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Master Mechanic

This was "announced" this morning on a list that I am a member of.

"Friends: While this does not directly affect us, it is important--and good--news and I am certain that our great friend Walter Zullig is very aware of this, as he has been one of our most active and positive advocates.

The American Civil Liberties Union chapter in Maryland plans to file a lawsuit against Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) unless it stops transit police from barring rail system photography, Baltimore Sun transportation reporter Michael Dresser writes in a story posted Tuesday:
"MTA warned: Let photographers shoot
ACLU tells agency police can't forbid taking pictures
Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun
7:52 p.m. EDT, May 31, 2011

Christopher Fussell likes to take pictures of trains and buses. The 29-year-old Oregonian has shot photos and video of transit systems all over the United States.

It wasn't until he came to Baltimore, he said Tuesday, that he was detained for committing photography.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland put the Maryland Transit Administration on notice Tuesday that it intends to file suit over the conduct of transit police in ordering Fussell and another photographer to stop taking pictures. The group warned that unless the agency meets a series of conditions by Sept. 1, it will take the MTA to court — where it expects to win.

"Photography is expressive activity that is protected by the First Amendment," said ACLU staff attorney David Rocah. "If you are legally present, you have a right to take photographs."

Rocah said the ACLU raised the ight to take photographs in 2006 after one of its staffers was ordered by an officer to stop filming at a station. He said the ACLU chose then to try to resolve the issue amicably — a decision the attorney now calls an error the group will not repeat.

"Our time for friendly discussion is long since past," Rocha said. "We tried that for five years to apparently zero effect."

The MTA declined to comment on the ACLU's warning, saying Tuesday it had only just received the letter. But a spokesman pointed to a policy in the agency's media guide urging people who want to photograph MTA facilities to seek permission.

The right of the photographer to take pictures in public places has been a point of contention virtually since the invention of the camera. But the disputes have become more frequent — and more contentious — in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which prompted police to challenge individuals who take photographs or video of public infrastructure as potential security risks.

Civil libertarians and advocates for the rights of photographers say police have been given no new powers to curb photography since 9/11. In many cases, they say, police are making up laws and rules on the spot and issuing orders they have no right to give."


Hopefully this case will end some of the harassment that some of us have experienced trying to photograph a prototype from public property. I hope that it will set a precedent for other areas in the country.


Active Member
i filed employee performance complaint with Metra about one of their conductors about that. I didn't get detained, but inventing non existent regulations is just not right. wansn't in the mood to argue with the conductor, but next time i will have what to confront him with.


Great, now we need that in New York. The cops there think that because they are new york's finest, they can do whatever they please. The NY chapter of the ACLU (NYCLU) has sued the NYPD multiple times and won every time, and apparently the NYPD has deep enough pockets that they can pay to harass people.

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