MTA Officers Detain Man For Taking Pictures

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland Transit Administration says more training may be called for after three MTA officers detained a man for taking pictures at a light rail station.

Pat Warren has more on the incident.

According to the ACLU, this isn’t the first time MTA Police have overstepped their bounds.

In a YouTube posting, Christopher Fussell left the camera rolling when he was confronted by three MTA officers for taking pictures at the Baltimore Cultural Light Rail Station.

“It is my understanding that I am free to take pictures as long as it’s not for commercial purposes but for personal use,” Fussell said in the video.

“Not on state property, not without proper authorization,” an officer said.

Fussell:  “From who?”

Officer:  “Nobody’s allowed to take pictures.”

The MTA admits the officers were in error.

“They can most certainly take photos of our system,” Ralign Wells, the MTA Administrator, said.

In addition to being wrong about MTA and state policy, the officer incorrectly cites the Patriot Act.

“Listen, listen to what I’m saying.  The Patriot Act says that critical infrastructure, trains, train stations, all those things require certain oversight to take pictures, whether you say they are for personal use or whatever, that’s your story,” the officer said.

“So why don’t you have any signs posted to say I cannot take pictures?” Fussell said.

“Our officers have become very sensitive post 9/11 and we’re trying to see that they understand our passengers and citizens also have a right to take pictures,” Wells said.

The officer eventually threatened to take Fussell into custody.

“Do you have Maryland state identification on you?” the officer asked.

“I am not committing a crime,” Fussell said.

“Sir, I’m going to ask you one last time, then I’m going to take you into custody.  Do we understand each other?” the officer said.

The ACLU considers it harassment by the MTA.

“This is not South Africa under apartheid and in this country, police do not have the right to walk up to you and demand you produce identification to them,” said David Rocah, ACLU.

The MTA acknowledges that additional training is in order.

“We’ll look at our training processes, we’ll look at whether any administrative situations need to occur with those officers,” Wells said.

The ACLU says it’s been working with the MTA on this very issue for five years, with no satisfactory result.

Fussell was detained for more than 40 minutes before MTA Police finally let him go on his way.

More from Pat Warren
  • Bad Police Officers

    Did anyone apologize to the detained man?

    • Peachy Peach

      Bullies,if you don’t know what you’re talking about ,dont quote. It makes u look big and dumb.Now I can c y the drivers act so stupid. God help all of u.

    • lwlfnm

      Police believe they are our masters. Welcome to USSA

      • Lionel

        @Chet we cannot ban photos, because when do we draw the line? Do you use a knife to cut your steak? there’s a potential weapon. What about a bag to carry your groceries? you could suffocate someone.

        I think you also forget about the gang violence INSIDE the USA, why don’t we just banish all blacks and 16 year old males? Keep the government the hell out of my life please.

        Millions of harmless photos are taken everyday, yet we don’t have millions of terrorist attacks everyday. Last time I checked I take a lot of pics, and yet crazily enough I’m still not a terrorist.

      • Damon Emanuel Hicks

        if you think all police are terrible before you make a statement like that, try to imagine how terrible it would be with out police!

      • T. R. Hickey

        Chet: Tell the people of Oklahoma City that they only need be concerned of men of Middle-Eastern extraction. Security is a vital concern that needs serious attention, not glib application of prejudice.
        I’ve personally been detailed by NJ Transit police for taking pictures of light rail trains from a public sidewalk as part of my job, WITH a photo ID issued by NJ Transit stating I was a contractor working on light rail (“it wasn’t issued by our department” was their response to the ID card).
        Go on-line and see what Google Streetview will show you—I can right now and I am writing this from Abu Dhabi.
        The threat of terrorism is real and needs to be confronted every day, but misquoting the Patriot Act to railfan photographers is just bad policing. The MTA needs to get serious.

      • Joe America

        Chet, the reality is that you and I have a better chance of dying from a f****** BEE STING than from a terrorist attack, yet you choose to live in total fear and applaud the government that puts it’s hand down your (and your wife’s) pants in order to PROTECT you. Hmmm… maybe we ought to spend the billions of $$$ on making sure nobody in this country ever dies of a bee sting again; or goes to bed hungry again. Wake up Chet.

      • Kitty

        Chet, It’s people like you that ALLOW your freedoms to be slowly ERASED by the system. You are NO more free by profiling some guy with a camera and questioning him. It’s designed to make you THINK you are safe because, well, you’ve got nothing to hide, right? WRONG. You have rights and freedoms in this country. And police cannot just go around locking you up for something that’s clearly NOT illegal.

        I don’t want YOUR police state.

      • Cohen

        @Chet. I see that you are a master in math. Shame you didn’t master common sense.

        You claim that you are able to catalogue many pages of terrorist acts by Muslims. How many volumes can you catalogue of terrorist acts by Christians or Jews? Or do you only have a biased view of the world that we live in?

        Did you know that ‘All terrorists are Muslims…except for the 94% that aren’t…”?


      • Thebes

        I’ve heard a new term for it recently.


        Unlike Pinochet’s Chili and others, the USSA provides the illusion of choice. But do something the Police or a Corporation doesn’t like and you get the smack down just the same. The Corporate news rarely covers it, and the power hungry leaders pretend its “necessary” for our “safety”.

        The truth is throughout world history GOVERNMENTS kill more of their own subjects than foreign enemies. Don’t let it happen here!

