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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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10-21-2014, 04:38 PM   #31
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I can say only one thing: "Attention! Walmart shoppers!" That's what I always say being near Walmart. Starting from shopper's driving skills...
I would delete anything with the first request just not to deal with any possible Walmart related stupidity. Period.

10-21-2014, 04:40 PM   #32
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I'm also a bit surprised by comments questioning the OP's motive on taking photographs of said subject. This Forum is full of candid photos of people, either photographed knowingly or unknowingly. However I do believe the conversation here would have been different had the photographer been on a sidewalk in front of Walmart instead of in the parking lot.

QuoteOriginally posted by kyricom Quote
Guns also often turn domestic abuse (terrible enough by itself) into domestic murder... Just because you have the "right" to do something, doesn't mean it's a good idea to do it...
No, guns don't. People do. The gun is not forcing anyone to shoot a person "often". Your logic is so far off in your post, written as if fact instead of opinion, with made-up numbers and no sources. When in fact more people are killed by car crashes than guns, so we should outlaw cars. See how silly that sounds? And lastly, who are you to criticise someone for exercising their basic rights in this country? It's my opinion you unfairly verbally attacked the OP.

Please be considerate of others' opinions in a worldwide forum. It doesn't add to the environment here.
10-21-2014, 04:50 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by 45 Mike Quote
Thanks, the award is one of several I have acquired over the years.
With all due respect, Mike, you can't offset an award against the invasion of someone's privacy. :-)
10-21-2014, 05:09 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by manntax Quote
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.
I need to take objection to this for one simple reason.

It all started by the OP doing something he thought he had the right to do, but didn't . Simply put, you do NOT have the right to photograph on private property even if it is publically accessible. There is a difference between the two. The OP didn't know this apparently. He then proclaimed wrongly, that he was within his rights to do so to defend his position, and that he was arrested when in fact he wasn't, during the process of "defending his perceived rights, because he didn't care how courts interpreted his rights.

I have a real problem with ignorance of the laws. It is no defence. The OP was wrong from the onset here, and was lucky to get off with no permanent consequences. Through all of this, he does not discuss the rights of the subject, which he actually violated.

He should learn from this and move on. Street shooting in public is different than shooting on private property. There are lots of great street shooters who post here. The rules are also different depending on country.

A long time ago I started a forum on rights and photography laws, not to debate the finer points, but to be a place where the differing laws could be collected. It needs to be resurrected

10-21-2014, 05:17 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
With all due respect, Mike, you can't offset an award against the invasion of someone's privacy. :-)
I agree, however I am not offsetting my award against the invasion of someone's privacy.

The person I photographed was in a public setting, with absolutely no expectation of privacy. In a public setting, that was clearly posted to be under surveillance. There was no privacy to invade.

It seems very odd to me that some people view this woman as a victim.
They paint me as a perpetrator of some moral transgression.

However if we examine the reality of the situation, let us ask if she was inconvenienced, or injured by any act of mine.
No, she was NOT. Not in the slightest.
Now let us ask if I was injured or inconvenienced by any act of HERS!
YES, I was stopped, deprived of my property and liberty, my rights guaranteed to me by our society were without legal basis taken from me.

How anyone can possibly see that woman as a victim is just absurd. the entire situation was absurd, and so are many of the comments in response that this receives.
I don't know how to request that this thread be closed by moderators, but I wish someone would just close this.
10-21-2014, 05:25 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by 45 Mike Quote
However if we examine the reality of the situation, let us ask if she was inconvenienced, or injured by any act of mine.
No, she was NOT. Not in the slightest.
If for any reason she felt abused by unwanted "modeling", and even asked you to delete picture, than yes, she was inconvenienced, or even hurt. I also think that it's a simple courtesy to do what she asked.
10-21-2014, 05:32 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
If for any reason she felt abused by unwanted "modeling", and even asked you to delete picture, than yes, she was inconvenienced, or even hurt. I also think that it's a simple courtesy to do what she asked.
I feel abused by your comment, I demand that you delete it! I am inconvenienced, and hurt!
I think as a simple courtesy, you should do as I ask.

Absurdity heaped upon idiocy.

