View Full Version : Costco, April 16th.

2006-04-17, 04:46 PM
I don’t usually write these spotter blotters, but yesterday while spotting at Costco we had a police encounter that was very interesting.. I will not mention any names but I was spotting for a few hours along with a few other guys. Around 5:30 two Nassau County Police show up and start with usual “what are you doing?” “ You should not be taking pictures of planes at this time”. They go on to take are Id’s and check us out. Before I continue let me just say that there where many different ethnic groups represented out on Sunday Afternoon. After about 5 minutes one of the officers calls out my name and I walk on over. He begins by asking if I had ever been checked out before. I say of course and then he asked if I know the guys that I am spotting with. If I had ever met them before. He says something like can you trust these guys, are you sure you know who you are out here with and so on. I go on to tell him that we know each other from Online websites and that I had meet some of these guys in person before. Then he gives me “Do you know what is going on in Iran?” “You just don’t care what’s going on”. After a few more minutes of this I tried to explain what we were doing there gave him a nycaviation post card which he kept by the way and then he told me to wait by my car. After lets say another 10-15 minutes they return our ID’s but with a whole new attitude. Ready for this “Sorry to Inconvenience you and have a good afternoon”. I know everything turned out ok but the whole incident just didn’t sit right with me. Racial Profiling at it worst.

2006-04-17, 05:23 PM
I don't know, there were some pretty shaddy characters there that day. A nice showing of the OG clan :) I bailed early so missed the fun. But you're right, pretty f'up of him to question you in that way.


2006-04-18, 09:41 AM
That's very interesting. Nassau police questioned me on Thursday at Costco, but they were very nice. They made no comment about "you shouldn't be doing this," but rather said something how what we were doing is fine, but other people were concerned so they just wanted to check us out.

In your instance, I would definitely cite racial profiling.


Matt Molnar
2006-04-18, 11:11 AM
I still don't understand how taking pictures of planes would benefit a terrorist plot. Has anyone ever stopped for taking photos of aircraft turned out to be connected to Al Qaeda or Iran?

2006-04-18, 01:18 PM
I'm sorry to hear that you and these other photogs were subjected to that kind of behavior from Law Enforcement. It just shows yet another way that our hobby is being undermined by ignorance, unwillingness to learn and a lack of experiences with people who are of different nationalities. This is a very tricky situation for photogs as it demonstrates that some of us might have our rights denied just because of where you are from, how your last name sounds or the color of your skin. Our Local NYC spotters grounp is as diverse as the airlines that fly into JFK....its just too bad some don't know this.

I do hope that the cop a legitimate concern in asking because of the situation you mentioned earlier- eventhough we know our guys had nothing to do with it.



2006-04-18, 01:33 PM
Good God, it is just getting worse and worse. I always thought the police were supposed to be held to a higher authority. They seem to be turning into thugs who are just going to try to push us around with intimidation and as Eric pointed out racial profiling. Did you get a badge number Eric? I mean if this doesn't improve we are going to have to do something. We are going backwards here.

2006-04-20, 09:41 PM
Hi Eric,
Thanks for the support. While I appreciate the finest of Nassau County to come out and check us out, I believe they could be at least decent enough to handle the situation in a non-hostile way. In my travels all over the world I can truly say that NY area cops have easily the worst attitude. Thats why I much rather visit LA, HKG, SYD or NRT than JFK. Funny, I still consider JFK as my 'home field' even tho I live 15 miles from Bradley field in CT as it was the airport that started it all for me back in mid 80's when I use to visit the open IAB & PanAM terrace.
I take no joy in driving 2 & 1/2 hour just to be moved on in 15 minutes and not be able to do the thing I love. However, we as Americans cannot just give up either. I believe spotting in post 9/11 has to be done with responsibility and awareness. And I know NY Aviation photags are very much on par with those things.

2006-04-29, 02:41 PM
"Oh no racial profiling? How could they? I mean my 92-year old white grandmother should be seen in the same light as young Mohammad! Time to send these punks for some more sensitivity training!"
-Post made with liberal amounts of sarcasm.