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Nearly arrested for trespassing

  
 
Nathan Padgett
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


I need to vent.

On a beautiful Saturday evening, I made my first and last trip to Easton Town Center in Columbus Ohio. Easton is a large shopping complex with outside shops and a big mall or something. I wouldn't know really, I never got to see it.

I parked in the parking garage and just started walking. I took one photo of the Legoland giraffe outside. And then was going to take a photo of the LegoLand sign. Again, I'm outside on the sidewalk. A cop summons me from his SUV, and I ask him what's up. He says I can't take photos.

As a photographer, I know it is perfectly legal to take photos in public, so I politely ask him if there was anything that stated that I can't take photos.

He immediately jumped out of his car, called for backup, and took an aggressive tone. Within a minute I was surrounded by 6 or 7 police officers and security.

I googled easton town center and showed him thousands of photos taken by citizens and ask if those where illegal. He said he didn't know and didn't care or something to that effect. He said it was like walking into my bedroom and taking photos, which I disagreed. You can take photos of someone's house if you are standing on public property to my knowledge.

No one showed me anything in writing about the policy at Easton Center. I did not see any signs about photography posted. Instead I was getting bullied and ask to show my ID. I refused because I had not broken any laws. I was immediately threatened with trespassing. Even though no one had ask me to leave beforehand.

I should have gotten names and badge numbers I would have ask for names and badge numbers but I was too afraid that I would be arrested if I had stuck around or tried to defend my position on the matter any longer. I was even told I couldn't take
a photo of one of the officers, because we were on private property. I think that is a serious issue.

Again, this was on a sidewalk, on what I believed to be a public road. It may in fact be a private road, but how does anyone supposed to know that? And if it is private, does a police officer have any right to enforce private policies that are not breaking laws? Taking a photo isn't breaking a law, but the second I do take a photo, does that make me trespassing at that moment? Or does someone need to ask me to leave first? I'd really like to hear some thoughts on that.

The two officers that mostly spoke with where rude, confrontational, and unwilling to listen or answer any of my questions.
One officer in back was rolling his eyes and laughing at me because I said, "I don't think you guys are right". It's so frustrating.

I'm just very disappointed with the way things were handled, how it was escalated by police so quickly,
And all over a photo of a sign and trying to protect my 1st amendment rights.



Sep 25, 2023 at 09:19 AM
formula4speed
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


You might try contacting whatever police department you were dealing with, put down in writing your account of what happened and your concerns. Everyone answers to someone, you might be able to go up the chain a bit. Even if you don't have the officers names, I imagine they know who is patrolling that area at any given time.


Sep 25, 2023 at 09:29 AM
Danpbphoto
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


Nathan Padgett wrote:
I need to vent.

On a beautiful Saturday evening, I made my first and last trip to Easton Town Center in Columbus Ohio. Easton is a large shopping complex with outside shops and a big mall or something. I wouldn't know really, I never got to see it.

I parked in the parking garage and just started walking. I took one photo of the Legoland giraffe outside. And then was going to take a photo of the LegoLand sign. Again, I'm outside on the sidewalk. A cop summons me from his SUV, and I ask him what's up. He says
...Show more

I am sorry this happened to you Nathan!
I am sure it has happened to many of us at one time or another. Certainly me a few times and I was a "fed" with credentials! Didn't make a dam bit of difference to the local security( "rent a cops").

Our Country is in turmoil! I would vent here then pass it off as a "life experience"

Head on a swivel I say to "us" on the street.
Stay safe!!!
Dan



Edited on Sep 25, 2023 at 09:55 AM · View previous versions



Sep 25, 2023 at 09:31 AM
Nathan Padgett
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


formula4speed wrote:
You might try contacting whatever police department you were dealing with, put down in writing your account of what happened and your concerns. Everyone answers to someone, you might be able to go up the chain a bit. Even if you don't have the officers names, I imagine they know who is patrolling that area at any given time.


Just made a formal complaint before I posted here. My post was mostly a copy and paste from the complaint. Minus officer descriptions and such. Also left a nasty google review for Easton.



Sep 25, 2023 at 09:40 AM
jwpstl
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


If you were on private property I suppose they could be right. Taking photos from public roads and sidewalks is one thing but when the property-including roads- belongs to a private company or individual, that's another. Having said that, doesn't sound there's anything there they really need to protect from photos.


