Hats off to Carlos Miller who blogs at Photography is Not a Crime for reporting on this story, where a man was arrested for taking photographs of cops without their consent. One of the sources Miller cited wrote:
Mark Hynes, 24, of 44 Chappie St., Charlestown, was arrested after he allegedly took pictures of police officers without their permission on Sept. 27. Reports stated that at 3:30 a.m., the suspect was waiting for a friend to finish filing an incident report, and officers asked him to sit down because he kept interrupting the process. The suspect reportedly refused, saying he had the right to stand wherever he wanted. The suspect then allegedly began taking pictures of the officers and said, “It is live streaming to my home computer” to officers when told that they did not want their pictures taken. The suspect was charged with disorderly conduct and violating the law regarding videotaping without consent of both parties.
On the face of it, I am appalled and so should anyone who loves the United States Constitution if what happened is that a person was arrested and charged with taking photographs or using a video recorder to document what officers, who work for the public (indirectly), were doing.
In reading the quoted synopsis above, if he was "interrupting the process" and interfering with the work the officers were doing, which according to the article was to take a report from one of his friends that he was there with, then there could be a problem. Further, the quote does not state where the incident happened. If this occurred INSIDE the police station or a similar location, then it is possible that the restriction could apply.
So, if anyone knows more about this I would love to know what really happened. Also, I am confident that the accused could find free representation from a law school student program if a regular attorney would not take the case.
As I mentioned above, the interfering could be problematic because in Texas we have this law under section 38.15 of the Texas Penal Code:
Sec. 38.15. INTERFERENCE WITH PUBLIC DUTIES. (a) A person commits an offense if the person with criminal negligence interrupts, disrupts, impedes, or otherwise interferes with:(1) a peace officer while the peace officer is performing a duty or exercising authority imposed or granted by law;(2) a person who is employed to provide emergency medical services including the transportation of ill or injured persons while the person is performing that duty;(3) a fire fighter, while the fire fighter is fighting a fire or investigating the cause of a fire;(4) an animal under the supervision of a peace officer, corrections officer, or jailer, if the person knows the animal is being used for law enforcement, corrections, prison or jail security, or investigative purposes; or(5) the transmission of a communication over a citizen’s band radio channel, the purpose of which communication is to inform or inquire about an emergency.(b) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(1) that the conduct engaged in by the defendant was intended to warn a person operating a motor vehicle of the presence of a peace officer who was enforcing Subtitle C, Title 7, Transportation Code.(d) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the interruption, disruption, impediment, or interference alleged consisted of speech only.(e) In this section, "emergency" means a condition or circumstance in which an individual is or is reasonably believed by the person transmitting the communication to be in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or in which property is or is reasonably believed by the person transmitting the communication to be in imminent danger of damage or destruction.
Here, this offense is usually seen where an officer is trying to conduct DWI field sobriety tests or talk to a witness and other parties keep stepping in, questioning, or even touching the officer or person they are talking to. Bottom line, Hynes definitely needs to look into this and thank you again Mr. Miller for bringing this story to the world’s attention.