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Arrested Photography
Posted By: 45 Mike, 10-19-2014, 11:15 AM

Yes, at the Spokane Airway Heights Walmart, I was arrested, because of a complaint from Walmart that I was taking pictures in their parking lot.

On the day of October 13th, I drove my mother into Spokane for a Dr. appt. After her visit, we stopped at the Airway Heights Walmart for some grocery items.

I stayed outside, with the car, while mom went inside for her shopping. I snapped a picture of this woman, outside.





She noticed that I had taken her picture and demanded that I delete that photo. I declined.

She then went inside the store and complained to the store management, who then called the police.

As I was loading the groceries into the car, the police showed up. They disarmed me, took my camera, and looked at the pictures I had taken.







The police officer explained to me that it was legal for me to take pictures of people in public, however it would not be legal for me to take upskirt pictures. As I had no upskirt pictures on my camera, they returned my camera, my pistol, and allowed me to leave.

Some may disclaim that I was arrested, however the legal definition of an arrest is an official that interrupts a citizen under color of authority.
The truth is that if a police officer interrupts a citizen from going about legal activities, for the purpose of ascertaining criminal culpability, that citizen has been arrested.

I doubt that either the Walmart store employees, management, or the police officers involved were aware of the utter irony of the situation, perhaps this view will clarify the absurdity of the entire matter.




Last edited by 45 Mike; 10-22-2014 at 03:59 PM. Reason: photo edit
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10-19-2014, 03:50 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dewman Quote
I've learned to be very cautious when taking photos of people. Before I take a photo of anyone in public (unless I'm a long way off with a 300mm+ lens!) I ALWAYS ask if they'd mind. Most of the time, they'll give me permission, sometimes not.... but I feel obligated to ask first. Not long ago, I was in a public park and strolled by a softball game. Having my camera with me, I snapped a couple of shots of one of the players running the bases. It just happened to be a woman.... and NOT a particularly handsome one, at that! One of the other team members, a BIG guy, came over and told me he was going to put my camera where the sun didn't shine if I didn't cease and desist immediately! Seeing as how I'm an old, broken-down codger nearly 70 years old, I said, "no problem," and left. My point is, if my presence and my activities annoy or alarm someone, I'll leave. Simple as that. Life is too short to test someone's resolve on an issue that they feel very strongly about and has no real meaning to me, one way or another. If it had been MY daughter you were taking pictures of, I probably would have approached you and questioned your reason and intent. As you said, it's hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys.


"A young man knows the rules, the old man knows the exceptions."


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I appreciate your expression of the realities presented to photographers.

The woman I photographed asked me if I had taken her picture, and I said, yes.
She asked me why, and I said, because I wanted to.
She told me to delete her picture, and I declined.
She then told me not to take more pictures of her, and I agreed, immediately and vehemently.
I would not and did not continue to take pictures of her after she told me not to.

Yes, telling the good guys from the bad guys is a task, best left to those who are brave at heart and trained by experience.

I appreciate the fear, unreasonable as it is, that some stranger is taking pictures for some nefarious purpose.
However I also recognize how unreasonable and absurd the notion is that some stranger, in the open, OBVIOUSLY taking pictures, without any attempt of subterfuge or evasion or misdirection is doing anything underhanded or evil. LOL.
And again, the real absurdity is any objection to being photographed in a parking lot surrounded by cameras and clearly posted that they are in use.

Yep, really??

10-19-2014, 05:00 PM - 2 Likes   #17
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I think I would have deleted that photo before she even asked me to...
10-19-2014, 06:36 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
You have the right to remain silent... anything you say will be used against you in a court of law.

I am not a lawyer but do those words we all know so well only apply after you have been arrested or always? I was under the impression that it is always and when you are read your Miranda Warning it is just a reminder what rights you have. Therefore you don't have to answer any interrogation questions or even speak to a police officer.
Yes and no. Yes, Your Miranda rights do exist even before and during any questioning. No you do not have the right not to cooperate with the police and answer basic questions. The officer has a Duty to ascertain and verify your identity. By not speaking to an officer at all, or cooperating with the basic investigation he must conduct, you can be arrested and detained until your identity has been established and verified. However they cannot stop you on the street for no reason just to search you, or find out who you are. They must have a valid reason that includes an investigation or complaint.