Sep 25, 2023 at 09:41 AM
olegkin
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


jwpstl wrote:
If you were on private property I suppose they could be right. Taking photos from public roads and sidewalks is one thing but when the property-including roads- belongs to a private company or individual, that's another. Having said that, doesn't sound there's anything there they really need to protect from photos.


This would be a private property with public access. I imagine owner/security guard should make complain before police come to escort you out. There is no reason for police to act without some sort of complain.



Sep 25, 2023 at 11:19 AM
GoodEgg
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


I'll bet their body cams were off!

You were alone, your word against theirs. You can get roughed up, physically and emotionally, for resisting. Know your rights and where you can exercise them. Challenging their authority is like poking a stick in a lion's face. As already stated, "public" versus private property is key.

https://www.aclu.org/issues/free-speech/photographers-rights

excerpts

What to do if you are stopped or detained for taking photographs

* Always remain calm and never physically resist a police officer.
* Police cannot detain you without reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to commit a crime or are in the process of doing so.
* If you are stopped, ask the officer if you are free to leave. If the answer is yes, calmly walk away.
* If you are detained, ask the officer what crime you are suspected of committing, and remind the officer that taking photographs is your right under the First Amendment and does not constitute reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

What to do if you believe your rights have been violated

When you can, write down everything you remember, including the officersí badge and patrol car numbers and the agency they work for.
Get contact information for witnesses.
Take photographs of any injuries.
Once you have all of this information, you can file a written complaint with the agencyís internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.

https://petapixel.com/photographers-rights/

https://lifehacker.com/know-your-rights-photography-in-public-5912250
If you walk onto clearly marked private property without permission, youíre trespassing and you should stop taking pictures and leave. If an employee or security guard tells you to stop taking pictures because youíre on private property, stop taking pictures. If no signs are posted saying you canít take photos but itís a public area, youíre technically allowed, but itís up to you if itís worth the trouble to haggle over the details with a security guard. You likely have the right, but if youíre questioned directly you should seek legal counsel.

Regardless of whether youíre in the right or wrong, no one is allowed to take your camera away from you in a public place. Even if youíre trespassing, the property owner and the police cannot have your camera (or film or SD card) without a court order.



Sep 25, 2023 at 02:05 PM
Bill Gass
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


All that for taking a picture of ( I took one photo of the Legoland giraffe outside. And then was going to take a photo of the LegoLand sign )...Geez....Go ask the store if you can take a pix, bet they say yes.


Sep 25, 2023 at 03:08 PM
himurak
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


I tell you if it wasn't for other people things would be so much easier


Sep 25, 2023 at 07:12 PM
eeneryma
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


Sorry you had to go through this experience. Here's the key to your problem as Good Egg posted:
"Itís perfectly legal for you to take pictures and document events in PUBLIC spaces. Owners of PRIVATE property can set their photo, video, and documentation regulations."

Since you were in a shopping mall which is private property, they have the right to set the rules, and there's not much you can do about it. Were you carrying a large, "professional looking" camera? That's likely what got you noticed. Next time you might consider photographing with an Iphone camera. The quality is not bad these days and most likely the cops will just ignore you.

Steve



Sep 25, 2023 at 08:12 PM
 


Search in Used Dept. 

friscoron
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Nearly arrested for trespassing



Hate to say it, but these are exactly the kinds of cops that eventually makes the news for the wrong reasons, and then eventually end up in jail themselves. They forget that they are public servants. How can you be trespassing at a shopping center? Like... are shoppers trespassers? All this over taking pics of inanimate objects. Crazy.



Sep 25, 2023 at 08:19 PM
Kinokun
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


All you had to do was politely say ďoh Iím sorry. I wasnít aware. I just took a photo of the giraffe for my kids. I will go now. Thank you.Ē

@friscoron If youíre in a mall youíre in private property (yes even the parking). Thatís not a public space. Because youíre In a private property if youíre asked to leave by the cops or the mall security or someone in charge at the mall and you donít leave, then yes, youíre in fact trespassing.

Generally malls have a rule that you need permission for photography and video. People taking photos with their phones arenít an issue, but if someone shows up with photographic equipment without any permission then you can be asked to leave.

This happened to me at a park. Same thing. I smiled, put my camera away and left.

Just donít argue with cops over a stupid picture.