      • Chet

        If this man was of Middle-Eastern extraction, we’d all be singing a different tune…and rightly so. You folks want to go back to a 9-10 world, but it exists only in your fantasies.

        Meanwhile, the more Muslims we allow to immigrate into America, the more terrorists and potential terrorists we will have to keep track of. Even if we buy into the narrative that only 1/10th of 1% of Muslims are violent jihadis, in a Muslim-American population estimated at between 2 and 6 million, that’s an army of between 2000 and 6000…and growing.

        Wake up, folks! Have we learned nothing from 9-11, Madrid, London, Mumbai, Beslan, Bali (1 &2), Nairobi & Dar es Salam, etc., etc., etc. (one could catalogue for pages).

        The soothing exhortations of our politicians and academics notwithstanding, Islam is anything but “peace”. Better wake up.

      • beedogs

        Hey, Chet. You’re a racist piece of garbage.

        And you’re also wrong.

        Just thought you should know.

      • Dave

        Chet, you’re afraid of your own shadow. It’s a pity to see so many spineless, limp wrist “men” these days. Put on your sundress and go sashay around the town square, Chet.

    • lwlfnm

      It was a same policy in the former USSR. No pictures of bridges, factories, power stations, trains etc. Spies are everywhere.

      • BobbyJ

        My family visited the former USSR in 1979 and we took hundreds of pictures and made several home movies. No one ever said a word to us. Come over sometime and I can bore you with several hours of home movies shot in Moscow.

      • Hoot4RE

        Once upon a time, over 60 years ago, some innocent looking Japanese tourists took some innocent “personal” pictures at a place called Pearl Harbor. Not LONG after that, the BOMBS started falling….,

      • MIchael

        @ Hoot4RE: Once upon a time, over 10 years ago, an innocent looking tourist took some innocent ‘personal’ pictures of a place called the World Trade Center. Not LONG after that, the PLANES came…

        Oh wait, millions of innocent people take billions of innocent pictures of important sites and events every day! It’s called tourism, not terrorism, and photography is protected by the Constitution.

      • Nate

        @Hoot4RE Once upon a time, over 10 days ago, I stubbed my toe walking up a flight of stairs. Should we now ban the construction and use of stairs? Get a grip. This is still, for now, the USA.

    • B American

      These officers DON”T NEED training. Fire them for GROSS incompetence. Their supervisor needs fired. These are the lowest 10% and need to lose their pensions, benefits and start over doing something else.

      • Andrew

        I agree and would throw in gross arrogance and inflated self importance?

      • Don

        2 days ago I pulled over on the road leading out of BWI (Rental car facility) the BWI police came and demanded photoID from me. I asked what was wrong, was i not allowed to stop, he said no. There are no signs saying no stopping or standing. I was running late for work, or else I would put up a challenge.

    • fred

      The police involved should be forced to wear signs that say “Fascist” as punishment.

      • John Patricio

        Actually the word “Fascist” doesn’t apply in this situation. Fascism has to do with economic power and control. The federal Reserve and big banks are more fascist than a cop incorrectly doing their job. I’m with you in your sentiments, but you just used the wrong word.

      • Thomas

        Or shirts that say “I’m with STUPID” that point to one another!

      • Chief Mojo

        Welcome to the Affirmative Action police state!

    • Dale

      Did the news team need “permission” to videotape their story from the light rail station?

      • hsmom

        That is such a great point! Probably not – mainstream media are in the privileged class in the USSR-oops USA

    • Patrick

      I got the exact same treatment after trying to take a picture of the plane I flew back into the country on from England. Thank you Minneapolis TSA! This is a much bigger story than this isolated incident in Maryland.

      • gkjos

        I had the same issue with Mpls TSA at airport light rail

    • IraqVet

      They don’t have to…The unPatriot Act, Fear and this endless war on terrorism lets them do anything they want just ask DHS, TSA, BATF, FBI, DARPA, CON-gress, our judiciary et al…all paid for by the fearful…Boo!

    • MGM4706

      Apologize for what?? If he turned out to be a Bomber and killed hundreds on the trains you KNOW the medai would hang these officers for not doing their jobs. Shut-up and show the ID!!

      • Peter

        @Thebes, Oh my word. So true.

      • Thebes

        Apologise for taking a dump on the US Constitution.

    • Matt Smolinski

      So call Station 30? Shhoooor! Thats what it sounded like to me.
      Sad you have to do stupid things like not show your ID to keep your freedom.
      Sad they bothered him so much about nothing, sad he had to do what he did. Most reasonable people just show their ID. But I understand his reasons. What would you do?

  • JackDaniels


    • nic

      I am very against what the cops did but if they must stand around and appear to do nothing then that means there are no problems. I would rather have them there doing nothing than not being there at all, however they need to get off the power trip of arresting photographers and tasering innocent victims.

      • beedogs

        I would rather not have them there at all.

  • Jimmie Yates

    A similiar situation happened to me in Druid Hill Park near the swimming pool area on May 28, 2011. I was verbally assault by a female cop who made me and my wife leave the pool area. I was taking pictures as I always do. She never told me why I could not take pictures. I am a 63-year old retrired Combat Veteran, who fought in Vietnam to protect our freedom. Her attitude was agressive and domineerig. I was in 3 different hopitals back in January for a heart attack. They put a stent in my heart. I am also diabetic and take insulin everyday. I felt so bad, insulted and dehumaninzed by this female policewoman. My heart started pounding hard in my chest, my body started to shake, and I became very weak. I am a law abiding citizen and I love Baltimore. I am now afriad to leave my house, because I don’t know whats going to happen next. Policemans need to learn how to talk to citizens with more respect, in a peaceful mode. I am still shock and hurting from this insult. My name is Jimmie Yates, email is: What should I do at this point, let it pass?

