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View Full Version : EWR Spotting Incident 1/10/10



PhilDernerJr
01-10-2010, 07:30 PM
I hear that a group of spotters had a unique encounter at EWR today. For anyone involved, I'd love to hear more about what happened.

As a reminder, this forum is intended to discuss facts about what happened. I welcome all to voice their opinions, but police-bashing is not welcome. Let's try to keep our comments mature, professional and constructive.

wunaladreamin
01-10-2010, 07:37 PM
Let's also be mindful that laws will vary from state to state so one must exercise a bit more caution whilst shooting "on the road."

threeholerglory
01-10-2010, 07:58 PM
Hey guys, we were shooting from just north of the old economy lot that's defunct that sits between the 22's and the turnpike where we got all kinds of gold. Not a single cop or employee stopped to have a word with us. After lunch at McDonalds where for some unknown reason about 7 police cars flew through the parking lot seemingly on a manhunt, we went back to EWR. We're still unsure of what happened at McDonald's, but it was in quite the sketchy area of Newark. After going to the economy lot on the north side, just east of the cargo buildings we parked in a spot that some young lady was trying to get into AFTER we spotted it. So, since we were in better position, we backed up, and pulled into the spot while laughing hysterically at how livid she was. Quite frankly, her sheer anger alone should have out-weighed the allegations against us.

After shooting for about an hour, we noticed what I would presume was some form of rentacop searching for something. Approximately 15-20 minutes later, one PAPD car was behind us, blocking us into our spot...shortly thereafter, I counted what I thought was four more PAPD cars to "help". (Is that a record?). One officer came out and immediately and sternly demanded license, registration and insurance while asking what we were doing. After explaining we were taking pictures of the airplanes as was our hobby, the officer chuckled, lightened up a bit and asked for all of our cameras. After I realized what was happening and that our camera equipment alone could probably rival the value of the officer's cruiser, it was suggested that only the memory cards be turned over in the spirit of cooperation. The officer took our memory cards and licenses to do what I would assume were background checks. After what had to have been 20 minutes of background checks, the officer returned out licenses and kept our memory cards which are going to be mailed to us at an undisclosed date.

While all of this was happening, an older gentleman who seemed like parking lot security claimed that we should not be taking pictures of airplanes since we did not have written permission from each airline. He further claimed that such practices constitute espionage. Again, in the spirit of cooperation and quite frankly being educated individuals, we remained quiet and nodded our heads.

After having a long discussion with a fellow spotter today (there were six of us in one van =P), we came to the conclusion that formal complaints or writing to the press regarding the violation of our rights as a result of taking our memory cards was not in our best interest. However, there is still much information to be revealed primarily about the state of the photos on the cards.

After seeing the officer lighten up and joking around with us, we hope that the PAPD will simply look at our pictures only to find some airplanes and that their only concern lie in anyone taking photos of the security or infrastructure.

I guess we'll have to see how it all pans out, but all in all, no one got arrested but it was a great day. A wise man once told me, "a friend is someone who will bail you out of jail. A best friend is one who will sit next to you in your cell and say holy **** that was awesome!" Well guess what boys, "HOLY **** THAT WAS AWESOME!!!"

wunaladreamin
01-10-2010, 08:02 PM
Was this lot public or private? And on or off EWR grounds?

flyboy 28
01-10-2010, 08:08 PM
It's an official EWR parking lot, so I'm assuming it's owned by Port.

wunaladreamin
01-10-2010, 08:10 PM
At best, you guys paid your parking fee, rolled the dice and got burned. At worst, criminal tresspass and you should thank heaven you didn't get collared. I still think the Port guys are guilty of pettit larceny for taking your memory cards. If they were going to collar you guys up, then the cards are vouchered as evidence, but since you weren't, it's theft. I also wouldn't expect to see those memory cards again. This is why I don't shoot EWR. It's not worth the trouble.

