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: SpeakerTourResearch@metrostlouis.org.
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?