    • James

      The policewoman was very loud, authoritative and would not give me time to answer her questions. Wait to it happens to you, and it probably will sooner or later. They need to change their behavior pattern before someone lose control on one of them. God bless America!!!!!

    • James

      Small countries are being overthrown by the people, will this happen in the US.

    • James

      I have already started a complaint, she will be notified. Gotta change her behavior toward the citizens of Baltimore. She was wrong, she needs a new job.

    • Gote Sehks

      I think you have more problems than you are telling. The fact that you were taking pictures of scantily clothed kids, without bringing any kids of your own, freaked the soccer moms out, and they called the cops over. I applaud the officer admonishing you.


      Jimmie, I’m sorry but years ago in an attempt to level the playing field for “disadvantaged blacks” in America, they lowered the standards to qualify to be a law enforcement officer so that the percentage of black officers would equal the national percentage of blacks in the general population. That directive came all the way from the Supreme Court.
      The long term affect was that over time, standards were lowered for ANY and ALL applicants and NOW enforcement agencies throughout the United States are filled with untrained, unqualified, and over zealous officers who don’t know where enjoyment ends and enforcement begins.

    • Ryan

      Fist off, thanks for your service. If what you are saying is true, then perhaps you have a right to be ticked, I would be too. However, you medical conditions have nothing to do with an officer doing their job. I’m just being honest when I say stick to the facts, and get away from the whining, because it discredts your complaint. Also, if you truly are a combat veteran (which I’ll take your word for), from one person who’s put it on the line for this country to another… I find it hard to believe that a female cop being an idiot makes you “afraid” to leave your house… get over it. Next time if you feel you are being mistreated, demand to get their name and badge number, and make a complaint. If you don’t, then that’s on you. If they don’t give it to you, remember the car # that they are using. It’s only assisgned to 1 or 2 police at a time. Go out and enjoy yourself my good man.

      • nic

        Get over it??? I don’t think so. It would pi$$ me off also. Redneck power hungry cops can ki$$ my a$$.

      • John Boy

        Ryan, not every issue involves a democratic subversive. What I am sure Jimmie is saying is that this cop ticked him off and he suffered a form of anxiety attack that he normally wouldn’t suffer on a day out in public. In combination with his physical condition, this anxiety was putting his life In DANGER. RUDE law enforcement personnel should find another job. IF COPS ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE AFFECTED BY THEIR JOB AND THEY CAN’T MAINTAIN THEIR COMPOSURE, THEY DO NOT NEED TO BE IN THE LAW ENFORCEMENT FIELD. Both my father and my older brother were cops. Before he passed my father would make comments on how cops have become rude. This change in thought patterns on the part of cops is a symptom of a US vs. THEM mentality. We are the citizens. They are here to protect US. If they fear for their lives-GET ANOTHER JOB.

      • Byzantine Ruins

        ***Next time if you feel you are being mistreated, demand to get their name and badge number, and make a complaint.***

        Write the complaint on a piece of toilet paper and flush it down the commode for equivalent results to complaining to the police about their own misconduct.

        Police in this country have been let to have far too much power for far too long.

      • JoLene Litz

        Ryan, Although I agree with your advice to “get over it”, perhaps you do not understand how intimidating this kind of experience can be for some. There are few things worse than being innocent and then having a cop treat you as a criminal – threats and all. For those who respect authority (police), an incident like this CAN traumatize you. It turns your worldview on its head. It produces as much anxiety and stress as finding out that the beliefs you have based your whole life upon are false beliefs. I think the man would do well for himself if he at least called and filed a complaint against that woman bully cop. But I also do not think there is anything that can help this man get over his trauma other than changing his belief system and recognizing that MANY MANY cops are not from Mayberry, but are power tripping idiots.

      • Vicky

        Ryan,I agree it would have behooved him to have stuck to his facts regarding the incident but I just wanted to give you a little insight into what I believe is happening with Mr. Yates. The problem he is having could be causing a lack of oxygen to the brain because the heart can not pump the blood sufficiently. Regardless of how brave you may have been in the past a couple of years of oxgyen deprivation really takes it out of you in a particularly slow and merciless way. It causes the body itself to be in an almost constant state of anxiety nearing panic depending upon how oxygen-deprived it is. It can be a particularly frightening time, like trying to breathe in a room with only a little oxgyen in it for months. It is exhausting and difficult for anyone who has never been there to understand. You can’t even debate without your body going into fight or flight mode and is very frustrating to say the least. You feel betrayed by your own body. Remember mercy, have grace. I was there at one time. It was freaky to say the least because I didn’t know understand what was going on. I went from being a strong, active and overcoming sort of woman to being afraid to answer my own door. Heart is better now and I’m getting back out there living a wonderful and full life. Also, to those who are asking why he was taking photos at a pool, I can’t speak for him but for myself, I could no longer work in my yards and gardens while I was ill so I took up photography again. It was therapeutic and gave me an outlet. It is easy to do and takes no toll on you physically for the most part. Water shots can be great. Catching the water droplets as they fly into the air, laughter upon childrens faces, sunlight across the water………lots of opportunities for wonderful photos.

