Police in Baltimore Falsely Use Laws to Detain College Student for Photography

Christopher Fussel was detained by police officers in Baltimore, Maryland who were making up and inaccurately citing the patriot act and other laws to detain Fussel for nearly an hour.

Fussel is a college student from Portland, Oregon and he has professional aspirations in various systems of transportation. He likes to take pictures and video before current systems are upgraded to make comparisons.

He spent his spring break taking video and photos of transportation systems in Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Baltimore. It was only in Baltimore, when Christopher Fussel was waiting for his light rail transfer to Penn Station, that he was stopped by police officers who appear to actively prevent Fussel from taking more video footage and even had him followed.

Why was Fussel detained by police? According to Christopher Fussel, who accurately stated the law allowing him to photograph and take video of any public area as long as there aren't signs explicitly stating otherwise, he was detained for no reason at all.

Fussel, knowing he wasn't committing a crime, refused to give police a photo ID, which was well within his rights. Hearing Impaired, Christopher was then bombarded with questions and demands by a number of police officers and handled the situation impressively well and also managed to capture the ordeal with his camera even as the police appear to be intimidating him to and asking him to cease and desist. There is now a possible litigation suit over the ordeal and Fussel appears to be backed by the ACLU.

It may be that Baltimore just doesn't get as many tourists as Washington DC or New York and because of that, the law enforcement authorities in Baltimore don't know what is and isn't legal to photograph. It really is an eye opener for Baltimore and hopefully it will prevent future occurrences like this for Maryland.

If it were me, I would have just given the authorities my ID and been on my way in no time flat, and especially in wake of 9/11 I would want to comply. As a photographer, I know it's important to know my rights and would personally refuse to delete footage or "cease and desist" if I am well within my rights to be taking photographs because in the business of photography, no one gets paid for the pictures they delete or just don't take.