Photographer arrested for taking pictures of vice president's hotel

ripped from www.2600.com :

Posted op 2600.com 5 Dec 2002 06:03:48 UTC

An amateur photographer named Mike Maginnis was arrested on Tuesday in his home city of Denver - for simply taking pictures of buildings in an area where Vice President Cheney was residing. Maginnis told his story on Wednesday’s edition of Off The Hook.

Maginnis’s morning commute took him past the Adams Mark Hotel on Court Place. Maginnis, who says he always carried his camera wherever he went, snapped about 30 pictures of the hotel and the surrounding area - which included Denver police, Army rangers, and rooftop snipers. Maginnis, who works in information technology, frequently photographs such subjects as corporate buildings and communications equipment.

The following is Maginnis’s account of what transpired:

As he was putting his camera away, Maginnis found himself confronted by a Denver police officer who demanded that he hand over his film and camera. When he refused to give up his Nikon F2, the officer pushed him to the ground and arrested him.

After being brought to the District 1 police station on Decatur Street, Maginnis was made to wait alone in an interrogation room. Two hours later, a Secret Service agent arrived, who identified himself as Special Agent “Willse.”

The agent told Maginnis that his “suspicious activities” made him a threat to national security, and that he would be charged as a terrorist under the USA-PATRIOT act. The Secret Service agent tried to make Maginnis admit that he was taking the photographs to analyze weaknesses in the Vice President’s security entourage and “cause terror and mayhem.”

When Maginnis refused to admit to being any sort of terrorist, the Secret Service agent called him a “raghead collaborator” and a “dirty pinko faggot.”

After approximately an hour of interrogation, Maginnis was allowed to make a telephone call. Rather than contacting a lawyer, he called the Denver Post and asked for the news desk. This was immediately overheard by the desk sergeant, who hung up the phone and placed Maginnis in a holding cell.

Three hours later, Maginnis was finally released, but with no explanation. He received no copy of an arrest report, and no receipt for his confiscated possessions. He was told that he would probably not get his camera back, as it was being held as evidence.

Maginnis’s lawyer contacted the Denver Police Department for an explanation of the day’s events, but the police denied ever having Maginnis - or anyone matching his description - in custody. At press time, the Denver PD’s Press Information Office did not return telephone messages left by 2600.

The new police powers introduced by the USA-PATRIOT act, in the name of fighting terrorism, have been frightening in their apparent potential for abuse. Mike Maginnis’s experience on Tuesday is a poignant example of how this abuse is beginning to occur. It suggests that a wide range of activities which might be considered “suspicious” could be suddenly labeled a prelude to terrorism, and be grounds for arrest.

I haven’t found it in the Denver Post, but will look again, but I will guarantte this has nothing to do with the new homeland security bill, this would still have happened reguardless of this bill. Every idiot knows you don’t go taking pictures of the security set-up for the vice president, anyone who does is asking for trouble.

It’s from 2600, not from Denver Post.
Scary indeed, glad I don’t live over there

The Denver Post is the local newspaper, and you expect me to believe it wouldn’t be in the main newspaper? according to the photographer he even called them. I even called my brother who lives in denver, and I live in Colorado Springs he couldn’t find it in the local news. this photographer would expect you to believe that a whole police department can keep their mouth shut, and with something like this you can bet it was broadcast over the police department radio.

After approximately an hour of interrogation, Maginnis was allowed to make a telephone call. Rather than contacting a lawyer, he called the Denver Post and asked for the news desk. This was immediately overheard by the desk sergeant, who hung up the phone and placed Maginnis in a holding cell.

The new police powers introduced by the USA-PATRIOT act, in the name of fighting terrorism, have been frightening in their apparent potential for abuse. Mike Maginnis’s experience on Tuesday is a poignant example of how this abuse is beginning to occur. It suggests that a wide range of activities which might be considered “suspicious” could be suddenly labeled a prelude to terrorism, and be grounds for arrest.

Again this has nothing to do with this act, he would have been detained no matter where or when this was at, you just don’t go taking pictures of a security detail and the way it’s laid out period… He was stupid plain and simple.

True or not … the fact that you get arrested because you’re taking pictures in a PUBLIC environment (without proper warning that taking pictures is forbidden) is questionable.

I also have the feeling that 2600 Magazine is making the news more important than it is , or that there is something that the photographer did not tell 2600 Magazine… but maybe we’ll never know.

If i see the president walking in my favourite shop and i take a pictuer of him and his bodyguards… should i be arrested as well ?

If i am walking down a street and see the president in front of a window of a nearby hotel shagging his dog ; just happen to be looking at that window and taking pictures of the happening… should i be arrested because of that ?

Hmm, this sounds like something that would be printed in the National Enquirer (not a good thing). I think this story is bullshit. The guy was probably arrested and released but he decided to make some cash by selling his new overblown story to a tabloid paper.

I would arrest him too if I saw him taking pictures of the hotel. Ususally before an operation occurs, the perpetrators need info. If the security forces did not arrest him, they would not be doing their jobs right. Its not like he was taking pictures of the park or landmarks. He was taking pictures of a hotel where an important member of the US government was staying. Stupid not to arrest him.

Arresting somebody for taking photographs of a neighbourhood is stupid. Anybody who says different is stupid too.

Ok, airhead, nobody said you were stupid and it wasn’t going that way until you, a moderator took it that way, why did you? can you not have a civil discussion without it? Guess not!

