As protesters marched on the White House to protest the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, there was an ugly sideshow: A Park Ranger harassing me for using a tripod to film the march.
There are NO signs in the park saying anyone cannot use a tripod, and there are no objections to their use in the street. I warned the park ranger to back the hell off while heading to the street, declaring him "an enemy soldier." He thought better of attempting to grab my gear like two prior offenders last year and settled for yelling. NO Park Police backed him up, even after he appeared to complain to one of them.
Congress reportedly passed a law about ten years ago to stop the Park Service or other cops from requiring permits to film with or without a tripod anywhere in DC, yet there are reports all over the Internet of photographers being harassed all over the Mall as well as in Lafayette Park.
Since police and presumably Park Rangers as well are permitted to lie to the public, there is no way to judge rather or not any legally valid regulations or laws have been written on the subject. If there are any, there has certainly been no attempt to publicize them other than dangerous confrontations with photograhers, some of whom like myself can be quite volatile if harassed.
Is the Lafayette Park issue simply an attempt to discourage protesters from using the park, knowing some media photographers refuse to go there and others are afraid to use good equipment? The excuse about a tripod as a weapons mount does not wash, because tripods can be used openly in the street even closer to the White House.
In: Other News
Tags: freedom to photograph, lafayette park, tripod
Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia, United States (load item map)
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