Unless there was a complaint that you are taking inappropriate/explicit pictures of someone, I don't believe the officer had a right to inspect The photos that you took, Unless you voluntarily allow them to do so. In fact, the officer should have ascertained whether you were asked to stop taking pictures or leave the property first.

Having said that, once they found out that you are carrying a weapon, they have the right to inspect your license and make sure you have a right to carry that weapon. Temporarily confiscating that weapon is to ensure their safety and the safety of others. Too many officers have gotten injured or killed in similar situations. And by the way just be cause you have a license to carry such a weapon, doesn't mean that you're a good guy. It simply means you have passed all the test and certification needed. As you said yourself, there are a lot of bad Police officers out there. In each of them carry a gun.

I understand the reason for carrying a weapon. Locally, we have had several incidences where people have gotten injured or killed for absolutely no reason. In fact it has not been too long ago that a routine traffic stop resulted in a officer getting killed from somebody carrying an assault rifle. The kid that shot the officer and his father who was driving the car that was stopped were found in a Walmart parking lot. After a brief chase that included the father trying to run over a couple of officers the two were killed. To my knowledge, in that County, all traffic stops on the expressway Now Include two police cars, One officer writing the ticket, and the other standing guard with an AK-47 assault rifle. I have not heard whether they have change that policy are not.

I hope the officer explained the law to both the lady in question and to the store manager. Taking pictures would only be illegal if A, There was a sign that Explicitly forbid you from taking pictures on the property or someone from the store asked you to stop taking pictures first. Outside of that you are not breaking the law.

I have a great idea, everybody should turn in their guns and in exchange should receive a Pentax camera. Cameras for guns. what do you think.
10-19-2014, 06:38 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I think I would have deleted that photo before she even asked me to...
If I had looked at that before snapping the shutter, I would have passed on the shot.
As it was, I took it, so I kept it. Bad pictures are a learning experience!

---------- Post added 10-19-14 at 18:50 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by promacjoe Quote
...
Unless there was a complaint that you are taking inappropriate/explicit pictures of someone, I don't believe the officer had a right to inspect The photos that you took, Unless you voluntarily allow them to do so. In fact, the officer should have ascertained whether you were asked to stop taking pictures or leave the property first.
...
I did volunteer to have them look at the pictures that I took. That was the evidence of my innocence that I provided.

QuoteOriginally posted by promacjoe Quote
...
And by the way just be cause you have a license to carry such a weapon, doesn't mean that you're a good guy. It simply means you have passed all the test and certification needed.
...
Yep, having a permit in many states means no more than the fact that the state cannot find any legal reason to deny the permit.
In my own particular case, however, I am a good guy. I know I am a good guy. I have awards and commendations extolling my virtues as a good guy.

QuoteOriginally posted by promacjoe Quote
I have a great idea, everybody should turn in their guns and in exchange should receive a Pentax camera. Cameras for guns. what do you think.
Excellent idea!! As soon as all the criminals turn in ALL their weapons and discontinue their wicked ways, I have a gun I would trade for a Pentax K-3!!!

10-20-2014, 04:18 AM - 4 Likes   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by 45 Mike Quote
I REALLY don't care how many courts disagree with me.

Yep... that about sums it up. You have decided that you will set yourself up on what is legal/illegal, appropriate/inappropriate, safe/unsafe and more. You were not on public property, you should have deleted the photo when asked, and you were NOT arrested. Playing semantic games does not make you right, legally. Yes, you were "arrested" according to Webster. No, you were not "arrested" according to those courts you are willing to ignore.

