NYPD Surrounds Me For Taking Photo of Them Doing Unconstitutional Bag Searches

Richard J. Marini shared the following via CopBlock.org’s submit page.NYPD-BagSearches-CopBlock

NEW YORK CITY — On Friday August 30th around 4:30 PM, I was on my way home, commuting via the Staten Island Ferry. There were four police officers stationed up the steps near the entrance of the ferry doing “random” bag searches and also swabbing peoples bags then putting the swab through a machine (shown in the officers hand). I assume this machine tests for some sort of chemical traces — but it could be reading DNA information for all I know.

My typical procedure is to photo document the officers when I come across these bag search checkpoints within the transit system. I was not picked out to be searched but I walked in front of the table and took out my phone, took their picture and walked away toward the ferry. The officers then followed and and surrounded me in the main lobby area. They asked for my phone. I refused and put it in my pocket. They asked why I took their picture. I said they were violating the 4th amendment. They said “What’s that, what am I doing?” I repeated.

The officer on the far right in the picture said, “Don’t take my picture.” I informed him I had a legal right to take his picture and that I had a copy of the law in my bag and I would show it to him if he’d like. He said, “I don’t care about the law, I said not to take my picture.” I took a step back and laughed as I found it funny that the police officer was telling me he didn’t care about the law. This made the officer rather mad. He grew angry and kept saying, “Don’t take my picture!” I again said clearly and loudly so the crowd around me could hear, “Again, I have a legal right to take your picture and you’re violating the constitution which is why I’m taking your picture, as I am documenting your violations.” He said again, “I don’t care, just don’t take my picture.” He asked, “Did you see me go through any pockets?” I said, “No, but you’re doing bag searches and that violates the 4th amendment.” This type of conversation went on for a few minutes back and forth while they, the police officers, all formed a circle around me. Eventually, they just walked away.



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