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01-01-2009, 05:01 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
Your version differs significantly from Kerzic's own version of the incident in his letter to Amtrak and government officials. There is no dog mentioned in his version, nor mention of his bags being sniff searched by a dog. He states in the letter that he volunteered to be handcuffed by placing his hands behind his back without being asked. And his admits in the letter to taking photographs on a platform marked with a No Trespassing sign and was shown that sign by Supervisor Sergeant Taylor of the Amtrak Communications Center.

And, of course, neither your version nor Kerzic's version gives us the police officer's version of the incident.

Finally, the Amtrak "Picture Our Train" contest seeks photographs "featuring an Amtrak train with the current Amtrak logo," not railway station interiors or boarding platforms. Further, the contest website specifically warns contestants not to "trespass on railroad property or on private property adjacent to the railroad" and "trespassers are subject to arrest and fines."

stewart
Stewart... Well you are right about the "dog" detail. There is nothing in Mr Kerzic's own account about that. I got that off of Carlos Miller's site (the 2nd link in my OP). I will edit that point in the OP as it is now suspect.

As for the handcuffing, though he says he wasn't "asked" I bet there were non-verbals being given which caused him to do that. He did state that he was "arrested" and likely assumed that they were going to cuff him so being the cooperative citizen, he placed his hands behind his back w/o being specifically asked.

Also, as Wheatfield states, Mr Kerzic says that he was NOT in an area marked with any "no trespassing" signs. Additionally, he was in an area accessable to persons holding tickets on the trains. As he had just disembarked from a train he was within his rights to be there. IE he was not trespassing in any way or violating the terms of the contest.


Last edited by MRRiley; 01-01-2009 at 05:19 PM.
01-01-2009, 05:21 PM   #17
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If I comment on this topic, the same couple of people who always attack me are going to slam me for being anti-American, as though the values of the USA should include harassing innocent people.

So I won't comment.

01-01-2009, 05:31 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
If I comment on this topic, the same couple of people who always attack me are going to slam me for being anti-American, as though the values of the USA should include harassing innocent people.

So I won't comment.

Which is, in itself, a comment.....
01-01-2009, 05:33 PM   #19
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Stewart

I find it interesting that after taking Mike Riley to task for supposedly misrepresenting the incident that Mr. Kerzic underwent, you went ahead and also misrepresented his version of the event..

You are correct in that I saw no mention of a dog in any of the stories on the three links that Mike and you provided..I thought I read them carefully, so if I missed the part about the dog, "I'm sorry Mike"..

Mr. Kerzic clearly states in the letter he wrote to Amtrak, that you provided the link for, that he never saw a No Trespassing sign on the day of the incident..And, that the sign shown to him by Sgt. Taylor, hours later, was not in a place which he had accessed during his trip into Penn Station earlier that day..He also clearly states that he had no recollection of ever seeing a No Trespassing sign on any occasion that he had been in Penn Station..While Mr. Kerzic was on the platform that had a No Trespassing sign posted on it, he clearly states in his letter to Amtrak that the sign was not visible to him as he got off of the train..

While Mr. Kerzic does not explicitly state so in his letter to Amtrak, I can assume that at some point in his conversation with the two officers that one of them informed him that they were going to arrest him..I also assume that it was at this point that he decided that his arrest was imminent, and that placing his hands behind his back voluntarily was the path of least resistance, and the best thing to do..The way that you have worded that portion of your post regarding his hands, highlighting without being asked, comes across to me as a way of implying that Mr. Kerzic was guilty, instead of just stating what he wrote in his letter to Amtrak..

You are correct in that we do not know the officers version of this event..We never have the officers version of any event like this because they are not allowed to speak publicly about anything that they do..What I do not understand about you is that you are always coming to the defense of the police in threads like this..You always seem to think that the police can do no wrong..I have known enough cops to know that most of the ones I have met will stretch and break the law on occasion if they think they can get away with it..

Although I am not an officer of the law, and I have never had the privilege of being arrested, I do know that cops have the proper way to handcuff someone drummed into their heads during their training to become a police officer..If a person is handcuffed improperly it is because the officer in question does so deliberately..Even a rookie cop straight out of the academy rides with a training officer whose responsibility is to see to it that things like handcuffing someone incorrectly does not occur..Even if we assume that Officer Rusbarsky was a rookie on his first day of duty, it was the other officer's responsibility to correct him about the proper way to handcuff Mr. Kerzic, and how tight those handcuff should be..

Finally, just because he was on a platform does not mean that he had not taken any images of the train he had just disembarked from that contained a current Amtrak logo..He was on the platform, he has just gotten off the train, so why would you be so quick to assume that he had not taken legitimate photographs of the train with its logo??..