Sep 26, 2023 at 02:17 AM
anselwannab
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


Actually, the most effective path isn't through the govt/police, its to take it to Legoland. Hit social media with your picture and say that you were almost arrested for taking it. You are far more likely to get action out of Lego corporate than out of the local govt.

Also, request a copy of the body cams. If there is no body cam footage, that is a bozo/no-no.

Someone here has to have some Lego blocks and we can 're-enact' it with Lego characters...

I really hate bullies, its a childhood thing. At least they didn't sic the dogs on you like that recent truck driver...



ETA:
On the Easton website under prohibited:
Children under the age of 16, unless accompanied and supervised by a parent or legal guardian over 21 (at all times)
Engaging in any act defined by Federal, State or Local Law constituting a criminal offense
Weapons of any kind
Unauthorized photography or videography
Scavenging, soliciting, including picketing, literature distribution or petitioning
Pets, except for service animals (dogs and miniature horses); or, animals with guests patronizing pet stores on property or involved with Easton sponsored events.
Overnight parking
Those under 18 during school hours

Usually that means for pro reason- someone trying to shoot a commercial or an indie movie, or for corporate espionage. Did you scream "Pro-photographer" with your gear? With my sports gear at least, a 300/2.8 pretty much says pro/F-off, but pro gear in this circumstance could be an trigger for them. Still not really relevant, but might explain why they triggered on you.



Sep 26, 2023 at 09:24 AM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


File a complaint with the police department. And then the mall/businesses you had intended to visit. They want you there, happy and spending money. Now you don't feel welcome, you aren't happy and you won't be spending money. Although "private," you were essentially invited to the property and allowed to be there. They provide parking for you to be there. I don't know their lot but it's not unusual and sometimes encouraged to take a picture in the lot to locate your car. They do have a photography/videography policy, it's also likely that they want to discourage activity that interferes with the broader use and enjoyment of the mall by all guests. Simply taking pictures of the decorative installations seems the kind of thing they would have little or no problem with. And the businesses might be unhappy with the management company formally banning legitimate customers.


Sep 26, 2023 at 09:51 AM
Danpbphoto
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


I agree with all the statements...Don't argue! Just apologize and leave! Meaning NO disrespect to you.
Just the outcome of an arguement or issue may not result in a positive outcome in today's environment.
Just stay safe!
Dan



Sep 26, 2023 at 10:08 AM
Nathan Padgett
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


Danpbphoto wrote:
I agree with all the statements...Don't argue! Just apologize and leave! Meaning NO disrespect to you.
Just the outcome of an arguement or issue may not result in a positive outcome in today's environment.
Just stay safe!
Dan


I disagree. I thought I was on a public sidewalk (not inside the mall, not inside a store) and ask the officer to explain why I couldn't take photos. The response to my question was uncalled for and not how police should be treating people. We should all stand up for our rights or they will be taken away.

And again, I'm not sure if it's any of the officers business if I'm taking photos. That may be against the property's policy, but it's not breaking any laws. If the property asks me to leave because of photos, that is when the officer should be involved. Not before.





Sep 26, 2023 at 10:30 AM
Nathan Padgett
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


anselwannab wrote:
Usually that means for pro reason- someone trying to shoot a commercial or an indie movie, or for corporate espionage. Did you scream "Pro-photographer" with your gear? With my sports gear at least, a 300/2.8 pretty much says pro/F-off, but pro gear in this circumstance could be an trigger for them. Still not really relevant, but might explain why they triggered on you.


Yeah, I was guilty of having a Z9 and a 24-70. No camera bag or other lenses. Of course if I had an iphone instead no one would blink an eye. Which just frustrates me even more.



Sep 26, 2023 at 10:34 AM
Danpbphoto
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


Nathan Padgett wrote:
I disagree. I thought I was on a public sidewalk (not inside the mall, not inside a store) and ask the officer to explain why I couldn't take photos. The response to my question was uncalled for and not how police should be treating people. We should all stand up for our rights or they will be taken away.

And again, I'm not sure if it's any of the officers business if I'm taking photos. That may be against the property's policy, but it's not breaking any laws. If the property asks me to leave because of photos, that
...Show more
That's fine! And I totally agree with your reaction to the officer's response. I just don't want any member to encounter a situation that may endanger one's well being. Right or wrong.

