Smithsonian Security Guards Attack Photographer, Then Throw Him Out
Dim-witted security guards attacked a news photographer inside the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum as he was photographing a fast food worker protest Thursday, tackling him to the ground, and looking as if they were preparing to beat him before a supervisor called them off.
The idiots turned on Kristoffer Tripplaar after they began attacking a videographer trying to document the protest, pushing the videographer towards Tripplaar, resulting in the security guard also colliding with the photographer.
That led to another security guard accusing Tripplaar of striking the first security guard – who still hasn’t explained why he was attacking the videographer – leading to pile-on in the above photo.
After the brush-up, Tripplaar continued photographing the protest, but then approached the supervisor to get the names of the thugs in uniform.
They responded by shoving him out of the museum.
This is why it’s important to switch to video mode if you are taking stills and get confronted. A videographer captured part of the initial incident in this video.
Tripplaar was never able to get their names, so they probably think they got away with their crime.
The guards were from the Office of Protection Services, which boasts on its website that all security guards go through a “continuous customer service training to ensure that the visitor experience is a positive one.”
Their names must be public record, so it would be great if someone can obtain those names, so we can demand their termination and archive their names.
That way, when they get hired by the Metropolitan Police Department, who obviously has no problem hiring criminals, and continue to do the same thing, nobody can say they didn’t see it coming.
Here is how Tripplaar described the incident in an email to Photography is Not a Crime:
During the protest a security officer grabbed and began removing a videographer. While removing him, he pushed the videographer towards me and to protect my cameras I leaned forward to take the blow with my body. In the process, the security officer who was removing the videographer ran into me. Right after that another officer ran up and began to yell that I had hit the officer. I can’t emphasize enough that I did not lay a finger on the officer. At that point, the officer removing the videographer, the officer who accused me of hitting him, and a third officer grabbed me and slammed me to the ground.
As I was on the ground a security officer that identified himself as a supervisor came over, told them to let me go and offered to help me up. I told him I would not get up until he made the three security officers back off because I was afraid they would grab me again. Once they backed off, I got up and went back to photographing the protest.Once the protest inside the food court wound down, I approached the supervisor who had helped me to ask for the names of the officers who had grabbed me, one of which was standing next to him. When I did that they both began pushing me towards a door saying it was time for me to leave.
DCist is also looking into the incident:
Tripplaar said the guards slammed him into the ground. Another security guard who identified himself as a supervisor came over and told the guards to let go of him. “He even offered to help me up,” Tripplaar said, “and I just refused. And I said, ‘You’ve got to get these guys away from me before I’m gonna get up.’ Because I was worried that they were gonna grab me again.” The supervisor did that, and Tripplaar went back to taking photos. He walked away without any damage to his cameras and a few bruises.
After the melee, Tripplaar said he contacted the Smithsonian press office and asked how he could proceed with filing a complaint: “I’ve been doing this for almost ten years. I cover everything from the White House to the Capitol. I’ve done countless protests, some of them got pretty heated and a little pushy. And I’ve never, ever, ever had something like this happen to me. Ever.”
A person from the press office replied to Tripplaar, he said, with an email address to send a complaint to, which he plans to do.
A Smithsonian spokesperson told DCist the head of the Office of Protection Services is looking into the allegations and has the photos. No further information was available at this time.
Below is contact info for the Office of Protection Services:
Tel: (202) 633-5650