Shoot First Ask Questions Later

Hali Tauxe

“There are no good photos to be taken with your hands handcuffed behind your back in the back of a police car,” was one piece of advice NPPA attorney Mickey Osterreicher offered aspiring photographer at his session entitled “Shoot First Ask Questions Later.”

The session was intended to give photographers some idea of what protections they have under the law—which it turns out, are more expansive than we are often made to believe. Here are some common misconceptions cleared up: 1) Media areas are provided for the convenience of the press, not for their restriction; if the public is allowed in a certain area, so are the media. 2) A warrant is required to search your cell phone under almost all circumstances. 3) The police do not have the authority to delete your images. 4) You are allowed to record police doing their jobs in public.

Osterreicher shared several examples of important cases dealing with the rights of press photographers in conflict with the police. The session was information heavy, but still inspiring, and full of the romance of the trade.

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