Monday, May 31, 2010
Just Cause Yer Paranoid Doesn't Mean..........
Heading down to the Historic Section on Sunday, I was lucky to find a parking space in the municipal lot next to the Lightner Museum.I was waiting for another vehicle to leave so as to take their space when I noticed a city police car behind me. I also noticed that he raised a camera and snapped a picture of the rear of my van. I saw this because, though it was midday ,(2:40 PM) he used a flash (?!). I opened my door to get out. I wanted to know why the officer was snapping a photo of my vehicle. No time for this busy officer, he went around me and drove off..
Because of the artist's battle for rights here in St. Augustine, I have through the Freedom of Information Act.,obtained many photos taken of me by local law enforcement either in the open or surreptitiously.Some are not so flattering. In one of the police photos I am mid sentence talking with a friend, my mouth agape and my hair lookng like an explosion in a mattress factory.None of these photos were used in legal proceedings since all arrests and citations (12 of em) were vacated after Federal Judge Marcia Morales Howard issued an injunction in April of 2009 in favor of the artists.
Curious, I called the desk at City Police. Since I did not get the car # ,the dispatcher said that she had no way to know who was on Granada Street ten minutes before. I reminded her that this is not a big city and one radio call could get her the answer. I simply wanted to know why I was being photographed. Maybe there was a good reason. Perhaps another blue and white camper van with John Lennon license plates was involved in something nefarious.. "Maybe the officer liked the license plates and wanted a photo," said the dispatcher.(I am not kidding !)" My daughter would love one of those John Lennon license plates". I was wondering just how old this dispatcher was and thinking that I might be tagged as a "hippie troublemaker", you know....van....long hair.Let's do the time warp.
Realizing that I was getting nowhere I thanked the dispatcher for her time and dropped the inquiry. I truly believe that law enforcement should not be prohibited from using cameras It is an excellent tool for documentation. I cannot have an "expectation of privacy" when I am out in public.
To make it easier for the City of St. Augustine police, I have taken my own photo ( above ) which can be right clicked , printed and circulated to all of the police who are not familiar with the troublesome artist and his vehicle.
Posted by Karl at 8:57 AM