"prison trees" from Broken Lens Blog

In the eyes of prison security guards, it appeared to be a scene straight out of The Great Escape when a man on a bicycle pulled in front of the prison and began snapping photos of the trees.

Yes, trees.

He was immediately surrounded by security guards in three vehicles who demanded to know what he was doing, which is always an annoying question when it’s obvious what a man with a camera is doing.

This is how he described it on his blog.

they had bullet proof vests under their “security” t-shirts and gun holsters with guns in their utility belts.  as one all three get out of each of their cars, i realize that i probably shouldn’t have stopped to take pictures.

the chubbiest of the three men asked in a kind-hearted manner “what are you doing?”  i explained that i was only taking a photograph of the sad-looking trees, he asked to see the pictures and after about 10 mins of interrogation to make sure i wasn’t a terrorist or trying to break anyone out, he let me go.  i nearly got arrested for this shot.

Besides the obvious annoyance of not using capital letters to distinguish sentences, this nameless photographer in a nameless state was under the false impression that the fat security guard was “kind-hearted.”

But that kind-hearted security guard violated his rights by demanding to see his pictures and used strong-armed intimidation tactics to make the guy think he was going to get arrested.

Even if the photographer was taking pictures of the prison walls or the guards themselves, there is nothing they could do about it as long as he wasn’t on prison property. And even if he was, they could just order him to leave.

It’s not like he was on the inside. So they didn’t have to treat him that way.