      • JQP

        Really? Wow, talk about people on a superiority trip….who do you folks think you are critiquing this guy’s post? I mean, seriously! What is wrong with you?

        Jimmie, some people are as inconsiderate of your feelings as that police officer was of the potential effect her puffed-up ego was on your health. Just plain self-centered and thoughtless. I am sorry that you and your wife had to endure such a scene.

        And, Jimmie, welcome home.

    • Donnie Ricciardi

      They might have thought you were a pedophile taking pictures at a swimming area. If I had a daughter and you were taking pictures at a pool, I would probably throw your camera in the pool.

      • Tom R.

        because everyone who takes pictures at a pool is a pedophile. What?
        Jimmie Yates has every right to feel nervous and threatened by police who have become even less friendly and more combative and paramilitary. I think everyone should take video as soon as they are confronted by police. Its the only leverage we have against them.

      • jen

        right, because you have the right to take someone’s camera and do with it as you please without knowing ANYTHING about this person taking pictures? You must be part of the new Gestapo

      • noe bodie

        because you are an idiot

      • copssuck

        and if your aunt had balls she’d be your uncle, what’s your point? You weren’t there and obviously don’t have a daughter so why are you interjecting? Probably a cop. Only another cop would even attempt to defend what cops do.

      • Billiam

        Another brilliant statement by one of MD’s finest citizens – get real! Yep – everyone who comes to a pool with a camera is a pedophile. I’m sure you are of the opinion that everyone who owns a gun is a criminal, too. Donnie – you sound like a loose cannon – think before you speak

      • FEDUP1776

        Wow Donnie, really? But you dont mind the T.S.A thugs groping your daughter at the airport no doubt. All in the name of security.It’s people like you and the others who tell others to get over it that are letting our country be over run by people like the MTA. Grow a spine and wake up before we have no freedoms left…like taking pictures in a public place!

      • Carl

        And why does it matter if pedophiles take pictures? Do you want to turn into a fascist state because you are afraid that a pervert might be masturbating to pictures?

    • thetruthshallsetyoufree

      Sorry about your harassment. Just one point: the US military has not defended our freedom or our country since the War of 1812. No offense intended – just a fact (and I served too, a fact that I am less proud of all the time).

      • ProudToServe

        …and as one who has also served, proudly. you have no honor.

      • lee

        Are you an idiot? Do you not see the bombing of Pearl Habor as a direct attack on America. There were innocent people at that harbor too. I suppose you think as long as troops aren’t physically marching on continental US, that we’re not in any danger. Maybe you’d think differently if you were on the other side of an atom bomb dropping on your house, or if your daughter was killed in a drive by shooting from Mexican Mafia because it was a Tuesday.
        Get off your house you ungrateful slob. If you feel that way, I wish you never took up military service; you weren’t needed.

      • ryan

        I want to respond to Lee who responded to this comment. I highly suggest you go look at the history of what led to our involvement in World War 2. Japan attacked pearl harbor because we attacked them first economically by locking them out of the oil and coal market. Since Japan is an island they rely on imports for power. And if you are locked out of the world market for coal and oil that you need, what options do you have? (Cuba anyone?) Japan attacked pearl harbor because of this. We then entered world war 2. True, there were innocent people killed at Pearl Harbor but the attack was not unprovoked. Thetruthshallsetyoufreeès statement is 100% true. Just because you canèt see behind the flag you wrapped yourself in does not mean that these things didnt happen. You get your own opinion but you dont get your own facts. And when you look at the facts of our history as a country, almost every war we have been in has been a war that we provoked ourselves (WW2), were lied into (Vietnam war, Iraq War 2, Afghanistan) or were to fulfill treaty obligations (WW1, Gulf War 1).

      • lee

        So, if we’re in a disagreement. And I’m your supplier… and I stop selling to you and convince others to stop selling to you, you come and kill my daughter in her sleep.

        Do you have any idea what the Japanese did to the Chinese “unprovoked”. Or what they intended to eventually do? Do you have any idea that Hitler wasn’t just interested in Europe. He was working on intercontinental missiles.

        Wait, that’s right, the Jews provoked Hitler.

        You’re style of thinking would allow barbarians around to world to kill innocent people simply because they feel they were economically mistreated. So when Iran lands a nuke on your hometown, I’m led to believe you are prepared to bend over and take it, because apparently we provoked some evil dictator somewhere.

        That logic is failure. And it’s this pacifism mentality that’s setting a big fat target on America, not embargoes that we set against tyrannical governments.

      • lee

        But wait… it gets better.

        By your logic WE NEVER DEFENDED America. 1812, American Revolution, French Indian war… You can look at all of that and “define” some group we “provoked”.

      • colin

        you speak the truth. no credible occupying force has ever threatened the US. Even the war of 1812 was only a small expeditionary force in a land of 7.5 million. fought for our freedom is garbage.

        you have to go all the way back to the revolutionary war for a credible threat to our freedom.

        propaganda artists get mad and the spit drips down their face but they dont bring any arguments

      • lee

        You don’t get it…. you have to maintain freedom. Sure no one’s threatened us in any single POINT in history. However, if we did NOTHING, eventually someone would gain enough ground. If someone slaps you in the face day after day, you lay them out…. you don’t wait until they bring a gun.

