Jul 3, 2010

BP means "blocking photographers"

ProPublica reports that one of its photographers, working on an investigative story in Texas City, Texas, was detained by local police and British Petroleum security guards after taking pictures near a BP refinery. BP, of course, is responsible for the Deepwater Horizon well that blew on April 20, killing 11 people and subsequently spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.

From the story:
The photographer, Lance Rosenfield, said that shortly after arriving in town, he was confronted by a BP security officer, local police and a man who identified himself as an agent of the Department of Homeland Security. He was released after the police reviewed the pictures he had taken on Friday and recorded his date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information.

The police officer then turned that information over to the BP security guard under what he said was standard procedure, according to Rosenfield.

No charges were filed.

Rosenfield, an experienced freelance photographer, said he was detained shortly after shooting a photograph of a Texas City sign on a public roadway. Rosenfield said he was followed by a BP employee in a truck after taking the picture and blocked by two police cars when he pulled into a gas station.

According to Rosenfield, the officers said they had a right to look at photos taken near secured areas of the refinery, even if they were shot from public property. Rosenfield said he was told he would be "taken in" if he declined to comply.
This kind of bullshit has been going on since the Gulf oil spill began.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, it's been happening since well before the oil spill. Since 9/11, it has not been unusual for security personnel to track down anyone taking photos of sensitive areas that could be terrorist targets. I know of photographers who have been pulled aside while photographing nuclear sites, utility stations and similar areas. I don't have any issue with the questions, review of material and some harassment, as long as it ends once the journalists' credentials are established and security has the information they need to feel confident that they know who is surveilling the scene and why. I feel no worse about this than having to show an airline and homeland security that I'm the same person who bought the plane ticket and boarded the plane.