The gun is a separate issue. I'm sorry you live your life in such fear that you feel you have to have a concealed (or unconcealed) weapon to run day to day errands. The Culture of Fear is one of the main problems with our country. Statistically, you have more chance of being struck by lightning than you do of being hurt in a school shooting. And, of course, even though there have been armed "good guys" present at some school massacres, there's not a single case of one being stopped by one. Part of the problem is that ALL of these armed yahoos have convinced themselves that they are a "good guy," who's trained and knows what he's doing, who will rescue the rest of us when the bad guys jump out from the bushes. Or, that you need a gun to protect yourself from home invasion when statistically you have about as much chance of being a victim of that as a shark attack in Iowa. But, it does make us the nation who's had more gun deaths from its own citizens since the late 60's than from all its wars combined. It does make us the nation with over 30,000 gun deaths EVERY SINGLE YEAR. If some other country came in and killed 30,000 of us, what do you think our response would be? Guns also often turn domestic abuse (terrible enough by itself) into domestic murder, with women's deaths rising. They also result in 1,000's of children dying every year. The list goes on and on. Just because you have the "right" to do something, doesn't mean it's a good idea to do it. But at least you feel safer. Get a teddy bear. They give you feelings of security too, and don't lead to the problems above.
10-20-2014, 07:54 AM - 1 Like   #21
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Why did you take the photo in the first place? It's not like there was anything interesting about the subject or any artistic quality to the photo. Did you have some purpose in snapping random photos of complete strangers? To me, there is a difference between taking a photo of someone who possesses some unique quality or is engaged in an interesting activity and taking random photos of people. The latter borders on creepy.
10-20-2014, 10:42 AM - 1 Like   #22
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So the woman asked you to delete her photo and, not only did you not delete it, you shared it on the internet? Sorry but, not to be jerk, that doesn't sound like the behavior of a "good guy."
10-20-2014, 10:49 AM - 4 Likes   #23
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I find it hard to believe that the moderators have allowed this post to continue on into two full pages. This is very distracting from the purpose of this site, IMHO!


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10-20-2014, 12:01 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by chrispwill Quote
Not wanting to fuel the "arrest" debate any further, I will say that given her expression and the way she carried herself, I would have pointed the camera, checked focus, then said "nah!" and passed on the shot. Not to know what kind of day she was having or events in her life at the time, but she looked very closed off to the world.

Sorry about your experience just the same. Parades are more fertile ground for candid pictures of strangers. You participate or attend such an event and you expect to be caught in photographs. Busy traffic intersections? Sure. Wave to the camera!
If I had paused to look beyond her shirt, which is what caught my interest, I would have not taken the shot. I did not check focus, obviously, I saw her, the heart was sparkly looking, I racked the zoom to 200mm raised the camera and pressed the button. The camera snapped two frames. By that time I realized that I had wasted two frames.
In the sunlight, I had no way to check the pictures to see if they were worth keeping, I had hoped the focus would be "good enough", and it wasn't.
I do not delete my pictures. disk space is cheap.
Yeah, I see entire books sold filled with candid pictures of people caught on camera. The notion being expressed by some here that what I was doing was "wrong", if not illegal, is just absurd.
There are MANY shots here on this forum, that contain images of people who were not asked, did not give permission, and likely would be upset if they knew their photo was published on the web.
I don't see a wave of people decrying and denigrating the photographers of THOSE photos.

So ask yourself this, just what is it about MY photo that pumps you up so much?? The text describing the scenario?
The other comments? Some kind of "mob" reaction??

As for the intimation that perhaps I am "not" a good guy. This is one of the awards that an entire city gave me, as a person who steps up, when others hide or run, from evil, or ignore it's existence entirely.



Oh, and a bit of grammar policing, It was a doormouse, not a dormouse. I remember that clearly.
10-20-2014, 12:14 PM - 1 Like   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by 45 Mike Quote
As for the intimation that perhaps I am "not" a good guy. This is one of the awards that an entire city gave me, as a person who steps up, when others hide or run, from evil, or ignore it's existence entirely.

City Manager , Chris Kukulski appears to be of Polish roots - just to to lighten up a bit .. the atmosphere got tense :P

I have absolutely no problem with people taking photos of anything and anywhere - even my kids - I just don't mind . People must have very little in their lives to be so determined to protect that 'only' asset they got - their appearance that is .. ? I wonder why is that - is it some sort of overreacting because people are too pressed down and enslaved so they try at least in this way express their will ? I don't know - but I am aware of this phenomenon and so I am being very careful not to take any photos of strangers in the residential areas. In more crowded places, especially city centres or at parades / events - I don't see it as a problem.

What OP did I consider to be perfectly normal behaviour - snapping away is what photographers do. I do agree however, that sometime it is wise to pass rather than persist.

PS : moderators will probably move this to general talk , no ?