      • Ha ha

        your comment is totally irrelevant.

      • tom343

        You should have listened to the good people you served with instead of the snivelers who spend their golden years rationalizing their sniveling.

    • scott

      never put the @ sign online….say”at”or something else……WebBots scan pages for emails and that’s how you get spam….)'(

    • marc

      And some people scoff at resisting authorities and the government. You are a good example, for all those who think it is necessary, in a “post 9/11 world”, to trample on liberties and freedom, to realize that their freedoms are at threat too. Many think abusing freedom and liberty is OK as long as it is “them” that it’s happening to, but it will be too late when they come for you.

      I am going to show your story to my dad, because he is one of those guys that don’t realize the abstract dangers of these kinds of behaviors. As a student of dictatorships/authoritarian regimes and government in general; I know, unopposed, they always lead to oppression because the authorities cannot be trusted to self-regulate.

    • Darrel

      Were you taking pics of the kids in the pool in swim wear? If so you are lucky a parent didn’t shove the camera up your azz.

      • ProudToServe

        And they would be lucky if i didn’t press charges for assault, theft, and preventing me from exercisingmy rights as a free citizen. Idiot

    • Randall

      Jimmie, I live in Canada and wasn’t going to comment on this story because from where we are up here most Canadians think the USA has gone way over the top and is now a police state and commenting on it is futile, lost cause.. Security and the military industrial complex are the only real industries left in America. I’m 61 and remember what is was like not to live in fear. I feel sorry for you people down there and to a certain extent the people of Canada because they border your country. Also I’m not surprised at some of the insensitive comments from people who don’t understand diabetes. I have it as well. Diabetics are especially prone to strokes and heart attacks if under stress. It doesn’t take much stress compared to a person without diabetes. Stress can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and blood pressure. The situation you faced was indeed life threatening while it would not be for the average person. It’s happened to me over little things and so i fully understand. You must also realize that most people in uniform, whether military, police or mall cops are, for the most part uneducated and morally challenged. Listen to Alex Jones and he will help you understand the tyranny we are all facing which is very similar to Germany in 1933. The Patriot Act is exactly what happened in Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany. Many people who have commented on this thread are woefully ignorant and uneducated, You can always identify these people by the fear in their lives that prompts them to fall into the hands of the tyrants and give up all their constitutionally given rights. Just remember to try to stay away from the pigs. It won’t be long before the USA is under total lock down. Best to leave it now if you are able. Most intelligent Germans left Germany in the early ’30s because they could see what was happening. Well, you know what happened to those who stayed.

      • Jimmie

        Thank You, someone understands whats happening to this country.

      • tom343

        It happens my son and I are railroad fans; we view and photograph trains. After 9/11, New Jersey Transit (NJT) tried instituting such a policy. A local rail fan publication advised us to write to our politicians. A fury of letters and phone calls caused the ban to ignominiously end.
        All cops have a hard, sometimes even dangerous job. Some let it get the best of them or fall in love with the power or get entrapped in the we-vs-them syndrome. Once a famous steam engine ran on NJT tracks. People came from overseas to photograph it. As it pulled into a terminal crowded with people, NJT cops saw fit to drive their vehicles on each side of this locomotive, ‘pacing’ it as it were, and ruining the images these people wanted, Why? Probably because their scheme to save the system by running off the fans failed. Vindictive! Cops are trained that they must take charge first and foremost.

  • David~

    I in part agree with sheriff.
    Although I certainly think the Patriot Act intrudes on our rights, sometimes it saves lives.
    Why was this man taking pictures there and on such a hot day even? This was either staged to get attention for the man or ACLU, etc., OR maybe in the next days or weeks the same man will return to there or other locations he may have taken photos of and place a fake or even real bomb. Then if anyone dies, the ACLU will be guilty of murder! And the well intentioned officers who confronted the “photographer” will win awards for non-stupidity instead of at risk for losing their jobs.


      A well trained seasoned officer with a little common sense can tell the difference between a terrorist and a tourist. Asking a couple questions of the sight seer can reveal much about his obvious or not so obvious activities. And then IF there is reason for suspicion the officer has many technologies with which he enforces law every day that can help reveal whether or not this citizen is a threat or not.
      And finally, picture taking is NOT against the law unless there are signs posted. An officer CANNOT by himself decide pictures can’t be taken. His supervisors made THAT clear enough.

    • Frank

      Forgot to take you meds again did you. The Patriot Act is federal law, local law enforcement has no authority to act on federal law. Think not? Ask Arizona about enforcing illegal immigration.

      • E. R. Gregg

        The Patriot Act is LAW. Be it local or Federal, police are required to enforce law. Arizona is well within its rights to enforce, or more to the point, HELP enforce Federal law. Obviously, the Feds need the assistance.
        As for the Patriot Act, you must consider that most laws are intentionally mislabeled. Erosion of rights and invasion of privacy is wrong no matter the reason. Get a court order before you try to take our rights away. That is the purpose of the courts. They are to make the government, whether FBI or School Officer, pursue “due process” BEFORE a citizen, or resident alien for that matter, has her rights revoked.
        Taking pictures CAN be a suspicious act, but the officer could’ve simply asked “Why.” Chances are strong that the citizen would’ve given a fantastic tale of how they were planning to destroy civilization as we know it by photographing beautiful architecture, converging rail lines or people for art’s sake.
        I am by no means a liberal. I am, however, an ardent supporter of FREEDOM no matter the cost.
        “Give me liberty or give me death.” — Patrick Henry (subversive terrorist)

      • Joe American

        E.R. Gregg is an “ardent supporter of FREEDOM”????

