Sometimes taking a picture may not be as simple as the click of a button. 26-year-old Ian Van Kuyk and his girlfriend were arrested by Philadelphia police in March 2012 outside of his Breeze Home. The reason? The couple was spotted taking pictures of a traffic arrest. The two were later found “not guilty” of all charges, but were not free from the trials of the judicial system.
Attorney Mickey Osterreicher, said of his advice to Van Kuyk, “Sometimes I just don’t understand why it is that people don’t learn that they need to respect photographer’s first amendment rights to photograph and record when they’re in a public place.”
Nearly two years since the arrest, Van Kuyk and his girlfriend are suing the two offices who they believe wrongly accused them. The Philadelphia Police Department and Van Kuyk have declined to comment on the arrest due the impending lawsuit.
In light of the tribulations the Van Kuyk couple faced, many students are questioning what rights they have to take pictures of official activity.
Media Studies and Production Professor, Dr. Jan Fernback, said that students should understand their rights and freedoms as “freedom of expression extends to all of us and it extends to our activities in public.”
In 2011, Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Charles Ramsey, advised police that civilians are allowed to photograph or record officers in public spaces per the first amendment, so long as their activity does not interfere in official activity.