Dear Detroit Police, Photography Is Not A Suspicious Activity

Abby Zimet


Days after the fact, Detroit police are still investigating the (wholly illegal) incident in which a veteran Detroit Free Press photographer was arrested and handcuffed while filming police taking a suspect into custody on the street, after which she was held in the same interrogation room as the suspect and the memory card from her newspaper-issued iPhone went mysteriously missing. The National Press Photographers Association has protested the action, reminding police that “photography by itself is not a suspicious activity and is protected by the First Amendment." Meanwhile, in Sweden...This clip is a couple of years old, but compare and contrast.

“In any free country the balance between actual vigilance and over-zealous enforcement is delicate. It may be understandable that law enforcement officers have a heightened sense of awareness after pursuing an armed suspect - but that is no excuse for blatantly violating a person’s First Amendment rights...Unfortunately the reliance by law enforcement officers to question, detain and interfere with lawful activities by photographers has become a daily occurrence.”


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