Last edited by manntax; 10-20-2014 at 12:20 PM.
10-20-2014, 01:50 PM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by 45 Mike Quote
If I had paused to look beyond her shirt, which is what caught my interest, I would have not taken the shot. I did not check focus, obviously, I saw her, the heart was sparkly looking, I racked the zoom to 200mm raised the camera and pressed the button. The camera snapped two frames. By that time I realized that I had wasted two frames.
In the sunlight, I had no way to check the pictures to see if they were worth keeping, I had hoped the focus would be "good enough", and it wasn't.
I do not delete my pictures. disk space is cheap.
Yeah, I see entire books sold filled with candid pictures of people caught on camera. The notion being expressed by some here that what I was doing was "wrong", if not illegal, is just absurd.
There are MANY shots here on this forum, that contain images of people who were not asked, did not give permission, and likely would be upset if they knew their photo was published on the web.
I don't see a wave of people decrying and denigrating the photographers of THOSE photos.

So ask yourself this, just what is it about MY photo that pumps you up so much?? The text describing the scenario?
The other comments? Some kind of "mob" reaction??

As for the intimation that perhaps I am "not" a good guy. This is one of the awards that an entire city gave me, as a person who steps up, when others hide or run, from evil, or ignore it's existence entirely.



Oh, and a bit of grammar policing, It was a doormouse, not a dormouse. I remember that clearly.
The award is awesome. Congrats on that and, more importantly, congrats on doing a "truly "good" deed.

My point was that this woman obviously felt her privacy had been violated by you taking her picture. Sharing the photo, and then commenting on it, I'm guessing would be seen as an even bigger violation of her privacy.

I don't think you needed to post the photo to tell the story here. And frankly, knowing she was uncomfortable, I would have deleted it out of courtesy. Doing so probably would have saved you quite a bit of trouble.
10-20-2014, 05:10 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by JHfwp Quote
The award is awesome. Congrats on that and, more importantly, congrats on doing a "truly "good" deed.

My point was that this woman obviously felt her privacy had been violated by you taking her picture. Sharing the photo, and then commenting on it, I'm guessing would be seen as an even bigger violation of her privacy.

I don't think you needed to post the photo to tell the story here. And frankly, knowing she was uncomfortable, I would have deleted it out of courtesy. Doing so probably would have saved you quite a bit of trouble.
Thanks, the award is one of several I have acquired over the years. I never asked for that level of recognition, in fact I would have preferred in each case to have been left out of the news and pomp. I was uncomfortable with the notoriety, and the public recounting of the events. However I was not asked if I wanted to be involved in the events celebrating my actions, the news articles, my picture in the paper, etc. etc. Much as that girl in my photo was not asked. Nor does it matter. It did not matter when my face and story was plastered in published accounts, and it does not matter in this case.

I have been involved in many situations where I stepped up, took care of matters, and then walked away, without ever being recognized, or required by the public to engage in award ceremonies, television and newspaper accounts, etc.
I understand that people here do NOT know me, and express doubt about my intentions, motives and behavior. I accept that. But with my own understanding of myself, my attitude, is, yeah, whatever.

Deleting that photo, hmm. I wonder if you would be so sanguine about the philosophy you express, if you were confronted by someone demanding that you delete photos from your camera?
Let's assume that I did delete those photos, and I made certain that the girl knew I had deleted those. Would you agree that she now has some privilege of inspecting ALL of the photos on my camera, to be certain that I had not managed to sneak in other photos, before she was aware that I did take her picture? If I then refused to show her ALL my photos, would that increase or decrease the "trouble" that I encountered?
If I had deleted the photos, and she was not aware that I had, how would that have decreased my troubles??
If I had agreed to delete my photos of her, would that not have supported her mistaken belief that I have no right to take pictures of people and places in a public setting? Would not that have supported her mistaken suspicion that I was some kind of stalker creep, rather than merely a mundane guy minding my own business, taking pictures in a legal manner?

After some thought, I considered that perhaps I should have offered to let her see the pictures I had taken. Of not only her, but the scenics and other pics I had taken that day.

But after considering her attitude and demeanor, I am convinced that she would have become physical, and try to take my camera, to delete those herself, or to damage my camera. I can see that turning into a violent confrontation, rather than a misunderstanding about legality.
10-21-2014, 05:28 AM - 1 Like   #28
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That's a great certificate, and I'm sure that whenever that woman thinks of the situation, she is grateful for your assistance... however, it has virtually nothing to do with anything being talked about here.

