Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Weekly's photographer detained by MPs for taking pictures from public place; gets apology

The Defense Department has apologized for twice detaining weekly newspaper photographer Nic Coury for taking photos, while on public property, of the exterior of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. (One of those photos shows the school's entrance.)

Coury, of the Monterey County Weekly, was taking photos from a public sidewalk April 2, then again April 4, when he was stopped, questioned, and told to delete his pictures, Mary Duan writes for the paper. "Coury asked if he was being detained and the officers told him 'no,' but when asked if he was free to leave, they also said, 'no,'" Duan writes. The second time he was detained, when he asked "under what specific law or authority the Department of Defense officers were operating, Deputy Chief of Police Shayne Gardner told him: 'We can arrest you and you can find out the interpretation in court if you want to go that route.'"

The department admitted that its police were in the wrong, but despite the fact that its deputy chief was involved, blamed the incident on a training issue. A school spokesman told the paper in an email, "While the security personnel thought they were performing their duties appropriately, they acted beyond their actual authority. We have no authority to detain personnel outside the base on public property." (Read more)

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