And here in the states it is common knowledge, they even throw up roadblocks and other security measures to protect the president and vice president these are public roads so if I blow by one of the road blocks do they have the right to stop me? Sure they do, to make sure I am not a security risk.

snapped about 30 pictures of the hotel and the surrounding area - which included Denver police, Army rangers, and rooftop snipers. Maginnis, who works in information technology, frequently photographs such subjects as corporate buildings and communications equipment.

this is why they detained him, it’s not the hotel as much as it is the rest of it. “ok, guys here is where the security is tight, we can go over here see there isn’t anyone over here or we can setup our guy over there” better safe than sorry and this is the way it has always been.

True or not … the fact that you get arrested because you’re taking pictures in a PUBLIC environment (without proper warning that taking pictures is forbidden) is questionable.

He wasn’t arrested, he was detained, big difference.

Originally posted by kamikazee

He wasn’t arrested, he was detained, big difference.

I agree 100% on your explanation , however , an unguilty civilian will not see much difference between detaining and arresting. In his/her eyes , nothing has gone wrong , but he/she is punished.

So if everything was explained carefully , there would be no fuss about it , but as it was told by the reporter , it looked like they were abusing certain laws to get their thing done… and that cannot be the main purpose of such laws.

That is also what the article is about , that some laws have enormous power , which will lead to mis- or abuse.

On another side, we know ONLY the view from the reporter and have to trust his big blue eyes on his honesty. Who knows it has gone quite different seen from another innocent bystander or by the explanation of an honest policeman (and we all know they are honest , since they uphold the law ).

Given that fact , it could also be misusing the annoyance about such powerful laws…

in all cases… never stop questioning authority… and that , i hope , you agree on.

I agree to the questioning of authority, but certain laws are made for specific reasons, assasinations are very real, Did you know that it is illegal to take pictures on a military installation both here and overseas? the authorities also have the right to take the equipment and film too.

But no matter what we say or think, the police/secret service were doing their job, they detained (not arrested) the man until they were sure of his motives/intentions and then released him, the reason they want the film simple maybe some undercover/covert agents/police felt they were compromised.

I love my country and whatever the denver post said is nothing but a lie. The Patriot Act was created to protect national security and nothing else. Whoever said that event was a conspiracy is paranoid…

and the Denver Post said?? what?? I think you missed the boat on this one try again.

There is a huge difference between military installations and a hotel placed in a city centre. Military sites usually have huge signs telling you not to photograph there.

Last I checked, there was no law prohibiting the right to take pictures? :confused:

And have these security people thought about that all this fuzz with snipers on the rooftops etc etc, may actually attract more attention than a few civilian agents and a ordinary looking armored civilian car would? :confused:

You know, I have to think of a certain Monthy Python script…:slight_smile:
The whole story is here

Superintendent: Oh sorry! Right, here we go. You are hereby charged. one, that you did, on or about 1126, conspire to publicize a London Borough in the course of a BBC sags; two, that you were wilfully and persistently a foreigner; three, that you conspired to do 2 things not normally considered illegal; four, that you were caught , in possession of an offensive weapon, viz. the big brown table down at the police station.

Judge: The big brown table down at the police station?

Superintendent: It’s the best we could find, m’lud …

Originally posted by Trondos
[B]There is a huge difference between military installations and a hotel placed in a city centre. Military sites usually have huge signs telling you not to photograph there.

Last I checked, there was no law prohibiting the right to take pictures? :confused:

[/B]

True, unless it is a high security zone. Whnever there is a high risk of danger towards an important figure, the place where he is staying turns into a security zone almost on par with a military zone. No pictures and no tresspassing.

Originally posted by FlyingDutchman
[B]

True, unless it is a high security zone. Whnever there is a high risk of danger towards an important figure, the place where he is staying turns into a security zone almost on par with a military zone. No pictures and no tresspassing. [/B]

even when the public does not know about the fact the important figure is there ? (this is not the case in the 1st post , i know , but i’m curious about this)

What the hell was he taking pics of the building and the snipers for anyways ??

Moron = needed the bashing the cops gave him

I disagree. I simply do not like when special rules like this suddenly is applied.
If this hotel was in my neighborhood, say I walked past it every day, and I saw all this fuzz, I would have thought “Cool”, and if I had my digicam at hand, I would sure had taken some shots (errrr, photograps! :stuck_out_tongue: ). (No phun intended!)

I know too little about this case in question to judge, that guy may be a moron, but not just because he took those images. :slight_smile:

Taking a few ‘shots’ and taking 30 or so … big difference in my mind.
I would find it hard to believe if I took one or two photos I would be stopped. If this guy really took 30 he received what he was looking for.

What a double standard Americans have…(I am one, BTW.)

You’ve got this guy arrested and people saying "To hell with him, he can’t take pictures in public because it’s the vice president’s security and he’s obviously scoping it out). But if this happens in another country people are like “Those backwoods people…” etc…etc…“They were just plane spotting and now they’re in jail! Cry, cry, cry…etc…etc…”

The truth is, if it is in public: He can take the pictures. If they are so concerned about it they could block off the area and not allow anyone in: Then if someone comes in and takes pictures, that would be wrong. Or maybe if they had given warning: You’ve got your pictures now move along and he didn’t. That could be asking for trouble and might have been what even happened. Oh well, we’ll never know as the government will never say their side of the story unless it’s blown up so big they need to.

Like hell, this is also standard practice in other countries when it come to heads of state and foriegn dignitaries, this does not only happen in this country. I have seen it up close, there are many laws people are not aware of until they are the ones in the middle of it. But the point is still the same he was detained and not arrested, when the found out that all he was doing was taking photographs they let him loose and kept his stuff. Hell how do we even know that this really happened maybe he pawned his camera because he needed money and was afraid to tell the truth to whoever he is hiding the fact that he pawned it.