NIKV69
01-10-2010, 08:12 PM
No parking lot is public property. If your not arrested they have no right to take your CF card or touch your equipment without your permission. I would contact Port and ask for it back ASAP. I know it's a sensitive time at EWR and PA has a job to do but they just can't start doing this. Searching a car and doing what has to be done to figure out who you are and what you are doing is one thing when they start just taking stuff is another matter.

T-Bird76
01-10-2010, 08:18 PM
Did they give you a receipt for taking the cards? If not I'd be all over that as soon as possible.

Gerard
01-10-2010, 08:26 PM
No parking lot is public property. If your not arrested they have no right to take your CF card or touch your equipment without your permission. I would contact Port and ask for it back ASAP. I know it's a sensitive time at EWR and PA has a job to do but they just can't start doing this. Searching a car and doing what has to be done to figure out who you are and what you are doing is one thing when they start just taking stuff is another matter.

Maybe when you guys go spotting especially EWR and JFK you should bring a lawyer with you. :)
Or back-up memory cards and do a sleight-of-hand and then the ol' switcheroo. :lol:

heeshung
01-10-2010, 08:50 PM
Did they give you a receipt for taking the cards? If not I'd be all over that as soon as possible.

No receipt was ever given.


Maybe when you guys go spotting especially EWR and JFK you should bring a lawyer with you. :)
Or back-up memory cards and do a sleight-of-hand and then the ol' switcheroo. :lol:

The officer actually warned us about giving him blank cards, and threatened with falsifying information.

Delta777LR
01-10-2010, 09:00 PM
We also requested to actually show the officer the pictures ourselves which in my opinion would have made it alot easier.. But he decided to just take the CF cards, and to me thats not right at all.. Im hoping that if I get my card back that nothing is deleted, in which I believe they have no right to do so..

hiss srq
01-10-2010, 09:37 PM
Sergio and group. I have family who is a PAPD tour commander, if anyone would wish, PM me your cell phone number and I will make a call on behalf to see what can be done. It is nonsense that they would take the CF cards. It makes no sense. I have photographed several incidents at LGA and never once was there an issue.

Derf
01-10-2010, 09:44 PM
they can not delete your cards...if they do you have one hell of a law suit that you can not loose... A judge can order it but it is equal to tearing up film....1st amendment rights forbid them to destroy the images unless it is of a military installation where posted signs are shown saying no photography or if you are taking pictures of a military aircraft interior without prior written permission. I do not think there are many other ways the judge can destroy.

Matt Molnar
01-10-2010, 11:16 PM
Keep an eye out on anet for a new user named PAPD with all your UA crash pics. :)

JZ1
01-11-2010, 08:28 AM
Initially I thought the police action was directly related to the UA 320 landing gear crash. But from your description it didn't seem to be the case. Am I reading this right?

threeholerglory
01-11-2010, 08:46 AM
JZ1, you are correct. We were stopped a few hours after taking photos of the accident and no mention was made that security was tighter due to the accident.

PhilDernerJr
01-12-2010, 12:30 PM
All,

Great news! All of the memory cards have been recovered intact! I believe the cards still have all of their photos on them as well.

Though I don't want to discuss too much publicly for respect of the parties involved, it was admitted that it was not right for the cards to be taken away, and we have been told that such confiscation will not happen again. Although, we must continue to respect law enforcement as we always do. Do remember that PANYNJ is allowed to have a rule prohibiting photography on their facilities. Just keep that in mind when spotting on actual airport grounds.

The ultimate cooperation on both sides of the equation was great. These situations are unfortunate, but the end does seem to bring a more friendly, positive result as we saw here.

Obviously, I've reinstated this thread, with some editing done due to some negative responses after a misleading post or two. As always, please continue to respect law enforcement on your spotting adventures and work together to represent each other, as fellow enthusiasts, in a mature and professional manner. With this issue now fully resolved, I've locked this thread.

People who have further questions about this can contact me via PM or email. :)

Thank you all!!