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View Full Version : Incident at Trenton-Mercer Airport - 3/30/2013



Cary
03-30-2013, 07:42 PM
Here we go again. Two months since my last incident, and after being assured by the very nice airport manager that I was indeed allowed to photograph from public spaces, I once again had a run in with a Mercer County Sheriff's Deputy at TTN. I was waiting for the Frontier A319 to push back, and when the anti-collision beacon turned on, I got out of my car, and approached the side of the terminal. On the way, an officer was just leaving the terminal, and I said "hi" as I passed him. While the A319 was being unhooked from the tug, I heard "is there something I can help you with?" behind me, and I turned to see that same officer there. I told him "no, I'm just about to take pictures of the Frontier plane", and his response was "And you think it's okay to take pictures at an airport post 9/11???". He asked for my ID, and I said "sure" (as I got it out), and then said, "but [airport manager's name]" said it's fine for me to take photos here. He asked who [airport manager's name] is, and I told him it was the manager. He then said "come on, let's go talk to her right now..come on", and as I walked with him, I said "I don't think she'll be in today [since it was a weekend]", and he said "well, you dropped her name...come on, let's go see her". Seriously? Telling an officer that I have permission from the airport manager is name dropping?! :mad: We went into the terminal, where the officer looked around, and found an airport employee near the boarding area. He said something to the effect of "this gentleman was taking photos of the tower and airfield" [not true, I hadn't even taken any photos at that point, and I was only going to take pictures of the Frontier] and asked him if he had seen me before. The employee said no (it wasn't the airport manager), then the officer asked if I was allowed to take pictures there. The employee said sure, as long as I wasn't past the fence (which I obviously wasn't). The officer let me go, and I just barely got off a few pictures as the Frontier taxied away, then I left the airport.

The entire time, I was polite, non-confrontational, and was willing to ease his mind by giving him my ID, so he could see my background was crystal clear. In return for my cooperation, he basically treated me like I was a dog -- "come on", "let's go", etc. And he wasn't saying those things because I was slouching behind or anything...I was walking in front of him. It's sad that it's been over 11 years since 9/11 and police still bring it up, and somehow try to link aviation photography with the events of that day. It's also sad that I (once again) had permission to photograph there (along with that little thing called the First Amendment), and I continue to get harassed by some Mercer County Sheriff's Deputies who wish to make up their own rules -- all at an airport which gets 4 commercial flights per day (soon to be around 10...fly Frontier from TTN! -- just don't get out your dangerous camera). I won't stop photographing at my hometown airport, where I've been taking pictures for over 15 years, nor will I have my rights stepped on, so I will be writing the airport manager a message to hopefully find a solution to stop this harassment.

AJ
03-30-2013, 08:10 PM
Cary,

It's frustrating just reading your post. These guys are like a broken record, you know it's coming but good for you to keep at it.

AJ

wunaladreamin
03-31-2013, 12:26 AM
The only thing I'm learning is never spot with Cary. He's bad luck lol.

Kris V
03-31-2013, 01:19 AM
"Watch out that 70-200mm, it could hurt someone!" -Police logic.

yankees368
03-31-2013, 08:25 AM
Ugh, this is awful. Are you sure this guy doesn't work for the PAPD?

megatop412
03-31-2013, 08:56 AM
Man, two weeks in a row. That's terrible. I myself would be motivated to go to the sherrif's department and ask to speak with a supervisor, or someone in some position of authority. Bring work samples and a list of references, and names of officers(if you got them) you interacted with. I would approach it from the angle of "we need to find a way to coexist, because I'm not breaking any laws, I have their permission, and I'm not going to stop engaging in my livelihood". Say you want to find out how to file a complaint that you're being harassed. They are there to SERVE THE PUBLIC, of which you are a part.

Some here might say 'oh don't try to go hard on the police', but you know what? This IS harassment, plain and simple, and Cary has every right to complain about it. He has been nothing but nice to them(nicer than I would have been) and going in there afterwards is what is always suggested here anyway, as oposed to talking back at the individual officer in the field. There should be some kind of letter the 'chief' can give him that he can show to whatever deputy of the day decides to treat him like a misbehaving child.

It never ceases to amaze me how crazy these incidents are at this rinky-dink little field(sorry Cary trying to make a point that it ain't EWR)

RWB
03-31-2013, 10:56 AM
"is there something I can help you with?"
Why yes there is, my name is Cary Liao and i'm a aviation news blogger doing a story on Frontier suspending flights here for a runway upgrade http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2013/03/frontier_airlines_will_tempora.html can you escort me out on the ramp for a close up shot???:tongue:

Zee71
03-31-2013, 12:03 PM
Cary ...... Sorry to hear of yet another incident. I think as mentioned maybe getting a letter with an official letter head from the airport manager may be helpful. Also maybe the airport manager can keep your name on file just in case.

