According to this article in Tampa Bay Online US Customs Officer David Tipton told a Tampa Tribune photojournalist that “We’re not local law enforcement here. We’re the federal government. We’ll take your gear right now,’” simply because the photojournalist took a picture from PUBLIC PROPERTY of a newsworthy accident scene which involved an automobile belonging to the agent.
Taking camera equipment without a proper court order is THEFT, no matter if it is done by an individual, local law enforcement or federal agents!
Fortunately cooler heads did prevail and a superior officer:
Gary McClelland, the agency’s area port director, apologized to Nolan less than two hours later at the scene.
“You have to understand the gentleman (Tipton) was just in a very serious accident,” McClelland said. “He was very shaken up.”
Ordinarily, he said, officers don’t permit photographs because of the nature of their jobs, but the agency doesn’t want to hinder the media.
However the last sentence of that half-hearted apology is extremely disturbing. What does he mean by “officers don’t permit photographs”. They have no choice if they are out in publid. It is an absolute outrage that these officers think that they are above the law. There is NO LAW that prevents them from being photographed if they can be seen from public space. More lies being spewed from the mouths power hungry, abusive federal agents.