Mike might have been wrong about the dog in relation to this incident with Mr. Kerzic..I can see nothing else in his post that differed from Mr. Kerzic's account in his letter to Amtrak..You, however have written your post so as to imply that Mr. Kerzic was guilty of trespassing..

Mike is right in that this is another in a long line of incidents that are still reflecting the hysteria and stupidity resulting from various government agencies reactions to the 9-11 bombings..We photographers need to force them to "Get over it", and move on..There are damn few instances that I can think of where ANY form of photography will pose any more of a threat than obstructing someones passage, or view..Like, with a tripod mounted camera..All the rest is just a bunch of whitewash intended to obscure the fact that 7 plus years after 9-11 we are still no safer than we were on September 10, 2001..


Last edited by baltochef920; 01-01-2009 at 09:16 PM.
01-01-2009, 05:39 PM   #20
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AmTrack is the poster child of failed National transportation under the operation of the U.S. Government.
01-01-2009, 06:02 PM   #21
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In Mr. Kerzic's letter to Amtrak he states (last part of para 3 and first part of para 4)...

QuoteQuote:
They also said did I see the “No Trespassing” signs, I asked, “what signs?” and looked around for one. I was then arrested for Trespass NY Penal Code 140.05.

At this time I voluntarily put my hands behind my back without being asked. Officer Rusbarsky then proceeded to put handcuffs on me.
Mr Kerzic does say he was arrested... and everyone knows when you are arrested you are handcuffed. It is SOP! It's not surprising that Mr. Kezic knew that and complied without having to be specifically told.

Btw, I DO have a certain amount of LE training and there is definately a right way and a wrong way to handcuff a person and it is very hard to do it wrong by accident on a cooperative subject if you are experienced. The officer did it WRONG on purpose. Fair enough on a violent felony arrest, but hardly appropriate for a misdemenor.

p.s. I have asked for clarification from Carlos Miller on the detail about the dog.

Last edited by MRRiley; 01-01-2009 at 07:58 PM.
01-01-2009, 06:51 PM   #22
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I just got a reply from Carlos Miller. He reports that he did a telephone interview with Mr. Kerzic who gave him the details about the dog.

Photographer arrested by Amtrak Police in NYC's Penn Station

Also, to clarify, for those of you who don't know about Carlos Miller's situation, he was arrested by Miami police for taking their photos. Its a long story and I wont go into it here. If you want to read about it go to "Photography is Not a Crime — It’s a First Amendment Right". Since his arrest he has worked hard to expose abuses of photographer's rights.
01-01-2009, 07:30 PM   #23
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Hello guys,

I'm the guy who wrote the story about Kerzic. I just wanted to clarify some issues because obviously there are some misconceptions about the arrest.

I called Kerzic after I learned of his arrest through his website. I have google alerts set for these incidents so I get emails when they happen because I document them on my website.

Also, I am a professional journalist, having worked for daily newspapers for more than seven years before I became a freelancer. I am a writer who became a photographer, so writing is my original trade. I do my best to ensure accuracy, which is why I called him rather than just get the information from his site.

I am also a photojournalist who got arrested for photographing Miami cops against their wishes, which is the reason why I started my blog. So yes, it's true, I am biased about these incidents but I will never make facts up because that will only destroy my credibility, which would defeat the whole purpose of my blog.

I had two phone conversations with Kerzic, each of them lasting about 30 minutes or longer. I asked him to explain the details leading up to his arrest, which is when he told me about the dog.

He didn't mention it on his website because it really is irrelevant to the arrest. But I like details so I put it in my story.

Also, the "no trespassing" sign he talked about on his site was beyond the point where he was taking photographs.

He said it was about 100 feet in front of him. In other words, if he would have continued walking in that direction, he would have encountered the sign, but he said he had not reached that point when he was taking photos.

And not only did he have a ticket, making him a paying customer of Amtrak, the officers never told him to leave the area when they approached him, which is what they would have done if he really was trespassing.

No, their whole issue, according to him, was the fact that he was taking photos.

And the reason they arrested him was because he refused to delete the photos.

And somebody mentioned that the fact that he voluntarily placed his hands behind his back is a sign of guilt. That's ridiculous.

I take that as a sign that he had done no wrong and basically challenged the cops to arrest him because he knew they were in the wrong.

And seriously, when do you hear about people who break the law volunteering to be handcuffed? Usually, they try their best to talk their way out of arrest until it's too late.

It's obvious that Kerzic is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. If he would have resisted arrest, then people would be saying he got what he deserved. But he does his best not to resist, and people take that as a sign of guilt.

Perhaps the people who are saying this have never been harassed for taking photographs, but I can assure you it happens on a regular basis.

And most photographers just do what the cops say, even though it is an unlawful order, because they don't want to be arrested.

