Legal issues

Texas cops and paramedics misapplying HIPAA laws, threatening photographers with arrest for photographing accident victims

In life, there are questions which – no matter how many times you ask – simply cannot be answered. Who shot JFK?? Did men really walk on the moon?? Is there a God??

But when the question involves your civil liberties and possibly being arrested for taking photographs, there should be a clear-cut answer.

Our question for today is direct: If you are taking photographs of paramedics treating an accident victim on the street in Arlington, Texas, will you be arrested for violating the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a rule which protects information about patient treatment and medical records?

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By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Legal issues
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DPD Officer caught being a big butthead on dashcam tape

When a DPD officer was being treated for a heart attack on the Santa Fe Trail last March, one officer did his darndest to make sure I did not get any photos (sorry, I did get some).

We don't know his real name (and he was not wearing the required nameplate), but we do know he plays rugby in Dallas leagues. So we named him Officer Rugby.

Officer Rugby.

We don't know his real name, but we do know he plays League Rugby in Dallas.

Notice he does not have a nameplate on his uniform.
By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Legal issues
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Dallas PD's New Right-to-Photograph Rules Are Seriously Watered Down

By Eric Nicholson / Dallas Observer

When Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, last visited Dallas in October, local law enforcement seemed damn near progressive in its approach to dealing with citizen photographers. Dallas police and the Dallas County Sheriff's Office didn't just encourage officers to attend the seminar he'd helped organize, The Right to Photograph and Record in Public, they hosted the event.

When a DPD officer suffered a heart attack while on bicycle patrol on the Santa Fe Trail, these officers and others did everything they could to stop the photographer from taking pictures. Too bad, they failed. Their actions are the subject of a DPD Internal Affairs review. (Photo by Avi S. Adelman)

Everyone, from high-ranking DPD officials to frequently standoffish police union officials like Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston, appeared to accept the notion that citizens are — and should be — legally allowed to shoot videos and photographs of cops performing their public duties. Matter of fact, Osterreicher was told, DPD was preparing to enshrine citizens' right to photograph in its policy manual.

Click here for the complete story at the Dallas Observer

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Legal issues
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Dallas Deputy hates having his photo taken by Barking Dog, lets loose a big pile of crap and intimidation (w/video!)

Last October, the Dallas Sheriff's Office (DSO) and Dallas Police Department co-hosted the largest ever held The Right To Photograph and Record in Public program for law enforcement, taught by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). Nearly 130 officers from North Texas, and as far away as Pasadena TX, spent four hours learning about the legal grounds and decisions in support of this simple concept, which has seen an expensive learning curve for police departments all across the country (usually costing millions of dollars in legal settlements in favor of the photographers who get pushed around.).

The event was organized by BarkingDog's real persona, Avi S. Adelman, who was a photographer before he was a dog on Lowest Greenville. Avi is a member of the NPPA, and he coordinated the event from Day One (way before the Ferguson riots and media beat-down by local police ever happened) - set up the co-hosting, the class location, local sponsors, and he even delivered the coffee and donuts.

After his confrontation with DART Police at a train/car wreck (they were not happy about his taking photographs of the wreck and refusing to stay in the media pit like all the other media) back in March, BD realized the 'right to photograph in public' issue was going to cause some major tension in Dallas, so he organized the NPPA event.

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Legal issues
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Dallas Police are better than most in dealing with photographers and cop watchers

By Sky Chadde / Unfair Park / Dallas Observer - October 17, 2014

Max Geron, the Dallas Police Department's media relations officer, smiled and shook his head in disbelief. In the video, a veteran East Coast police officer approached a photojournalist, who was standing across the street from a traffic stop with multiple squad cars present, and told him to leave. The officer didn't seem to know that, as long as they don't insert themselves into the scene, citizens and journalists have the right to film officers in public. Also, within reason, officers have the right to keep those taking pictures a certain distance away. However, "'Go away and step off the face of the earth' is not reasonable," said the moderator of a panel on the issue Thursday night, which is essentially what the East Coast officer told the photojournalist.

The moderator, a former photographer and a current media-rights lawyer, said that police officers have a sensitivity toward one of their own being filmed, and that's when Geron, who publicly is a progressive on policing, took the mic to defend not the East Coast officer's behavior, but the mentality that may lead to it.

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By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Legal issues
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