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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Dangerous to be a photographer
Damon Tarver, Photographer
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 4:10 PM on 05.06.10
->> Why are the police roughing up he photogs? One gets shoved down from behind while he wasnt even looking or doing anything wrong for that matter...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl6RE-1m-0s&feature=player_embedded#!
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Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 5:08 PM on 05.06.10
->> Yes it is terrible .... however ... we don't know from the linked video what if anything may have been said by the photographer, police or protesters that could have impact on what happened .... we don't know ... but there is always the possibility the photog in question may have been asked to vacate the area and not respond to the request because he couldn't hear the request or thought the directive was for only the protestors ... we need more info to make a compete judgement

When you are in the front lines ... or as here,between the lines of a fluid situation ... there is quite a bit of chaos ... and you have to ready for anything ...
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 5:15 PM on 05.06.10
->> From the officer's point of view, he couldn't even see that it was a photographer; he was just being aggressive, possibly because of one of the reasons Butch mentioned... The other officers who saw him fall seemed concerned though.
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Bradly J. Boner, Photographer, Photo Editor
Jackson | WY | USA | Posted: 5:39 PM on 05.06.10
->> If you watch the video closely, the cop seen shoving the photographer into the frame at 17 seconds (the cop that falls on the ground) is the SAME cop who shoves the OTHER photographer from behind at 34 seconds. Seems to me that particular cop was targeting photographers. He didn't even have any interest in arresting them, just shoving them around.
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Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 5:57 PM on 05.06.10
->> That could very well be the case Bradly ... although when you are in a fluid situation like this ... being caught in "No Man's Land" between the too factions is not a safe place to be ... no more than getting between firefighters and a fire ... the commentator did say the police thought the protestors were about to storm the building ....

journalists are afforded special privileges in many countries ... but in such a situation you have to expect the possibility of repercussions if one side or both decide to treat you as the "enemy" .... no one likes to be targeted simply based on their occupation ... but I do believe we need more info here to make a judgement ....
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Bradly J. Boner, Photographer, Photo Editor
Jackson | WY | USA | Posted: 6:26 PM on 05.06.10
->> Butch - I agree that we don't have the whole story, but one thing is clear to me: The officer who shoved those photographers wasn't trying to arrest them or even get them to clear the area.

In the first shove at 17 seconds, we obviously don't know what, if anything, provoked the officer (the one who falls down at second 17) to shove photographer. The photog was shoved into some other officers, who appeared to only be reacting to having someone pushed into them. But you should note that they immediately recognized him as a photographer and left him alone, even allowing him to stay behind the police line as he backed away from them.

The SAME cop can then be followed for the next 12-14 seconds or so, and then he is seen shoving another photographer in the back at 34 seconds into the video. Immediately after he shoved the photog the officer just keeps walking. If this cop saw the photographer as some sort of threat he likely would have arrested him or tried to keep moving him out of the area, and you'll notice NONE of the other officers tried to do this.

Of course we can't say for sure, but to me it's apparent that, for whatever reason, this ONE officer was specifically targeting photojournalists who were otherwise left alone by other officers and allowed to remain behind the police line.
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Jim Colburn, Photo Editor, Photographer
McAllen | TX | USA | Posted: 6:37 PM on 05.06.10
->> "Why are the police roughing up he photogs?"

Because then can.
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Jim Colburn, Photo Editor, Photographer
McAllen | TX | USA | Posted: 6:37 PM on 05.06.10
->> "Why are the police roughing up he photogs?"

Because they can.
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Vincent Laforet, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 7:29 PM on 05.06.10
->> Having covered some small protests in Athens during the Olympics -I can tell you one thing: we were told to, and were - more afraid of the cops than anything. They were extremely aggressive towards members of the press.
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Derek Montgomery, Photographer
Duluth | MN | USA | Posted: 8:00 PM on 05.06.10
->> Back when I was in college, I studied abroad in Athens for four months. The police there have no qualms about moving you if they want you moved. There was a riot between rival volleyball teams in our neighborhood and the police confronted the more boisterous of the two sides. We were coming out of the grocery store and my friend started shooting video of the confrontation. The police came by, took one look at him and smashed the camera into his face and him into the wall and then pushed the camera toward the ground. Luckily he had a neckstrap on the camera and the only thing that was worse for wear was his face. I decided at that point to keep my camera at my side lest I have it smashed into my face as well.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 9:14 PM on 05.06.10
->> I was watching this on CNN and you can see the same officer before he encounters the photographer was using a club on a protester until he was physically pulled away by a fellow officer.

--Mark
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Vincent Johnson, Photographer
Chicago | IL | USA | Posted: 9:51 PM on 05.06.10
->> Butch, "Yes it is terrible .... however we don't know from the linked video what if anything may have been said by the photographer, police or protesters that could have impact on what happened"

However? However?!

