In Mainz the other day, watching police ticketing cyclists for riding in the pedestrian precinct.
“What do you think YOU’RE doing?” yells the policeperson (female) and rockets over to where I’m standing.
“It’s forbidden to photograph police on duty. I DEMAND that you delete the image in my presence THIS INSTANT”
I tell her that a) she’s wrong, b) she can’t demand that I delete the image and c) she’s not identifiable because she’s facing the other way.
(Diane Arbus says so, too.)
Tells me that she doesn’t want to be photographed, that I need press credentials to photograph police and demands again that I delete the image.
I tell her that I won’t delete the image, that I’m allowed to take photographs in a public place and that I’ll ascertain my rights from police headquarters on Monday.
“You do that” she says.
Speak to an apologetic and frustrated spokesman who agrees fully with my position that:
1. I may photograph in a public place without restriction.
2. I may photograph people.
3. I may photograph police except if by doing so I interfere with their activities.
4. A court order is required to delete an image.
5. Publishing images of people is governed by civil law and restrictions only apply if the person is the principal subject of the image.
6. I don’t need press credentials
7. The policewoman is inventing the law as she goes along
“They must KNOW this” he says “They DO know this”
Which is the most worrying….
“Would you care to participate in a remedial session of legislative knowledge for the two officers (i.e. stand there while he rips them new assholes…) or do you trust me to do it?”
The law rules. OK