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01-01-2009, 09:48 AM   #1
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Another innocent photographer arrested in NYC

Amtrak Police Harassment Of Duane Kerzic
Photographer arrested by Amtrak Police in NYC's Penn Station

Photographer Duane Kerzic decided to take some photos after he got off of the Amtrak at Penn Station in New York.

After snapping a few shots he was preparing to leave when he was approached by Amtrak policemen (and in one unconfirmed account their dog which sniff searched his camera bag). When asked what he was doing he replied that he had been taking photos. They next asked to see his photos and subsequently demanded he erase the photos of the trains and station.

When he refused he was promptly handcuffed (and injured by improper placement of the cuffs), placed under arrest and thrown into an Amtrak Police holding cell. he was eventually released facing "trespassing" charges. Naturally there was no charge of "illegal photography" (since there is nothing illegal about photographing Amtrak equipment or facilities from public property or publicly accessable areas of Amtrak property).

Now, the really funny thing was the reason he was taking the photos... He was taking them to enter in Amtrak's next Picture our Train's contest.

Please read both of the links provided at the top before posting replies or commenting on this issue.

I submit this thread as just another example of the ongoing harrassment - by over-zealous police and security agencies - of photographers who are engaged in completely legal photographic activities.


Last edited by MRRiley; 01-02-2009 at 08:39 AM. Reason: clarifying links to background info...
01-01-2009, 09:52 AM   #2
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The guy should've been arrested for serious Lensbaby overuse instead.
01-01-2009, 09:58 AM   #3
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Bad or cliched photography is still, nonetheless not a crime... Lets keep the discussion on the incident itself, not on the quality or character of his photographs.

Last edited by MRRiley; 01-01-2009 at 10:14 AM.
01-01-2009, 10:26 AM - 1 Like   #4
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That's just nuts! Amtrak sponsors a photo contest and then arrests the photographers!

I hope he sues them and wins a bundle. The only way to stop this madness is to hit them in the wallet.

01-01-2009, 10:28 AM   #5
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:(

Hey Mike, folks! Happy New Year, thanx for sharing...

It seems like Amtrak's got no clue whatsoever... They promote a "cheapo" contest... get their marketing photos for "FREE"... c'mon... $1000 voucher? and yet, don't let people take pictures?

That's really sad to see if someone wants to make a living out of photography, things are getting harder and harder...

Wonder what would happen if they see someone with a 500mm or 600mm lens... they'll think it's a bazooka, maybe? ((((

Regards,
Ed
01-01-2009, 10:33 AM - 1 Like   #6
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The Amtrak employees were in the wrong no doubt about it. I think they were out for him though. If I understand correctly he had an incident on a day previous to being arrested.

There is no excuse for his arrest. Looking at the summons he was officially arrested for trespassing. From the photos he posted of where he was, it looked to be the regular boarding stage.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. I do think that photographers should take the time to write to their officials about matters like this. If we don't stand up for our rights, they will easily be taken from us.
01-01-2009, 10:45 AM   #7
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Abuse of power?
01-01-2009, 12:31 PM   #8
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I fail to see how they will be able to make a trespassing charge stick especially considering he had a Ticket from AmTrack. That will get bounced by the judge. He needs to sue the hell out of the Police and AmTrack. I'm against frivolous law suites, but this would be far from it.

My guess is the police are feeling emboldened by the unPatriot Act.


QuoteQuote:
Benjamin Franklin: They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.


01-01-2009, 12:45 PM   #9
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Maybe PentaxForums should issue official Press Pass credentials to its members for use in just such incidents.
01-01-2009, 02:02 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mithrandir Quote
Maybe PentaxForums should issue official Press Pass credentials to its members for use in just such incidents.
Nice thought but I think it would just be one more piece of paper in your wallet at the time of your arrest.
01-01-2009, 02:26 PM   #11
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Time for the ACLU to step up to the plate. After they get the charge tossed, time for a civil suit.
01-01-2009, 02:37 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRRiley Quote
(snip) Photographer Duane Kerzic decided to take some photos after he got off of the Amtrak at Penn Station in New York.

After snapping a few shots he was preparing to leave when he was approached by Amtrak policemen and their dog. When asked what he was doing he replied that he had been taking photos whereupon his bag was sniff searched by the dog. They next asked to see his photos and subsequently demanded he erase the photos of the trains and station.

When he refused he was promptly handcuffed (and injured by improper placement of the cuffs), placed under arrest and thrown into an Amtrak Police holding cell. he was eventually released facing "trespassing" charges. (snip)

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
01-01-2009, 03:51 PM   #13
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The thing sounds fishy to me, and there hasn't been anybody innocent in a long long time
01-01-2009, 03:56 PM   #14
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I smell lawsuit!
01-01-2009, 04:42 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
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.


stewart
Well, that's only true to a point. He was shown a sign in an area of the station which he did not access, if we are going to believe his letter.
It sounds a little like jackboots and brownshirts to me.
But you are right, we haven't heard the jackboots' side of the story yet.
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