Aviation.High.Guy
03-31-2013, 01:11 PM
"And you think it's okay to take pictures at an airport post 9/11???"

You should have told him that he's "9/11 dropping". The fact that he needed to say 9/11 shows his ignorance.
Does he think he just created a new law by saying that, or that he sounds more official? I love the way uninformed
law enforcers think "post 9/11" makes it official.

Cary
03-31-2013, 01:40 PM
Cary ...... Sorry to hear of yet another incident. I think as mentioned maybe getting a letter with an official letter head from the airport manager may be helpful. Also maybe the airport manager can keep your name on file just in case.

I will definitely see if I can get some kind of letter that I can pull out to try to diffuse the situation before it comes to the whole ID/let's go talk to someone stage.

Thanks, everyone. I'll reach out to the airport manager soon, and let you know how things go. It's extremely aggravating, being a law-abiding citizen of the United States, having absolutely no criminal history, and being treated like a criminal when I'm doing absolutely nothing wrong. And having to deal with all the stress these interactions bring about. Photography is protected by the First Amendment, and even if an officer blindly believes that aviation photography had something to do with 9/11 or is part of some nefarious plot, they are supposed to uphold laws, not create them on the fly.

NIKV69
03-31-2013, 02:26 PM
Actually the only way that behavior is going to be addressed is by talking to his superiors and or filing a complaint. This officers behavior was totally unprofessional and we are back to making up laws. In the past when it's been brought up the consensus is not to take this action. Well nothing will improve if these officers have no accountability for their terrible behavior.

jerslice
04-01-2013, 10:54 AM
Actually the only way that behavior is going to be addressed is by talking to his superiors and or filing a complaint.

Agree with Nick. The situation appears to be beyond the control of airport mgmt to solve...I'd file a complaint against with the officers boss or with whomever is at the top. There's zero reason you should have to deal with this junk.

gonzalu
04-01-2013, 11:51 AM
Do we need to show up en-force down there and have the officers check ALL of us out? I think it would be good to show that you are not some loner... let me know if you want some more backup :) Glad you handled it well enough he ran out of excuses to hold you or question beyond reason. However, the damage was done as you missed the target.

megatop412
04-01-2013, 01:14 PM
Do we need to show up en-force down there and have the officers check ALL of us out? I think it would be good to show that you are not some loner... let me know if you want some more backup :) Glad you handled it well enough he ran out of excuses to hold you or question beyond reason. However, the damage was done as you missed the target.

count me in, that's just an hour north of me

Aviation.High.Guy
04-01-2013, 01:29 PM
I'm in.

Vidiot
04-01-2013, 04:50 PM
I will definitely see if I can get some kind of letter that I can pull out to try to diffuse the situation before it comes to the whole ID/let's go talk to someone stage.

Thanks, everyone. I'll reach out to the airport manager soon, and let you know how things go. It's extremely aggravating, being a law-abiding citizen of the United States, having absolutely no criminal history, and being treated like a criminal when I'm doing absolutely nothing wrong. And having to deal with all the stress these interactions bring about. Photography is protected by the First Amendment, and even if an officer blindly believes that aviation photography had something to do with 9/11 or is part of some nefarious plot, they are supposed to uphold laws, not create them on the fly.

Exactly.

Yeah, a letter saying you can spot would be nice, but what would be even better is if police officers know and respect the law, chiefly the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. People have posted here and elsewhere about being harassed in the NYC subway (I'm one of them) even though we can quote chapter and verse from the MTA regulations about how noncommercial photography is explicitly permitted. And what of the next spotter there, who just wants to see some planes, isn't bent on mayhem of any kind, and doesn't have the admirable track record and publication history that you do? Spotting should be accessible to all. Especially when you're in a public place and not breaking any laws.

Steven Holzinger
04-07-2013, 09:27 AM
If there are weekend flights count me in. Just about an hour north of me (actually I think a little bit less).

Delta777LR
04-11-2013, 11:06 AM
"Watch out that 70-200mm, it could hurt someone!" -Police logic.

It can!!
http://www.nycaviation.com/hosting/009934.jpg

Landing Lights
04-11-2013, 11:54 AM
Come on Sergio, go big or go home! I don't think any of us would last 10 seconds out there with one of these before the cops got involved.
http://www.sharpshooterindustries.com/images/500mm_standing.jpg

Delta777LR
04-11-2013, 11:20 PM
M16 or Ak47 would work good for lens lol