The Right to Bear Cameras

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Tonight Flickr pals Ropeboy, Aqui-Ali, Ranjit and I all went down to Oakland's warehouse district to shoot. No sooner had we begun than we were stopped and confronted by Sheriffs. They required each of us to turn over our IDs and then proceeded to detain us for about 20 minutes. Admitedly there is a small power plant and trains down in the district but ask yourself this, should carrying a camera result in this kind of harrasment? Should the police be able to randomly stop you and run your ID for warrants or a background check merely for being in the wrong place with a camera? There is a chill in the air in this country right now but I'm not sure that taking it out on the rights of photographers is the correct answer. We were committing no crime and peacefully assembling for the purpose of our passion, photography and it's pursuit in a group that we call Flickr.

This particular cop asked that I not take his photograph. I took this shot anyway when he wasn't paying attention. As I understand it, freedom of the press involves the ability to photograph law enforcement and what some might view as an abuse of power.