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Thread: Very Recent JFK Incident at T6 Parking Lot

  1. #31
    Senior Member Chris102's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snydersnapshots View Post
    On a personal level, I always carry a camera when I fly. Next time I go to JFK, you can bet that while I'm doing my preflight walk around, I will have my D300 with me and make liberal use of it on the ramp. I'd love to get stopped...
    I got yelled at by a ticket agent for taking a picture on the ramp in Chicago once. I was told that "photography of the aircraft is illegal, sir!"

  2. #32
    Administrator Landing Lights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mateo View Post
    The other legal distinction is that when you're being questioned by police, you are in one of two states. You are either under arrest, or you are not under arrest.
    I am not of a law enforcement background, but to the best of my knowledge there is a third state in which you can be "detained" for investigation. In those situations you are not free to leave but you also have not been charged with a crime. This would be similar to being pulled over in a traffic stop. You are definitely not free to leave, but you also may not be charged at the conclusion.

    Watching this week's episode of Airport 24/7: Miami, I heard a troubling comment from MIA's director of security. Basically she said that if you're not getting on or off a flight or picking up/dropping off a passenger on a flight, then you have no business being at the airport. Now she was speaking in regards to individuals who were coming to the airport to steal luggage, wallets, etc, but the generalization that there is no other reason to go to the airport was still disturbing. I totally understand that the enthusiast community is a small fraction of the total number of people who come to an airport on a daily basis, and also that enthusiasts are often misunderstood by the general public. However, for a person in such a position of responsibility to define who should and should not be on airport grounds so narrowly is a bit disturbing.

    As for this situation, police work requires strict adherence to procedures. Failure to do so can result in both situations like this as well as situations where charges were dismissed. Look at the DWI case against former FAA Administrator Babbitt, where the charges were dismissed because the officer had "no good reason to stop him." There are some very serious violations of procedure apparent here, and I am glad that PAPD is investigating. As troubling as this incident is, and it is very troubling, as best I can tell it is this type of situation that leads to greater understanding within law enforcement of the enthusiast community as it forces the agency to clarify within its ranks what is allowable and what is legal. Hopefully the officers involved get the necessary remedial training to avoid another situation like this.
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  3. #33
    Senior Member NYCA News's Avatar
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    Post Time for New York’s Port Authority to Admit It Doesn’t Like Photographers

    NYCAviation:
    Time for New York’s Port Authority to Admit It Doesn’t Like Photographers

    Firm rules about planespotting at New York's airports will help reduce police harassment and confusion among aviation enthusiasts.
    [Click to Read Full Article]

  4. #34
    Senior Member hiss srq's Avatar
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    Manny, give me a shout when you get a chance, I sent you my number. Secondly, I really thought we had some headway going with Port and from some accounts, we did. I guess some more communication needs to be had. I'm pretty bummed about that and wish you had my contact information when that happened. Some of it is officers that are not totally exposed to us as spotters and some of it is because the aviation infastructure of the port is soo expansive that with a force as small as Port's it's easier for them to just turn the light switch off so to speak, I know many many officers personally and they are aware of our organization and the art of spotting and they support it, surely they will do due dilligance if there is a call of concern but this event seems to be one that went awry. I wonder if this is anyone I know.
    Last edited by hiss srq; 10-18-2012 at 09:08 AM.
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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mldoc View Post
    Watching this week's episode of Airport 24/7: Miami, I heard a troubling comment from MIA's director of security. Basically she said that if you're not getting on or off a flight or picking up/dropping off a passenger on a flight, then you have no business being at the airport.
    I caught that and it bothered me too. The land on which JFK sits is owned by the City of New York, hence public property. The Port Authority itself is just a bi-state agency run by NY and NJ. I'm not a lawyer, but unless you're interfering with operations, causing harm, or just loitering for the sake of loitering, you have the right to be there, at least outside the terminals. The terminals themselves are operated either by individual airlines or a management company (like T4's JFK-IAT) so standing around or photographing inside the terminals is really at the discretion of the operator (and I believe that they employ private security firms of their own choosing, although PAPD do patrol inside the terminals I imagine.)