        Get into your TSA line with your wife and let us pat you down and fondle you and her both… take off your shoes and hold your hands to your face so that we can pound you with radiation. No pictures allowed… show me your ID, and hey, let me have another crack at patting down your wife.. we like her. Enjoy your freedom you stupid f***** sheep.

      • E. R. Gregg

        @Joe American:

        Did you bother to read anything before posting?
        I abhor the removal of the rights of the people at the hands of government without due process. Pat downs are included.

        Look before you leap, sir.

        Freedom means being able to do as I please, as long as, it does not interfere with others right to do the same. Freedom also means, taking the responsibility of accepting that bad things may happen due to that freedom. Unfortunately, that includes dealing with people who do read well.

      • E. R. Gregg

        and bad typists like myself . . .

        dealing with people who do not read well.

    • JohnnyRuss

      David, how many lives has the Patriot Act saved? Would you make the same excuses for “well intentioned” Gestapo during the 1930s who, while putting “undesirables” into camps, were telling the German people that it was for their own protection. Don’t be a sheep. These people are not saving you from anything – they’re more of a danger than any terrorist out there.

    • MT

      Wow, are you wrong.
      Have you ever heard of a terrorist named Christopher?

      By law, we have the right to photograph anything we see as long as we are lawfully in a public place.

      I was wrongfully approached by TSA after taking pictures of them patting down one of my friends in the airport in 2002. It is embarrassing to get pulled aside by security in public when you are not committing any crime.

      The problem here isn’t citizens with cameras, it’s police that don’t even know the laws that they are supposed to be upholding. Its called incompetence.

      • Dave

        Wake up America – your political correctness is sickening. And to jump from the Patriot act to the genocidal Gestapo is simply a weak-minded attempt to equate the biggest genocide in history vs. listening to terrorists discuss plits against America. And has the Patriot Act saved lives? Of course. Obama ran on platforms to shut down Gitmo, close the Patriot Act, try terrorists in open court – then what happened? He actually became President and understood the threat we actually face – thus, he kept EVERYTHING in place and amped up drone strikes in Pakistan.

        Wake up America – despite your best intentions, people will ALWAYS want you dead.

        Oh and terrorists named Christopher? Countless.

        Here’s a good one for you to review. Your ignorance is disturbing.

    • Mike

      “Those who surrender liberty for security deserve neither.”

    • Mark

      You show how little you know David. You want to live in a police state rob a bank and you will get all the security you desire. It is a camera not a gun. Plans for rail stations can be found very easy. When I was young and in school we were taught how bad Russia was because their way of thinking was if there is not a law allowing you do something it was not allowed. Where the USA was the opposite. Now it has become if we don’t tell you that you can do it, it is against the law. More people die every year in auto accidents than in all the terror deaths of the last 50 years. Sounds like we would do better to get rid of cars.

    • Ryan

      “maybe in the next days or weeks the same man will return to there or other locations he may have taken photos of and place a fake or even real bomb”

      You seem to have thought this through a little too much. I think it’s time to have a police officer dig into your background, internet history, medical records, and phone records to ensure you’re not planning anything. I know it may intrude on your rights, but it’s just to keep us all save. I know you’ll understand.

    • Jeff

      I take pictures of all kinds of things for the sake of taking pictures. I enjoy photography. Sometimes, I take pictures of buildings or vehicles or trains. I just like taking pictures.

      That’s all the reason I should need.

    • cops are crazy

      wow, that’s some logic you got there. So if a cop shoots into a crowd of 1000 people randomly and happens to kill a guy who may be a murderer one day in the future than that action would be justified? MORONIC. Again, only a cop would try to justify the actions of another cop. The public knows cops are paranoid, angry, self-righteous and often dangerous. I fear cops more than criminals, at least with a criminal I have a chance to defend myself.


        Cops aren’t crazy. People who think all cops are there to take away your freedoms and harass the public are the crazy ones.
        But you go ahead and fear the cops and make friends with the criminals . . . . or maybe you already have???

      • Thebes

        Why do imbeciles like the one below presume anyone against a Police State must be a criminal?

        Poor products of a failed public education system that no longer teaches about the history of tyranny.

    • colin

      No one understands patriot act but everyone has an opinion. The patriot act was completely unnecessary because we already had the FISA court..

      That is why our FISA court judges staged a protest during the the bills passage. Have strong opinions about things you understand.

      Civil liberties and war are not something to have an ignorant opinion about.

    • tom343

      We earn punishment and even incarceration for what we do, not what we could do. Prior restraint means rights denied. Laws should not be made to make cop’s jobs easier.

  • David~

    and it is sad that Baltimore City at least as portrayed in this wjz article thinks its ok to encourage terrorism and rogue bombers. try listening to police scanners in other juristictions. in some cases you will find that less serious incidents are taken seriously, as they should be. yet another reason to run for the suburbs… are they telling us its ok to be killed by a bus or light rail in baltimore city, but it is not ok for a citizen to be killed in D.C. or maryladn suburbs? how about they send a message stating a zero tolerance policy for our citizens being killed buy terrorists or rogue terrorists.

