A boy scout coming back into the U.S. after a trip with his troop to Canada found himself at the other end of a pointed gun when he reached for his suitcase without permission. The situation unfolded when the boy scout took a photograph of a border patrol officer as they were crossing back into the U.S. The officer he was photographing “immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000, and receive 10 years in prison,” Troop Leader Jim Fox said in a statement to KCCI.
Eventually, the Boy Scout member had to delete the photograph, but there was a point at which he reached for his suitcase without permission, prompting the officer to draw his gun on the member.
While attorney Angela Campbell said the threats of fines and prison sentences were simply not accurate, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the port of entry where the picture was taken is federal property and an area where photography is prohibited.
While it makes sense that border patrol and customs agencies around the world would like their ports of entry kept private, these reactions against photography come up far too often and much too strongly.
When will people have a more appropriate response to photography? Why is it that officers like Efrain Rojas feel the need to assault videographers filming on what is obviously public property?
When will photographers taking pictures of anything with “no apparent aesthetic value” stop being considered terrorists?
Why can’t more cities, counties, states, and federal agencies adopt policies more similar to those of Washington D.C.’s police department?
While there are many great officers of the law provide a great service and risk their lives protecting ours, it’s extremely unfortunate that so many still seem to thrive on the power associated with their positions when even the law isn’t on their side. When will officers be held more accountable for their actions without the need for lengthy and expensive lawsuits to receive apologies and compensation?
U.S. Customs and Border Protection's policies against photography make sense for the same reasons that the TSA’s security area photography policies do: if you remove the ability to take photographs in these areas, planning ways to bypass these secure areas becomes increasingly difficult. But did this officer at the Canadian/U.S. border take it too far? The boy was a Boy Scout, after all...
Read the full story and decide for yourself.