    The only thing I can find on the PANYNJ's website regarding photography is on http://www.panynj.gov/press-room/media-access.html

    Click on the "Videotaping/Photographing at Port Authority Facilities" tab and scroll down past the list of terminals where it says:

    The Port Authority reserves the right to restrict videotaping and photography at its airports.

    My first question would be, do they have the legal right to restrict videotaping/photography on a public facility in the first place? If somehow they do, that wording means that right can be enforced anywhere, anytime and at anyone's discretion within airport property (presumably only outside the terminals.) Unfortunately, that is what will cause all kinds of ambiguity and "gray area" encounters with PAPD, rent-a-cops, and undercover agents (to me the people who arrived at the scene of this incident smack of some kind of contracted security firm - FJC or some other outfit, which if true, explains why they were so reluctant to identify themselves.)

    It's been said so many times that you can pretty much case JFK or any airport using Google Maps, Bing Maps and Google Street View. Plus, there already thousands of photographs of JFK. What do they really expect to accomplish in harassing people when all that information is already out there?

    This guide was written by an attorney and outlines your basic rights to public photography. Seems to be a pretty good reference.

    http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

    Earlier this year the PA hired former DHS secretary Michael Chertoff's security consulting firm, The Chertoff Group, to do a complete review of security operations at the PA. It seems the PA knows their security operations has been fractured and uncoordinated for some time. They are planning to open a new Chief Security Officer position (or have already) and revamp their security operations, including new bids for outsourced security. Currently FJC is still the primary private security firm on the premise, though that may change. Hopefully a more unified and coordinated security team will put an end to the ambiguity surrounding photography at PA airports....but I have my doubts.

    For some more interesting reading:

    http://www.panynj.gov/press-room/pre...adLine_id=1554

    http://www.securitydirectornews.com/...ity-operations
    Last edited by Braniff; 10-19-2012 at 02:32 AM.
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  6. #36
    Senior Member NIKV69's Avatar
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    Phil your article is pretty confusing. Have you had any sort of conversation with the PA officially? Talked to anyone in a higher up position? It's clear that they would rather run us off than face the many phone calls they get when we are spotted practicing our hobby but you article is a reach. Also calling them out to either accept us or ban photography all together on airport grounds is incredibly foolish. Be careful what you wish for.

    I have spoken about losing spotting locations and we have lost some already. Spotting on the garages shouldn't be another one. I advised to use these locations wisely when they began to get popular. Do I like the treatment we get from some of these badge heavy PA officers? Of course not, but to risk losing such a prime spot is downright dumb. Instead of publishing articles like this that contain ultimatums you should try to get a positive relationship with someone at PA that can actually accomplish something other than banning us altogether.

    PA is never going to go for an airport watch. Let's face it and move on. We could however establish a relationship that allows us access and some better treatment. Maybe using your position with this site could be better served in that way instead of publishing open letters that resemble a pissing contest.

    This seems to be the knee jerk reaction every time someone has a bad run in with PA, it gets us nowhere.
    'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.' Andy Warhol

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by NIKV69 View Post
    PA is never going to go for an airport watch. Let's face it and move on. We could however establish a relationship that allows us access and some better treatment. Maybe using your position with this site could be better served in that way instead of publishing open letters that resemble a pissing contest.
    Nik, it sounds like your looking for something similar to the scheme that is run down in Houston, where to spot from certain locations, the individual has to contact the airport security on a given number and provide them with the following details:

    Who you are
    Where you will be spotting
    What kind / color of car you are driving
    What time you will be out there
    How long you plan to stay
    What you will be doing (taking pictures, just spotting, etc)

    At IAH, this is predominantly for the parking garages and a few other locations, like the cargo centre. Security log your details, and then you are normally free to go about your business. Security and the PD also do regular patrols of the parking lots at IAH, and as long as you have provided details to security over the phone previously then they don't normally bother you.