  • JackT

    >>Why was this man taking pictures there and on such a hot day even?

    Because he WANTED TO. That’s the essence of a free country — you may do as you please without permission from anyone.

    • Solid Citizen

      Agreed … the concept of civil liberty for the citizens of this nation is becoming quite foreign to law enforcement.

      Quo warranto, B.O.?

      • David in Dallas

        And apparently to a lot of non-LEO folks….

    • John Doe

      Yes, yes, yes! Exactly.

    • MoKahuna

      I have no doubt that Jimmie had the legal right to take pictures at the pool, but I would still be concered about why he was doing so. Was he taking photos of his family at the pool? No problem. Otherwise, who was the subject of his picture taking. Little kids in swimsuits, or just underage girls (or boys)? It all sounds a little creepy to me, and as a parent I would remove my kids from the area if I saw some guy with a camera taking random photos.

      • Rob

        It is none of your business to know why Jimmy was taking pictures. You have no more right to ask than the officers did.

      • MoKahuna

        I’m not saying I have the right to know why someone is taking pictures. However, I do have the right to use common sense and remove my kids from a situation that I believe may be inappropriate, or dangerous. To be clear, I’m not defending the cops, just stating that as a parent I would be concerned about Jimmie’s actions, and would react accordingly, as is my right. Remember, we ALL have rights.

      • lee

        You have the right to act in response to a situation however you want as long as you don’t infringe on the rights of others.

        In other words, take responsibility for your own actions and stop expecting the government to protect you from getting your feelings hurt. If you see a dangerous situation, leave quickly. However, you have no right to stop a person from taking pictures of a public area. If they were taking pictures of you, you could ask them to stop in a civil manner. If they continue to bother you, it’s harassment. However, you can’t physically assault the guy by removing his camera, or forcing him to leave.

        In short, protect yourself within the law. Don’t rely on others. And stop thinking you have the right to not have your feelings hurt.

      • cops are crazy

        none of your f$#%^&%G business man, because he WANTED TO. Maybe he was taking pics of his family or grandkids. You’re so paranoid and presumptuous that you must be a cop too.

      • Marbran

        Holding suspicions like yours isexactly how the ruling elite want us to think of each other. When we are paranoid of our neighbors and see malicious intent everywhere, we are more apt to report on our neighbors. Everyone at the pool is in open view of the public, and they consent to public observation simply by being there. That’s the difference between private versus public property. Yates could be photographing from the pool deck, or an adjacent apartment building – it doesn’t matter. He hasn’t committed any crime until he actually breaks a law. But in your paranoid mind, Yates must be a pedophile taking pictures of young children.

      • MoKahuna

        Wow. I think some of you need to go back and read what I posted again. I did not suggest that the cops should get involved. I did not suggest that I or anyone else should be able to infringe on the rights of others. I did not say he should not be able to take picture of his family at the pool (in fact, I said the opposite). What I did say that I, personally, would not feel comfortable having a stranger take pictures of my kids at the pool, and I would remove them from that situation. I did not suggest that I would approach the photographer, or interfere with his/her rights to take photos in a public area. And to be absolutely clear, I did not suggest the photographer was a pedophile, or any other kind of criminal.

        However, as a parent, my primary responsibility is to protect my kids. If I think there is the slightest chance that they might be at risk, you can be sure that I will act to protect them, even though I may be wrong. I would rather be wrong, and have them be safe, than have been right but failed to act in the name of political correctness. Sorry, but I stand by my previous posts.

  • jen

    move along – nothing to see here …keep your eyes down at all times like good sheep…um I men People.


  • Rochesterwatch

    First of all, David, it’s better to be free than safe. Second, none of these abuses of our freedoms actually make you any more safe. There are plenty of places you can go if you prefer to live in a police state, but some of us are trying to keep America comfortable for those of us who have the courage to live free.

    • lee

      The courage to live free sometimes involves being responsible for your own security. If that means leaving a public area, so be it. America provides protection from illegal activity, not from potentially embarrassing activity.

  • Geno

    You know what is funny? You can Google Baltimore MTA and get THOUSANDS of pictures! LOL. And they are worried about a guy snapping some? Stupid!

  • John Steele

    The terrorists have won; they have our government violating our constitution in the name of “protecting” us..

  • Police Cite PATRIOT Act, Detain man for taking pics at rail station |

    […] to the ACLU, this isn’t thefirst time MTA police have overstepped their […]

  • Karl Fey

    For those not familiar with train fans, it is not uncommon to stand out in ALL kinds of weather to get a coveted photo. It may seem weird if it’s not your hobby, but the railroads are quite used to people standing trackside taking photos and video. Amtrak finally got the right idea when it realized that railfans – photographers in particular – knew more about their railroad then they did, and instead of locking them up, now has an online registration program which, in effect, deputizes the railfan/photographer. If such a program is good enough for Amtrak, it should certainly work for MTA. If something strange is going on, these are the people who will recognize it faster than anyone and report it promptly. Railroads should be grateful that they literally have armies of unpaid guardians watching their property.

  • Tom

    I live in Laredo Texas, the largest port of entry for freight in the United States. I was taking pictures of a railroad bridge which crosses the Rio Grande. I was approached by US Border Patrol and told I could not take pictures of the bridge. I continued to do so, and told the agent that I was on public property and had every right to take photographs, which is what I do for a living. The agent did nothing but go on her way.

