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Rooftop Photographer Facing Serious Charges for Climbing Ben Franklin Bridge

Rooftop Photographer Facing Serious Charges for Climbing Ben Franklin Bridge

On July 25, New York-based Photographer Martin J. Romero-Clark was apprehended due to climbing Ben Franklin Bridge to take some urban scenic photos. As a matter of course, it is dangerous and an illegal act to climb on a bridge, but now he is facing three felonies, each may carry a sentence of up to seven years.

Recently, we all witnessed photographers and models climbing high buildings and most of these incidents had widespread media coverage, and yet rooftop photography has always been very dangerous, even causing deaths. Luckily, Romero-Clark didn’t have an unfortunate accident during the incident, but now he is in a very serious legal situation.

Romero-Clark is a professional photographer, originally from Portland, Oregon. After graduating college as a business administrator in 2010, he started living in NYC and started his career as a professional photographer in 2011. He had never been in a trouble or arrested before, and he had no intentions of doing any harm on the day of the incident.

On the night of the incident, he and his friend were spotted by the police around 12:45 a.m., and taken down by seven police officers after the bridge was shut down. After his custody, all his photography gear, including a Nikon D810, Nikon 24mm f/2.8, and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 was confiscated at Delaware Port Authority office and now he is unable to work as a freelancer due to absence of his gear, which put him in a serious financial difficulty.

After all that’s happened, Romero-Clark is glad that no one got hurt in the end and he is remorseful, but now he is waiting for his trial on September 13, which he will be facing serious charges that may affect his life. In the meantime, his friend started a fund-raising campaign for the legal costs of his trial.

You might call this an irresponsible or a thoughtless incident, but considering all the possible consequences, do you think is it fair to get sentenced? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Burak Erzincanli's picture

Burak is a photographer and creative retoucher specialising in fashion and advertising, working with international clients from Canada, Europe and Australia.

Currently lives and works in Manchester, UK.

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Previous comments

do you think is it fair to get sentenced?" Ummm YESSSS!!!! I'm getting extremely annoyed at the blatant disregard for others safety. These so called photographers are just selfish individuals not thinking about anyone but themselves. If he had fallen off the bridge, landed on the hood or roof a passing car or motorcyclist and killed the innocent traveler, who put them in harms way. HE DID.
This is just like the article when an angry truck driver was harassing a dumb unthinking photographer last year, when the photographer parked an Audi R8 in the middle of a so called "deserted road" with no common sense to have proper safety in place (police or city official present to control traffic.
Bottom line, think of others before acting like you are entitled to do what you want.

Fund raising for legal expenses from doing something illegal? Okay. I was just ran over by a train for shooting on the tracks. Fund raiser coming to pay my medical bills.

First of all, why did you post a photo of New York City when talking about a Philadelphia bridge?? And then to add insult to injury you call it a New Jersey bridge. Gather the facts before you write an article.

What is the issue? The photographer knew he was breaking the law and he knew the threat of terrorism is a real problem. Unless you are an anarchist, everyone should agree the photographer deserves at least a fine.