    Mark

  8. #38
    Senior Member megatop412's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NIKV69 View Post
    Phil your article is pretty confusing. Have you had any sort of conversation with the PA officially? Talked to anyone in a higher up position? It's clear that they would rather run us off than face the many phone calls they get when we are spotted practicing our hobby but you article is a reach. Also calling them out to either accept us or ban photography all together on airport grounds is incredibly foolish. Be careful what you wish for.

    I have spoken about losing spotting locations and we have lost some already. Spotting on the garages shouldn't be another one. I advised to use these locations wisely when they began to get popular. Do I like the treatment we get from some of these badge heavy PA officers? Of course not, but to risk losing such a prime spot is downright dumb. Instead of publishing articles like this that contain ultimatums you should try to get a positive relationship with someone at PA that can actually accomplish something other than banning us altogether.

    PA is never going to go for an airport watch. Let's face it and move on. We could however establish a relationship that allows us access and some better treatment. Maybe using your position with this site could be better served in that way instead of publishing open letters that resemble a pissing contest.

    This seems to be the knee jerk reaction every time someone has a bad run in with PA, it gets us nowhere.
    Nick, I remember you had said a lot of this in the past and I understand your reasoning. Problem is, you can't lose what you don't got. We never 'had' the parking garages, it has always been a toss-up, with most of the interactions going better than what was recounted in this thread. And even if the PA were to see Phil's letter and decide to 'respond' with 'photography will no longer be tolerated on airport property', that's already in their rulebook anyway(see the earlier post referencing it), it's just that it's being selectively enforced.

    It's upsetting that you see Phil's actions as foolish, because the way I see it, the PA has no right to treat people with disrespect like that. I don't give a good damn who they think they are, that is UNACCEPTABLE, whether you're spotting or not. It's offensive to even consider not taking a stance against what happened. We have an obligation to say to the PA, 'hey your people stepped WAY over the line here, and they need to be retrained'. I will not take kindly to any more of a police state being foisted upon me than already has been. And I'm not supporting Phil just to win points with him because he runs this site; I agree because it's what's right, putting basic human decency above our need to photograph aircraft.

    Maybe the letter will result in a more restrictive atmosphere for us. Maybe someone will end up getting arrested and have to bring this thing into court, like the train situation did. That seemed to end with a positive outcome: a memo by NYPD top brass advising(reminding, really) all staff that PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT AN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY.

  9. #39
    Senior Member yankees368's Avatar
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    Here's what it boils down to. I agree with Phil in that an official rule concerning photography must be established. As to the previous poster who says we will lose the garage, well, we get booted off and yelled at already, so there is nothing to lose.
    The issue stems from the fact that the PA has a 100+ official rule and regulation guide, where "photography" is not mentioned once. As for the PA website posted above, that is more of a media listing, not for the everyday person. Nevertheless, it says "The Port Authority reserves the right to restrict videotaping and photography at its airports" but not that they have exercised that right. This isn't mentioned anywhere in their official rules listing.
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  10. #40
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    Before I posted here, I searched the net to see if there were similar stories. There was one where the Port gave two guys at EWR a trespassing citation for photography. I can't find the link. One of the guys posted and said that the judge dismissed it in the end. Anyone hear about this incident? I think it was within the last year or so.

  11. #41
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    Couple more things I wanted to mention, and I apologize for the somewhat disjointed writing. It's tough to organize this clearly.

    Regarding my earlier post about the blurb on the PA website about photography, I realize that it is likely posted with respect to commercial photography and the media, but my point was that it is the only place I've seen the PA publish anything about photography and video anywhere, and I'm sure they'll try to leverage it somehow given the chance.

    But let me play devil's advocate here for a minute.

    The issue with being on public property for any reason other than having official business has come up before in several court cases, including one going back to 1992 involving the PA. The issue is that even though a government-owned (city, state, federal) or operated airport is public property, there may be limitations depending to what extent the property has been deemed a public forum. In other words, not all public property is freely accessible at all times.

