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Photographer hassled at Minneapolis Fed

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer under Civil liberties Updated: May 9, 2011 - 12:17 PM

 

T.S. Bye's offending photo

T.S. Bye's offending photo

 

If you point a camera at a building where millions of dollars are stored, prepare for questions.

On Thursday, T.S. Bye used his camera phone to take a picture of the big seal on the Federal Reserve in downtown Minneapolis. He was confronted by a security guard who questioned him and asked him to delete his photos. He did so, although his phone backed up the photo instantly.

Bye estimated he had stopped for 15-20 seconds before he was approached, and it was five minutes before he was allowed to leave.

Bye felt he was treated like a “suspected terrorist.”

"Courts have ruled over and over again that taking pictures of buildings from public spaces is perfectly legal, even federal buildings," Bye said.

Fed spokeswoman Patti Lorenzen said the photographer aroused suspicion by stopping his car in the street, getting out and taking photos. According to Lorenzen:

Our Law Enforcement staff asked what he was doing. He informed us he was taking photos of the Bank seal. Initially, our Law Enforcement officer told him that he was in a secure area and that we would prefer that he delete the photos. When the second Law Enforcement officer arrived on the scene, he informed this individual that he did not have to delete the photos and all we really needed him to do was move his vehicle to an appropriate parking space. The individual then drove away.

“It is not against our policy to take photos of the exterior of our building,” Lorenzen said.

When have you been hassled for taking pictures?
 

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