100% of the "troubles" you experienced that day were brought about by yourself. If you had simply deleted the photos when asked, none of this would have taken place. It's not as if, as you yourself describe, these shots were worth anything. They aren't even in focus. If I take pictures of people in the most public place in the country, and someone asks me to delete a shot of them, I would (unless there was some type of reason not to, like it was of a crime in process, or aliens landing and meeting the president). Instead of "vehemently" getting into it with the woman, maybe you could have gotten into a conversation about photography. Conversation or not, if you had deleted them, she would not have gone back into the store, and the police wouldn't have been called, and you wouldn't have been bothered over some pictures that weren't worth anything anyway. You come up with a lot of hypotheticals to try and justify your actions, "if" this and "if" that, but they are all just self-justifications. IF a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his butt. The one you didn't include, which was by far the most likely scenario, was "What IF I had deleted the shots when she asked me to, and we all just went on with our day.

You're probably just lucky that she didn't view the world like you - seeing herself as a "good guy" who needed to stop a creep, and was armed because she was too afraid to face the world without a weapon handy. Nobody has asked you to be a self-appointed (armed) deputy dawg and "step up and take care of matters." If you want to be a "good guy," go join the police academy.

Oh, and one more thing... it is "Dormouse." They are a rodent found in Europe. The quote below from Jefferson Airplane is an allusion to Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. He was a character at the Mad Hatter's tea party (with the March hare etc.)

Last edited by kyricom; 10-21-2014 at 05:39 AM.
10-21-2014, 06:33 AM - 1 Like   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by kyricom Quote
You're probably just lucky that she didn't view the world like you - seeing herself as a "good guy" who needed to stop a creep, and was armed because she was too afraid to face the world without a weapon handy. Nobody has asked you to be a self-appointed (armed) deputy dawg and "step up and take care of matters." If you want to be a "good guy," go join the police academy. Oh, and one more thing... it is "Dormouse." They are a rodent found in Europe. The quote below from Jefferson Airplane is an allusion to Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. He was a character at the Mad Hatter's tea party (with the March hare etc.)
Not to sound prejudices - but it seems to me like you are kicking a dead horse now and hitting a bit too aggressive tone - especially the bit quoted was meant to do what exactly?

OP wanted simple to share some experience that could affect any of the active photographer. I would myself probably 'discharge' this situation a bit differently - resolving the issue at its roots , by either deleting photos and apologising , or by getting women involved and cheering up a bit. Either way - that's me. I can at the same time understand that OP has point in defending his rights as a photographer - there is really nothing wrong in taking photos of people - they are part of the world after all - same as I am. Especially that we all are being constantly monitored and photographed - which was another point raised by the OP, meticulously avoided in this discussion.

I am annoyed by some of the comments in similar tone that circulate the net - and who spreads them ? People who at the same time admire photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson (http://www.magnumphotos.com) or ivian Maier (Vivian Maier Photographer | Official website of Vivian Maier | Vivian Maier Portfolios, Prints, Exhibitions, Books and documentary film ) - have you ever sat back and enjoyed ANY of their photos ? Or any other street photography ? If so - then you are guilty too - because they've taken these thousands of photos to document the world which people like you and me can now see and appreciate. And why did they do that ? They have 'violated' rights of many people to get their shots - just go through some of their photographs and see for yourself - you often see street scenes of surprised or even aggressively looking people. They have done that because they had balls to do it - something that many internet fighters lack in real life...

it is easy to sound tough on the internet you know. I bet you would weight your words better if the man was in front of you. My intention is not to judge or defend but to acknowledge the fact that your aggressive argumentation do no good and at the same time is full of hypocrisy.
10-21-2014, 04:28 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by manntax Quote
aggressive argumentation
I got no problem with that. :-) I've been trained for 30 years to not only argue aggressively, but to train others to (and no, I'm not a lawyer, thank goodness). You are coorect in that people tend to be "tough" or more aggressive on-line. That phenomenon is commonly called "disinhibition," although there are other names too. Personally, I probably would be the same in person - unless of course the other person had a gun, which always has a huge chilling effect. :-)
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