of the kids and so forth. I'd rather see the police being vigilant in pursuing pedophiles as opposed to being indifferent.

Please don't feed the trolls. Do not comply.

They have no right to search you. They did not have reports of suspicious photographers. The police state is attempting to indoctrinate you - get you used to accepting the prompt to see your papers, collect biometric data through the HIIDE system and build a nonexistent issue over photography (especially when you photograph their criminal activity).

It's always been thus. I can't really get too worked up about it, because as the good Father Angel has amply illustrated, there are a whole lot of kiddie pervs around, and vigilance is good.

Granted, it can be overdone - back when I was a long-haired kid, I periodically got stopped by local constabulary who inevitably said that I "matched the description" of someone they were seeking. Yeah, right.

But in this sort of case, it seems pretty reasonable. And it's not like he was bean-bagged or jumped on.

I don't see the big deal about this at all. There is actually a big problem with pedophile types hanging out near playgrounds, pools, and other areas kids frequent, and a common problem is them taking photos. It's sick and disgusting, and the police are just trying to protect kids and families from these sickos. Nothing "big brother" about it IMO.

Bullsh!t. BULLSH!T.
"that's the world we live in."
"police state is pretty much at our doorstep now."
"I don't think this incident had any 'Big brother' con ... evidently it is getting to be a major problem with perverts (since) I just saw ... this very thing on TV" [Uh, 'saw on TV' is NOT 'evidently' evidence. "NOT," because: definition of evidence and definition of on TV are NOT the same.]
"My bet is that either a parent or a child care worker saw someone" [yeah, well, your brain is making up guesses in the dark in order to avoid looking at the obvious thing (cop'tards) right in front of your nose in broad daylight. Refer to this: The "Interpreter" in Your Head Spins Stories to Make [your] Sense of the World ~~ Our left hemisphere tweaks 
the facts and allows us to feel like we’re 
in charge ~ by Michael S. Gazzaniga, From the Brain special issue, August 1, 2012
"police are just trying to protect kids and families from these sickos" [Look again, on the other hand, police ARE the sickos. So then whatcha got?]
"It's always been thus. .. a whole lot of kiddie pervs around" [any YOU know? personally? when you can't find one offhand it means there are NOT many, like Bigfoot and UFOs ... but 50percent of TV talks about them UFObigfootPervs all the time, and if you live in TV then, I suppose, you find you see them all the time, dozens a day, at-large everywhere you go, in your closet, under your bed, TERRIFYING! I'm sure, they hate us and you and all children for our freedoms. I mean, 'freedoms' ... to be cop-tarded. Drop and give 'em five. Better make it a twenty, it's for the Police Benevolent Assoc, y'know, 'for the children' ... and protection.]

Bullsh!t. BULLSH!T.

We don't have to take it. Actually, we don't 'take' it at all, we PAY for the convenience of being suspects, spied on, data-collected and catalogued, and superglued in the shmoos matrix. The power-pretenders who are quaking in their clay-feeted boots worrying that We The Folks understand their human inadequacy and WTF might see thru their bluff -- because of their 'tells' such as this sidewalk hassling, that's a 'tell' they are afraid and got nuthin -- 'they' always say "what're you gonna do about it?" Not you and not We The Folks are ever going to fix the demented brains and brokedown lives of cop'tards by 'dialogue' or 'educating' them, their psychopathy, to civil order. 'They hate us for our freedoms.'

Here is what We The Folks (WTF) CAN DO: Stop payment on their paychecks. Leave them to get a job; go get a civil job, productive constructive contributing participation in community commerce and civics.

HOW? Line Item veto of Homeland Security Dept
Line Item veto of Pentagon
Line Item veto of Centralized secret 'Intelligence'
Line Item veto of Portland cops
WTF can elect presidents, governors, and mayors who veto bad-act budget items; or stand up and be one (elected) yourself.

Unless we stop the catapult of propaganda a big gob of it is going to plop on you/us/everyone eventually and you're going to 'believe in' it.

Bullsh!t. BULLSH!T.

[Possible rejoinder when cop harasses "what are you doing?" Say, "Enjoying free days. How's your (cop) wife and (cop) kids? Do you (cop) live around here? etc..." And be approximately sincere in your interrogation, truly desire to know about the authentic person (cop). Often I've 'scratched the surface' and discovered there is an unfree, unhappy child inside the uniform just and simply wanting someone to listen to them, their life, their story. Let them talk out their feelings and prides. At the end, when you're out of time for their silly cop'tard HOOrah, then ask
"Why can't you get a real job?"]

Likely as not as with other cities of size, someone back at Police Headquarters was watching, overreacted and it was they who made the call.

Geez, you opened a floodgate...

I think the key phrase in the story was that the police "responded to a call of suspicious activity". Which turned out to be a big nothing.

I'm going to play dumb here...I really don't know the answer. Is it against the law to take pictures of little kids in public? Or are we at a point where we assume there must be something illegal if the police want your ID and to go thru your camera. Legal community?

Time for your nap, Tensk. Rest hard, looks like you need it.

Thou must buy a permit from your overlords.

Remember it is for the Chillren.

Years ago I used to enjoy taking photographs in Lone Fir Cemetery on quiet weekend mornings especially in the fall. One day a car pulled up and a woman asked me what I was doing. I just stared at her like why is this even your business. She told me she was the Metro groundskeeper for Lone Fir and that if I wanted to publish any of my photographs I would need to purchase a permit. That sounded insane to me but it appears that perhaps are public parks aren't so public after all.

This has become so much an irritant to photographers it has been the subject of numerous articles in professional journals and photography magazines/websites. Regardless of your perspective on the ACLU, it has one of the better and more concise summaries posted on on-line regarding your general rights (in the US) as a photographer. See:

They were looking for a perv. Sure. Is a perv who takes pictures and then goes home and gets off to them a dangerous person? Dangerous enough that all citizens need be subject to police interference?

I vote no. Reasonable minds could differ.

Could be connected to this....Dept. of Homeland Security asking people to report photographers to police.

If any pervs take pictures of my kids they better pray that the cops get to them before I do.

Usual Kevin how do you know if they are pervs? Maybe they just thinks kids are funny or do funny things.

"Cooperate"? Wrong, wrong, wrong! As citizens, we 're obligated to remind authority figures of our rights. Turning over the ID and camera reinforced the cops' misunderstanding of civil liberty. Given the situation around the fountain, I'm not quite ready to call it abuse. But still....
Get a copy of ACLU's card to put in your wallet. And read it.

I have to wonder what kind of parent brings their children downtown to play in a filthy dangerous water fountain surrounded by preverts. A sprinkler in the backyard was good enough for me growing up. Perhaps the Child Services Division needs to get involved investigating parental neglect and child endangerment. I see a lot of kids playing in those upper pools with no supervision and a 15ft drop on to concrete. That could be a serious liability issue for the city. In fact I think I saw an expose about that on TV.

Tom, it's Portland. Backyards big enough to accommodate a sprinkler are practically illegal.

The sprinklers have probably been outlawed as well. Fill up the wading pool with recycled bath and dish water perhaps?

What's wrong with this picture? Nothing and Everthing at the same time. "Paranoia strikes three, into your life it will flee theres a man with a camera over there telling you you got to beware."


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