    I would have had no problem explaining to her what I was doing, and why, and even would have shown her ID or a passport. She did not ask for that.

    Photos taken from public property require NO permission. The only issue you may have is if recognizable people are in the photo and you publish it without proper releases.

    As a republican from Texas, I soy go ACLU.

    • Marbran

      So, she told you that you couldn’t take the pictures, you countered by telling her your rights as a citizen in a public place, and she then walked away?? A complaint should have been filed! Does everyone see that this was a failed attempt by a government law enforcment official to get you to change your behavior based upon nothing but her own opinion of what you, the citizen, can and cannot do? Since you didn’t cave in, and you were aware of your rights, she had no choice but to move on – on to the next person where she probably made up some other rule violation. Report stuff like this every time!

  • Chris

    What kind of society have we become when we just give the authorities a hard time? I can’t believe they are doing their job! This would not be a story if the guy just would have cooperated just for a second and talked to them like a normal human for christ sake.

    What would have happened if there WERE terrorists doing recon for a plot? These same security guards would have been absolutely blasted for not doing their job!

    With all that being said, this was clearly a plant from the ACLU, I have no doubt in my mind. Either they, or some other wacko group sent this guy in and told him to be as suspicious as possible, then give the authorities a really hard time. It’s sick.

    • John Doe

      “What kind of society have we become when we just give the authorities a hard time?”

      We would then have become the kind of society where people value liberty and do not respect the authority of police who are in violation of the law. I’m pretty sure I’m wasting my time on you, badgelicker.

    • Mark

      Chris they were not doing their job. they were abusing their power in that job. It is the right of everyperson to be a jerk if they are doing no harm. Someone wants to take pictures of anything it is not against the law. Someone wants to call a policeman a name it is not against the law. It is time to stop regulating personal habits. And by the way WHAT TERRORIST…. it must be sad to be you and fear everything you see.

    • Mike Sarkisian

      They did their job incorrectly…that is the point! The ends do not justify the means!

    • JQP

      Chris, do you read the news in this city daily? There is so much corruption in the Baltimore City police department it is sickening. Listen, my Mom, Dad & brother are all cops, and even I think it is important to question authority when you sincerely believe them to be wrong… and this was wrong.

      …and,by the way, you’re very mentality is why people on both sides of the fence are paranoid. THEY are all plotting some kind of terrorist attack….THEY are trying to oppress us…. you need a little freedom from your own fear.


  • von Hemmingen

    Good thing he didn’t take a video of a State Trooper. He probably would have been jailed by the Maryland Gestapo. Maryland is a junior version of New York. I am so glad I moved back to Arizona. Here our only oppressor is the Federal government that sues our Sheriffs for doing their jobs. You guys North of VA should be a separate Peoples Republic and start your own stupid country. Your are too far in the toilet. And you let it happen to yourselves. Go back to sleep or wake up.

  • Mac from Texas

    He should get an apology at the very least, and some assurance that the officers will have some training in the Patriot Act (despite the apparent unconstitutionality of some of it).

    David Rocah’s invocation of South Africa was unnecessary hyperbole and shows just how out of touch and politically manipulative the ACLU really is. Learn your history, David. The US is nothing like SA under apartheid, nor is it anything like Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. If anything, it is like 1980s Britain – a once great country in socialist decline.

  • John Grant

    Remember the phrase “Hey! Its a free country!”? Well that’s over.

  • Fanny Forbes Franklen

    Fire them, sue them and try them for treason.

  • Solid Citizen

    From my experience the MTA is not most trustworthy organization. I was stopped one evening for a “tail light” violation just outside the main MTA area of jurisdiction. The officer noted the location on the citation as being several miles away near a Beltway exit which was nowhere near where he first observed the burnout license plate bulb. If the MTA police will lie about simple stuff, I have little doubt they will pull out the stops to coverup any transgression of civil liberty

    Quo warranto, B.O.?

  • ct redneck

    This is why I’ll be voting for Ron Paul. The system is corrupt from top to bottom it must stop now.

  • md

    david and sheriff and idiots. You are the reason this country is going to hell in a handbasket. its not about race dummy, its about our right to freedom. I guess you guys also are for torture and all the illegal wars because you think its cool or something. educate yourselves with history. I bet you believe the official story of 9/11 also. When did taking pictures become terrorism. It’s your own fear that keeps you in a backwards thought process. You won’t be satisfied until this country is a complete police state will you?

  • Miguel Saavadera

    Maryland and specifically Baltimore has a real problem with freedom of people to take pictures in PUBLIC. The state Police have numerous times, stopped, detained, warned people under the wire-tape law that taking pictures of them in public is a no-no.

    This needs to be worked up to the Supreme Court of the US … as a rule no one has a reasonable right of expectation of ‘privacy’ in a Public places such as the streets, roads, walks, or in public tansportation …

    And for David:

    “He who trades liberty for security deserves neither and will lose both.”
    — Thomas Jefferson

    • Marbran

      -Ben Franklin, actually.

      Also quoted with many different variations, but esentially the same sentiment.

  • Buck Ofama

    I don’t know why anyone is surprised. They don’t call that state the Soviet Socialist Republic of Maryland for nothing.

  • peterkuck

    Please understand that when no law is broken the process is the punishment.

  • Mike Harlow

    Of course more training is necessary. In this country the perp gets to blow things up and kill people first! That’s how the ACLU wants it.

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