But every once in a while, you get a guy like Kerzic who stands up for his rights and winds up in jail.

And even though that photographer may have been in the right, the odds are already stacked against him because the judges and majority of the people will automatically side with the cops.

In other words, the photographer is guilty until proven innocent.


Last edited by Carlos Miller; 01-01-2009 at 07:42 PM.
01-01-2009, 07:36 PM   #24
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Carlos... Welcome to PF and thanks for the clarification. I'm "Mike in NoVA" by the way and appreciate your dedication to safeguarding our rights to photograph in public.
01-01-2009, 07:41 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRRiley Quote
Carlos... Welcome to PF and thanks for the clarification. I'm "Mike in NoVA" by the way and appreciate your dedication to safeguarding our rights to photograph in public.

Thanks Mike. And I do appreciate how people on this site are insisting on clarification rather than just accepting the story at face value. This is a perfect example of why I need to do my best to ensure accuracy.
01-01-2009, 08:09 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Carlos Miller Quote
Perhaps the people who are saying this have never been harassed for taking photographs, but I can assure you it happens on a regular basis.

And most photographers just do what the cops say, even though it is an unlawful order, because they don't want to be arrested.

But every once in a while, you get a guy like Kerzic who stands up for his rights and winds up in jail.

And even though that photographer may have been in the right, the odds are already stacked against him because the judges and majority of the people will automatically side with the cops.

In other words, the photographer is guilty until proven innocent.
Knowing this, and knowing that you can pull a deleted file off the card with recovery software, is it worth the trouble to do a head to head confrontation? Wouldn't it be better to play along, get the names/badge numbers of the officers, delete the photos, leave, undelete the photos, and then write to the officials contesting everything that happened?

MyFox Washington DC | Union Station Photo Flap
01-01-2009, 08:29 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by poco Quote
Knowing this, and knowing that you can pull a deleted file off the card with recovery software, is it worth the trouble to do a head to head confrontation? Wouldn't it be better to play along, get the names/badge numbers of the officers, delete the photos, leave, undelete the photos, and then write to the officials contesting everything that happened?

MyFox Washington DC | Union Station Photo Flap
Write to officials? You might as well as write your letter and toss it in a garbage can.
01-01-2009, 08:46 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by poco Quote
Knowing this, and knowing that you can pull a deleted file off the card with recovery software, is it worth the trouble to do a head to head confrontation? Wouldn't it be better to play along, get the names/badge numbers of the officers, delete the photos, leave, undelete the photos, and then write to the officials contesting everything that happened?

MyFox Washington DC | Union Station Photo Flap
For myself. I'd say yes. To "play along" is to enable the authorities (and I use the term very advisably) to continue down their path of illegal harassment of people conducting legal and innocent activities.
You play along, you go away and recover your wits and your data, the cops go for a doughnut and a giggle, and that's the end of it.
It's doubtful that any paperwork would be written up.
So what if you complain.
The cops shrug it off, and without some sort of proof, you are pretty much going to have your credibility demolished.
Meanwhile, the cops go on to harass someone else.

This sort of thing has to be forced into the public eye, and that means that people have to be willing to be inconvenienced in the name of their rights. If you take the path of least resistance, you will find that path is blocked the next time you want to use it.

This sort of crap needs to be resisted with some vigor, it is literally the first step towards a police state.

Sign me as a Canadian who is concerned about what is happening to my friends and neighbors to the south.
01-01-2009, 08:58 PM   #29
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How would the Civil Rights movement turned out had Rosa Parks moved out of her seat then written a letter to officials rather than subject herself to arrest?
01-01-2009, 09:36 PM   #30
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Mr. Carlos Miller

Thanks for the clarification regarding the dog during Mr. Kerzic's arrest..Keep up the good work on documenting and bringing to the public's attention these transgressions of our civil rights regarding the right to photograph in public..

Mike

Glad to see that you were correct in how you presented the case as regards to the dog in your OP..I stand corrected on the issue of the dog..I must not have read the second link you provided thoroughly enough..My apologies..I would also like to thank you for taking the time to stand up for our right to photograph in public..

Having worn glasses virtually my entire life, and being very near-sighted, I have never been all that confrontational as a person..Get into a fight, lose my glasses, and I am pretty much at the mercy of my attacker..On the issue of our Constitutionl right to photograph in public I feel all photographers need to take a stand so as to be counted, either for or against..

I will never forgive President Bush for encouraging Congress to ram the Patriot Act down the American Public's throats.. For that single reason I believe he will go down in history as one of our worst Presidents..Like I mentioned in my above post, "Are we truly ANY safer today, Jan 1, 2009, than we were on Sept 10, 2001??"..I do not believe so..I cannot find any quantifiable evidence to suggest that we are..

Bruce
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