Photographer alleges Denver PD violated his First Amendment rights
A Colorado photographer who insists on remaining anonymous claims he was harassed by Denver police officers after he attempted to photograph a private photo shoot on a public street.
The photographer, who is going by his Flicker username, Ringo Kamens, posted his complaint on the Colorado Indy Media website.
Ringo Kamens says the street was closed off to allow a private company to photograph a car, most likely for a magazine advertisement. He says that members of the photo crew told him he was not allowed to photograph them because they had acquired a permit from the city. But his pictures confirm he was standing outside the working area.
Eventually a plainclothes police officer confronted him, telling him he had to cross the street, even though he was standing on a public sidewalk.
He said he crossed the street and continued taking photos when another police officer told him he had to leave because he was on “city property” and not on “public property” – as if there is a difference when it comes to sidewalks. He said he left but then returned to the scene with witnesses.
I came back approximately 10 minutes later with three witnesses (who I did not get the contact information of but I told to call my parents if I got arrested) so that the officers could no longer harass or threaten to arrest me for “loitering”. Employees of the photo shoot came over and said “Why are you back? You need to stop taking pictures. We can’t do the shoot if you are taking pictures”.
In the following photo which Ringo Kamens posted on Flickr, a member of the photo crew is trying to prevent him from photographing the sacred car, which is clearly shown on a public street. Too bad he didn’t have a 300mm lens on him to capture the man’s facial expression.
In his complaint, he provides the name and badge number of one of the officers who allegedly harassed him and the badge number of another officer.
My advice to Ringo Kamens is that is you want to be taken seriously, use your real name.