Photographer ban sparks lawsuit against US government
April 23, 2010
A civil liberties group has sued the US government which it accuses of acting unconstitutionally by restricting photography in public.
The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has challenged a government regulation that ?restricts photography on federal property, including public places and sidewalks?.
The lawsuit cites the case of photographer Antonio Musemeci who was arrested outside a federal court in Manhattan last year.
He had been filming a political protest using a handheld video camera.
The lawsuit seeks a court order barring federal officials from harassing or arresting people engaged in non-commercial photography while standing in outdoor public areas near federal buildings.
The NYCLU?s executive director Donna Lieberman said: ?In our society, people have a clear right to use cameras in public places without being hassled and arrested by federal agents or police. We understand the need for heightened security around federal buildings, but the government cannot arrest people simply for taking pictures in a public plaza.?
The group says a federal agent confiscated the photographer?s memory card and detained him for 20 minutes.
The charge was later dropped.