POLICE STATE: St. Louis Man Arrested for Video Taping at Public Train Station

A St. Louis man was arrested by police at the end of October merely for video taping at an outdoor, taxpayer-funded MetroLink transit train platform.

The man, one Kenneth Suitter, was commuting home on October 31 and was using his cell phone to record his travel for personal use when he was confronted by a MetroLink rent-a-cop who told him he had to stop recording.

As the security man told Suitter in his best, erudite manner, if he continued to record on MetroLink property, “I will have to ax you to leave, sir.”

When Suitter told the security guard that he had no right to tell him to stop recording, the guard called the real police to confront the commuter.

Before he was able to leave on a train, police came and began to force Mr. Suitter to leave the train station telling him it was against MetroLink’s policy to allow video recording.

As he was being herded off the train platform and toward the exit of the station area, one cop asked for Suitter’s ID. The commuter informed him (several times) that there is no law preventing him from videography and then he refused to provide an ID for the officer.

Officers illegally harassing videographer

Then the officer arrested him for “trespassing” on MetroLink property… yes, the same public transportation system paid for by tax dollars.

After his illegal arrest, Suitter discovered that MetroLink’s own website says that it permits videotaping by riders.

Here is what was said on the MetroLink site as of Nov. 3, 2013 (the day we posted this story here)…

Filming & Photography

Metro permits the general public to use hand-held cameras to take photographs, film, or video within public areas of Metro stations, transit centers, and transit vehicles for personal and non-commercial use.

Photographing and filming video on the Metro System is permitted with the following limitations:

Photographers and videographers who wish to take photos, film, or video for commercial use, or who need to set up tripods, lighting, or other equipment on Metro property may be required to sign a permit and provide a certificate of insurance 7-10 business days prior to the proposed shoot. For approval, call 314-982-1440 or e-mail: [email protected]

Please be advised that security personnel may approach photographers and videographers to inquire about their purpose. Activities may be limited for security, safety, or customer convenience.

All photographers and videographers are prohibited from entering, photographing, or videotaping non-public areas of the Metro system.

All photographers and videographers are prohibited from interfering with Metro operations, from impeding customer traffic flow, and blocking doors or stairs.

A screenshot of the MetroLink Video and Photography policy as of Nov. 4, 2013

Further, it is not illegal to use a video camera in public in Missouri. As Reason.com notes in its “7 Rules for Recording Police,” Missouri is not one of the few states that demands that all parties must consent to being taped beforehand. But even in the few states that have dual consent laws, police are exempted from any “expectation of privacy,” anyway.

The fact is, Suitter was not breaking any laws and his arrest was just another example of the growing police state in America.

What do you think, though? Did Suitter protest too much and force the hand of the officers confronting him? Or were they clearly out of line and acting like jackbooted thugs instead of officers of the law?

(H/T LiveLeak)

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  • jim_m

    Police abuse authority, fail to understand what the law is; film at 11.

    In other news, a dog bit a man and the sun rose in the east today.

  • GarandFan

    Speaking as a retired cop……..Metrolink and the City had better get their checkbook out. Just sign the check. Suitter can fill in the amount later.

    • Hawk_TX

      I agree that the city should be made to pay. However I think that the officers should be held personally liable for wrongfully arresting him. They can’t actually claim to have been doing their jobs since Suitter did not commit a crime.

      They should be treated the same as anybody else who takes somebody against their will by force. Of course that would result in charges of armed assault, kidnapping and wrongful arrest. Holding officers responsible for their actions like this is the only thing that will end the too frequent abuse of police authority.

  • Lawrence Westlake

    The plural of anecdote is not data, painting with too broad a brush results in no picture whatsoever, St. Louis is not the entire country and the world is not crashing down. Let’s not smoke from Glenn Beck’s crack pipe.

    • jim_m

      Maybe you could open up your eyes, imbecile. This is such a common incident that Glenn Reynolds has a recurring theme titled War on Photography. For all your high sounding rhetoric you are woefully ignorant about what is actually going on in this country.

    • Commander_Chico

      This kind of thing is happening all over the country. this is not an isolated incident.

    • Jwb10001

      Ah Glenn Beck’s crack pipe makes another appearance. I think this guy is some kind of random word generator that keys off certain phrases and generates a response. If it sees a certain combination of words it automatically types Glenn Beck’s crack pipe, followed or preceded by a string of non sense. Then the entire program disengages and moves to the next threat and repeats the process.

      • At least it has become less loquacious on its employers dime.

    • warnertoddhuston

      Is there peace in our times Neville Westlake Chamberlain?

  • marigolds6

    They put the surveillance footage on TV today. Shows him spending 20 minutes shoving his camera into the faces of other passengers before the security guard stops him.

    • Brucehenry

      Got a link to that?

      • marigolds6

        I think it was KMOV. Their original story on the incident from a couple of days ago has been pulled from their website, so that probably means it will be an evening news story today. Fox2 (KTVI) has been following the story as well, so might see it from them too. Metro put out a press release via their facebook page (since it was getting slammed), but no sign of the footage on their website (press release at https://www.facebook.com/STLMetro/posts/10151731396250143) That does mean though that Metro has the footage and is making it available to news media.

        • Brucehenry

          I figured there was more to it than the guy just standing there minding his own business. Not to say he deserved to be arrested, but there may be a little more to it, is all I’m saying.

  • Brucehenry