    For example, public schools are public property, but generally forbid anyone from being there unless they are a student, parent, guardian, faculty, or otherwise authorized to be there. Courthouses are public buildings, but have restrictions on photography in certain areas. Military installations are on public land, but generally forbid photography at all times.

    I made mention in my earlier post of the distinction between land-side airport property (i.e. streets, parking lots, sidewalks, etc.) and the actual terminals. As soon as you step foot inside a terminal, your rights change. Your rights are definitely strongest while you are land-side (parking lot, street, sidewalk, etc) because those areas are generally unrestricted to the public. But while you may have a strong defense if you get hassled in the parking lot, terminals are more restrictive in the sense of no longer being a completely open public forum. Although the terminal buildings at PA airports are technically owned by the PA and considered public buildings, they are operated by individual airlines and/or private companies, so your rights inside them are no longer as free as being completely public. In that case, you can be asked to leave if you aren't there for a legitimate travel or business reason. I don't want to mention the TSA here, because when TSA incidents are mentioned, generally they involve passengers who are in the terminal presumably to travel anyway.

    There's another issue at play here, in that while the property might be managed by the PA, once you step or point your camera air-side (and someone correct me on this if I'm wrong) but you are then also under the jurisdiction of the FAA. The FAA has clearly stated that it has no rules banning photography.

    So to confuse legal matters more, you are standing on public city property managed by a local government agency while you are taking photographs of aircraft under jurisdiction of the FAA. So while you are free to photograph aircraft to your heart's content from land-side, the PA still discourages it, yet you are standing on land that is generally considered a public forum.

    My guess is that if the PA ever goes on record to ban non-traveling or non-essential public (i.e. persons who have no business being at an airport other than travel, employment or legitimate business) on its property entirely (photography or not) or tries to enforce all airport property as having limited public access, it may face First Amendment civil action. That may be why there is no "official" stance, even though it might be strongly discouraged.

    Hate to say it, but I think one of the best ways to clear up the issue of photographing (or just watching planes) on airport property is to get an attorney to contact the PA's legal department and get something official. Unfortunately, failing that, the only other way this will happen, as someone mentioned earlier, is when a civil suit is brought on the PA and/or NYC.

    References:

    http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-gui...ublic-property

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-155.ZS.html

    http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...ad.main/40870/
    Last edited by Braniff; 10-19-2012 at 05:28 PM.
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  12. #42
    Senior Member NIKV69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by megatop412
    Nick, I remember you had said a lot of this in the past and I understand your reasoning. Problem is, you can't lose what you don't got. We never 'had' the parking garages, it has always been a toss-up, with most of the interactions going better than what was recounted in this thread. And even if the PA were to see Phil's letter and decide to 'respond' with 'photography will no longer be tolerated on airport property', that's already in their rulebook anyway(see the earlier post referencing it), it's just that it's being selectively enforced.
    All I saw was some innuendo from some email. Does an environment exist in which they would rather try to run us off than deal with tons of phone calls? Probably but I am sure NCPD had the same and they have handled it differently haven't they?

    Quote Originally Posted by megatop412
    It's upsetting that you see Phil's actions as foolish, because the way I see it, the PA has no right to treat people with disrespect like that. I don't give a good damn who they think they are, that is UNACCEPTABLE, whether you're spotting or not
    No law enforcement agency does. Unfortunately they are human beings like us. Take a hundred of them and you will have one who will cross lines. Apples and oranges.

    Quote Originally Posted by megatop412
    It's offensive to even consider not taking a stance against what happened. We have an obligation to say to the PA, 'hey your people stepped WAY over the line here, and they need to be retrained'. I will not take kindly to any more of a police state being foisted upon me than already has been. And I'm not supporting Phil just to win points with him because he runs this site; I agree because it's what's right, putting basic human decency above our need to photograph aircraft.
    Where was the outrage when Sergio and a group of local spotters got a much worse encounter at EWR and even had their CF cards confiscated? If I remember correctly I advised filing a complaint against the officer which was rebuffed by Phil if I am not mistaken. If you are going to come on with this macho bravado threatening action then do it. If not, spare us. If you want to go down that road be prepared for pushback. Big time.

