July 1st, 2010 by Alicia Calzada and tagged Access, first amendment, Legal, national press photographers association, photography, photojournalism, police, public transportation, rail, subway, train, transit
After contacting the chief of security to ensure that there were no regulations preventing photography in the metrorail, Ledford went to his local station, where his video footage shows the on-site officers attempting to stop him from photographing. Local police were called, he was blocked from entering the station (he had a ticket) and was told that he was not allowed to return.
NPPA Attorney Mickey Osterreicher sent letters to the various agencies and police departments involved in the incident explaining why this was an unconstitutional action. Included in Osterreicher’s letter were the following:
“Public photography/videography is a protected First Amendment right of expression limited by reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. The key word here (as in most cases) being â€œreasonable.â€
Additionally, any limitation on permitted photography should be governed by the amount of disruption such activity causes, such as blocking access to walkways for extended periods of time or interfering with MDT operations or personnel. It should not be based upon the personal opinions or prejudices of individuals or officers.”
NPPA has been involved in working with multiple transportation agencies on similar issues and we continue to keep an eye out to protect photographers rights. If you have an incident we should be aware of, please let us know at advocacy @ nppa.org or lawyer @ nppa.org