Wed, Oct 03, 2012
Lawyers Say Agency May Have The Authority To Do So In Puerto Rico Where The Incident Occurred
A traveler heading for St. Kitts who was creating video of his trek through the airport in Puerto Rico reportedly had his camera confiscated and images deleted by TSA, and local laws may give them the right to do so.
The story is reported by the blog Photography Is Not A Crime and relayed by the online site The Blaze. According to the report, the passenger was recording at the TSA checkpoint when he was told to stop. The passenger asserted that he had a constitutional right to do so, and the TSO reportedly relented.
But after clearing the X-ray scanner, he said he was approached by two female agents, and again started recording video. He says the camera was "violently ripped from my hands" and that they also took his passport and boarding pass and "ran off to some corner to confer with one another."
The passenger then engaged in an exchange with a police officer in which they discussed the constitutionality of recording video in a public place, expectation of privacy, and local versus federal laws. When he finally got the camera back, he found that the chip on which the video and still photos are stored was missing. He did get that back as well, after threatening to call a lawyer, but all but one short video clip had been deleted. In that clip, a woman who does not appear to be wearing any official uniform tells the photographer "you cant ... you can't."
One commenter in the ensuing online discussion indicated that, while Puerto Rico is a U.S. protectorate, it has its own laws, constitution, and legal system. Attorneys shown the discussion thread by The Blaze indicated that the photographer would likely lose the case in a local court. TSA does warn on its website that local laws might prohibit photographing at screening locations.
(Image from only video clip not deleted posted on YouTube)
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