So blindsiding this guy from behind into a frickin light pole is justified? Look, if he was resisting leaving the scene, that's one thing and he should have been arrested, but using force on somebody who clearly wasn't doing anything worth arresting him 30 seconds earlier, come on? I don't care if that photog called him a Malaka, 2 inches to the right and that guy wasn't getting up. Not called for, no way, no however.
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Jack Megaw, Photographer, Assistant
Pittsburgh/Philadelphia | PA | America | Posted: 11:02 PM on 05.06.10
->> When I was shooting the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh this past September I saw the police actually targeting photographers. Including one local photographer being maced in the face and thrown over a four-foot-hedge.

Personally I had tear gas grenades directly thrown at me, LRAD devices aimed and fired at me from close range and I was shot at with rubber bullets.

I had clear identification on myself the whole time with a helmet with "PRESS" written on it as well as a credential around my neck.

It saddens me that I am not at all surprised by this video.

-Jack
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Martin McNeil, Photographer
East Kilbride | Lanarkshire | United Kingdom | Posted: 8:22 AM on 05.07.10
->> In mediterranean countries, such police attitudes are not uncommon - the use of what some would consider as excessive force is somewhat accepted to a degree.

When the 18 to 30-something holidaymakers from the UK leave for such foreign shores, quite a few of them come back with tales of such rough-handed treatment... usually as the tail-end to stories of drunken revelry.
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 11:31 AM on 05.07.10
->> "Accepted to a degree" Martin?

Really?

A rowdy group of "18 to 30-somethings" on a drunken vacation vs. working professional photojournalists engaged in covering an international news story? How can you even make the comparison?

I know you're not defending the actions of the police on the tape but the comparison just strikes me as a little "off", that's all man.
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Daniel Hayduk, Photographer
Kelowna | BC | Canada | Posted: 1:47 PM on 05.07.10
->> Media laws are not the same world-wide. Greece included.

Having come across a riot in Athens while on vacation several years ago, I learned that very quickly. Nearly got the daylights beat out of me by Greece's finest.

Helpful tip I learned from the local photographers that day: don't wear sunglasses. Your eyes will tell a lot about your intentions, and allowing police to see your eyes can help diffuse a situation. This technique works in North America as well.

cheers-
/daniel
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Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 12:17 AM on 05.08.10
->> Vincent ... I agree that it could very well be the officer(s) in question were wrong and behaved badly ... but you have to admit we could not discern any words spoken by the parties involved ...and we are viewing a situation in a country that may not be playing by the same rules we are accustomed to here in the USA ... this was after all a ... riot ... situation with the lines of demarkation moving constantly. In fact, I noticed other photojournalists in the clip who were never touched by the police ....

As with much of news coverage ... we don't know what was said or done by the participants on either side in the moments or hours leading up to this point ... which led me to my comment ... of not having enough information to make a final judgement based upon the video presented ....

Kinda like a photographer stepping out onto the field between a running back and a linebacker during the play .... when two forces are colliding .... it's not safe to be caught in the middle ..... regardless of attire or identification as to your occupation, good intentions or your journalistic right to be present .... in such situations, one side or both can consider you an opponent ....
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Robert Scheer, Photographer
Indianapolis | IN | USA | Posted: 9:09 AM on 05.09.10
->> Vincent Laforet: "Having covered some small protests in Athens during the Olympics -I can tell you one thing: we were told to, and were - more afraid of the cops than anything. They were extremely aggressive towards members of the press."

Ditto, although the local photographer next to me did get punched (in the back of the head) by a protester. I covered the same thing (protest against visit of Colin Powell), and this was very much the case. I got a sense that protesters in Athens are very good at what they do, meaning the cops have had to step their game up.

I wouldn't be shocked to find out one of the biggest businesses in the city is a tear gas factory. Cops in Athens don't play, and the sight of one of the prettiest tv reporters I'd ever seen shooting out snot rockets after getting blasted with tear gas, was something I hadn't seen every day.
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Martin McNeil, Photographer
East Kilbride | Lanarkshire | United Kingdom | Posted: 4:54 AM on 05.10.10
->> @Brian Blanco,

There is a "COPS" style TV show called "Costa Del Street Crime" on one Bravo (a UK satellite / cable channel) that followed Spanish police around on their night-time duties.

It showed officers handling suspects *very* roughly all openly on camera for the film crew to document. Pushing, shoving, slapping, kicking and liberal use of their batons on all comers - though particularly for those suspected of domestic abuse, those who got 'mouthy' with them or folk whom were intoxicated.

The narrator pointed out that the behaviour of the police was the accepted norm in the country. I'm not surprised that media in the Mediterranean feel the brunt of similar tactics - as mentioned above by Daniel and Vincent Laforet quote from Robert.
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 7:15 AM on 05.10.10
->> Martin,

The fact that the police are heavy handed in the region isn't lost on me, nor is it a surprise. My point is that to say that it's "accepted" when comes to "drunks", "people who got mouthy" and suspects at "domestic abuse" incidents is a lot different than when it is directed at what appears to be working professional journalists covering a news story.

Does it happen? Yes. Do I recognize that it happens? Yes. Should we just shrug it off as being "accepted" because, well 'that's how they treat drunks, jerks, and wife-beaters'? No.

Again, I know you weren't defending their actions but I'm baffled by the comparison.

That's my point.
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Thread Title: Dangerous to be a photographer
Thread Started By: Damon Tarver
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