    Quote Originally Posted by megatop412
    Maybe the letter will result in a more restrictive atmosphere for us. Maybe someone will end up getting arrested and have to bring this thing into court, like the train situation did. That seemed to end with a positive outcome: a memo by NYPD top brass advising(reminding, really) all staff that PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT AN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY.
    This has to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever read here. So you would risk a prime location and even arrest? Pretty brave but incredibly shortsighted.

    The best approach is for contacts to be made and kept. A good relationship with someone higher up will go much further. To write some half cocked letter on a website daring them to do one or the other makes no sense to me. Just more divisive and counterproductive.

    Quote Originally Posted by McG
    Nik, it sounds like your looking for something similar to the scheme that is run down in Houston, where to spot from certain locations, the individual has to contact the airport security on a given number and provide them with the following details:

    Who you are
    Where you will be spotting
    What kind / color of car you are driving
    What time you will be out there
    How long you plan to stay
    What you will be doing (taking pictures, just spotting, etc)

    At IAH, this is predominantly for the parking garages and a few other locations, like the cargo centre. Security log your details, and then you are normally free to go about your business. Security and the PD also do regular patrols of the parking lots at IAH, and as long as you have provided details to security over the phone previously then they don't normally bother you.
    Not really what I meant but you lay out some good points. That isn't the worst end game for this situation. If it means hassle free spotting so be it. What I am saying is that you first have to talk to the PA to get anywhere. We have figureheads here, plenty of people with contacts. Has anyone ever ever tried to get a hold of anyone at PA with some weight that can have some sort of understanding? Again what Phil has done with his article only seems to set us back. Not lean us forward.
    'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.' Andy Warhol

  13. #43
    Administrator PhilDernerJr's Avatar
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    I can't type a lot right now, but...

    - I don't recall ever telling anyone to NOT file a complaint against police in that incident. That might have been because something else was already in motion in place of that, but I don't recall specifics.

    - I HAVE spoken to several Port officials that are high up on the ladder from multiple departments at multiple airports. Only one of them was ever pro-spotter. The others, in summary, would rather we didn't exist. Re-read the quote from the article...that was from a member of Port management.

    - To add, I have had meetings and discussions, all to no avail, examining all kinds of different ideas. And as friendly as those relationships are, it means nothing if people still get treated the way bonanzabucks.

    - Port, from those I have spoken with, have no interest in Airport Watch. They feel it can't be practically applied and offers no real purpose. I know that and mentioned that it may not work here...the goal of my article was not to push that.

    - It's not a pissing contest. It's standing up for people getting abused. Nothing else.

    - Airports are not actually considered public property. Port owns them and they can create and enforce their own rules, unfortunately.
    Email me anytime at [email protected].

  14. #44
    Administrator PhilDernerJr's Avatar
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    ...and I'll add that the spotting location where this happened is the only one we'd lose if they banned photography. Looking at incidents like that...I'd rather lose the spot than see people get treated like that.
    Email me anytime at [email protected].

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D. View Post
    - Airports are not actually considered public property. Port owns them and they can create and enforce their own rules, unfortunately.
    Phil I'd be curious to know where that legislation is written. As far as I know, JFK and LGA property are owned by the City of New York and EWR property is owned by the City of Newark, and the PA leases the property from each city to develop, manage and operate it. While I respect that the PA is a government agency, and thus has some latitude with regard to certain regulations, common sense tells me that they would not be able to override local City, State and Federal laws, including First Amendment rights. While I agree most airport locations would not be considered public fora (i.e. inside the terminals), I suspect there has to be some kind of demarcation where the public is allowed to gather within reason. The question is, are the popular spotting locations within airport property considered public or nonpublic fora.
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