Someone please shut this down!!!
10-21-2014, 05:35 PM   #38
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The OP did nothing illegal or morally wrong. If you don't want people to see you or photograph you, it's your responsibility to deal with it, not theirs.

The cops seem okay, too. Once someone calls them they need to investigate. We don't know exactly what they were told when they were called.

The woman in the photo and/or store security sound like the bad guys in this story.

10-21-2014, 05:36 PM - 1 Like   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
With all due respect, Mike, you can't offset an award against the invasion of someone's privacy. :-)
There is no expectation of privacy in an area open to the public, even if on private property. As pointed out, there are a few areas in open to the public that are exceptions, such as restrooms and dressing rooms (and under clothing not exposed, which is why upskirt photos are illegal, but taking a photo of someone's wardrobe malfunction would not be illegal, even if morally questionable). Of course, the right to take photos is not the same, as a license to be on private property can be revoked by the owner for any reason. As has been discussed in this thread, there is no violation of right to privacy as there was no "reasonable expectation of it." There doesn't even have to be camera signs to make that true. There was, however, violation of the property owner's rules.

At least, these are the laws in the USA. In the UK, I think it's a bit different because whenever these photos of Kate Middleton without underwear or whatever are taken and invariably posted in some shady tabloid, someone is charged--but maybe the law is different for royalty in the UK? Not sure.
10-21-2014, 05:40 PM   #40
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Well, not funny (continue abusing you)
She obviously isn't in her best mood on your picture. Maybe she is sick and going to the pharmacy, who knows. She does not know where you are going to post that picture of her. Keep in mind that facebook use face detection now. What if you expose the "ugly" picture of her on fb, and she will be tagged with her real name? I would be furious if someone would do something like that to me. I would try to destroy you by any means!
10-21-2014, 05:53 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
Well, not funny (continue abusing you)
She obviously isn't in her best mood on your picture. Maybe she is sick and going to the pharmacy, who knows. She does not know where you are going to post that picture of her. Keep in mind that facebook use face detection now. What if you expose the "ugly" picture of her on fb, and she will be tagged with her real name? I would be furious if someone would do something like that to me. I would try to destroy you by any means!
While you may not *like* it and it may not be the nicest thing to do, none of this is illegal. Heck, unless directly harassing or altered to be offensive to a reasonable person, none of it constitutes a civil offense either. This is the world we live in now, with everyone in possession of a camera and the capability to share their photos with the world permanently. Scary, no?

But that world is a lot less scary than the one in which there are consequences to showing a picture of what someone looks like or what happened. If you want that not to be the case, try North Korea.
10-21-2014, 06:00 PM - 1 Like   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
try North Korea.
It seems like OP already tried it on Walmart parking lot.
But seriously, I'm not getting it. So many troubles and for what? To upset the girl, to waste own time when problem could be solved just at half a second.
Again, good manors mean nothing for photographers at all?
10-21-2014, 06:04 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
But seriously, I'm not getting it. So many troubles and for what? To upset the girl, to waste own time when problem could be solved just at half a second.
Again, good manors mean nothing for photographers at all?
Doing the "right thing" and insisting on someones rights are sometimes completely different things...

Anyhow - hilarious thread, please keep it going.
*gets popcorn*
10-21-2014, 06:05 PM - 1 Like   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by 45 Mike Quote

The person I photographed was in a public setting, with absolutely no expectation of privacy.
Mike, I have sympathy because of the over-the-top reaction to what you did, but people have an expectation of respecting their privacy wherever they may be.

It's not illegal to ask someone in the street for money, to do a survey, to take a flyer, or for dinner on Friday night.

But it's not for many people socially acceptable. There's enough intrusion in their lives by authorities, let alone strangers.

Personally, I try to establish a rapport with a shop owner or travel companion before asking them if it's okay to take their picture.

Other times I will smile after I take a candid, to see if it's reciprocated (which I take to be implied, retrospective consent, but of course is no replacement for a signed release).

I'd always delete a file if requested, and in front of them, with a genuine apology.

It's the risks we take attempting street photography.

Hey, even Eric Kim had a complaint filed against him here in Melbourne 'doing his thing'.

In any event, be well and take care. :-)
10-21-2014, 06:14 PM - 1 Like   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
be well and take care. :-)
... and bring some smiling girls here
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