The line between right and wrong has become very muddled in the past years. I was just remarking that stay safe. It is NOT worth a confrontation that is not in your best interests!
Stay safe!
Dan




Sep 26, 2023 at 10:39 AM
Karl Witt
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


Regrettably I am sorry to hear of the intimidation and confrontation. Some people/employees/owners/workers should stay in the background if they don't have people skills. Might be the best cop to have on your team in a life/death situation but not one you want in the publics eye stirring things up looking to engage and prove authority or push authority on someone singled out, really a poor experience, maybe send a note to the mayor then again corruption goes deep these days sadly.

I know these situations can mentally wear on you but find a way to at least express your experience with the local authorities and move past it assuming you got your 'bad cop' experience out of the way in life and the rest of them are the ones we give respect to

Share an experience, local Chief in small town was in a little hot water, I was freelancing for a local newspaper, we were told to get a pic of the Chief. Back then it was a Canon AE-1 manual focus and no cell phone day. I had my camera around my neck with what I hoped was a pre-focus that I could get a shot without lifting the camera. I was met with NO PICTURES of me in a stern way ........ fired off one and got my shot and away I went, he was not happy but I was Today I wouldn't take the chance I am sorry to say, not poking any bears at this point in my life!!

You did nothing wrong knowingly so hold that thought.
Karl



Sep 26, 2023 at 11:37 AM
Kinokun
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Nearly arrested for trespassing


@anselwannab

I agree. After I walked out of that park (which Iíve taken photos before there) my wife spoke to the security. They said oh no problem. Just the security guard is new. He can take photos. They just asked her what was the purpose. Because they Do have a rule that professional camera crews have to have a permit to film there.

The security guard told me canít take photos with your camera but can take them with your phone. Which made no sense. So instead of arguing I walked away because when someone says something that stupid you canít argue with them. You will lose that argument no matter how right you are. Just get out of there and go back the next day without your camera and talk to someone in charge at Legoland and ask them to explain the rules of pictures to you.

It may be touchy there since itís kids and they may not want high resolution photos of children who go there on the internet.

As a parent they may have issues also with some dude with a camera walking around taking pictures.

Not every place outside is ďpublic spaceĒ. Not every street or sidewalk is ďa public sidewalkĒ. If the cop tells you no then apologize and leave immediately. You really want to die on this hill? Give me a break. Go somewhere else to take pictures then.

Legoland 😅

I donít like this attitude people have in the US that they must argue with every police officer and that all officers are assholes and you must be a sovereign citizen ďam I under arrest. Am I free to goĒ guy we see on YouTube all the time. You know how many assholes cops have to deal with on a daily basis? If a cop stops you he/she is already on edge. Theyíre already pissed off before you open your mouth. Just say as little as possible. An ďIím sorryĒ will suffice. And turn and get out of there.

ďHe says I can't take photos.ď Ö so say Iím sorry I didnít know. Have a good day officer.

No no. He POLITELY said ďwhere does it say I canít take photosĒ. BANG! Shots fired. Another fucking sovereign citizen for today. Call backup. This guy is going down with my taser. Because youíre the 10th sovereign citizen today that needs to be taught a lesson about law enforcement. That you are in fact NOT on a public space taking pictures. That this is private property with children and that parents donít want some Paedo taking photos of their babies. And that the owners of Legoland probably already have this photo/video rule in place.

But who cares because im Mr sovereign citizen. Your laws donít apply to me. I think Iím outside taking pictures. I know my rights. Do you know section 101222 of sub-section AW12766 says that Iím allowed to take pictures here? Get your supervisor.

Let me have your IDÖ MY ID You canít have it. I have committed no crimes in my own head. Iím in a public space according to myself. You canít have my ID. How dare you ask me to identify myself!!! I know my rights! Iím Mr Sovereign.

Taser. The end.

Granted. If they had arrested the OP the judge wouldíve eventually dismissed it I think. That is if Mr Sovereign doesnít do any more stupid things like hit one of them or something because thatís What people do who have no respect for the police. They start punching and kicking like theyíre going to get away.

Now youíre arrested for trespassing and god knows what else. All this for some shitty photo of a Lego dinosaur.

This is hilarious. I mean it reads like the beginning of an Adam Sandler movie.

For the OP. Not only were you in private property but here are the rules of photos in Legoland.













Sep 26, 2023 at 12:48 PM
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