Los Angeles County Sheriff's Commander: Officers Trained That "Potential Terrorist" Activity Such as Photography Merits Pat-Down Search
Sunday, October 23, 2011
by Greggory Moore
1:50pm | Captain Steven M. Roller of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has told Long Beach Post that it is standard practice to detain and pat down photographers for "potential terrorist" activity such as photographing a courthouse.
His latest installment reveals that Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies are trained to search photographers who are taking pictures in public, which is illegal (the patdown, not the photography).
Here is what Captain Steven Roller told Moore:
I'm going to make sure, just real quick, I'm going to do a non-invasive pat-down, okay? And now I'm sure this guy doesn't have a weapon. Now I can kind of relax a bit and do the second part of this thing and find out why he's taking pictures of the courthouse, okay? … If you ever read anything about training material, they always tell you after you make sure there's no secreted weapons, then you always want to keep an eye on the hands. … But I know certainly that if I would have said, 'Can I see some identification?' that would have been too late. Because if I had said, 'Can I see some identification?' and you're going to reach back and get your wallet out of your back pocket, that's too late to suddenly say, 'Oh, maybe I need to pat you down to make sure you don't have a weapon,' because you're already going for the back pocket. That would have been too late.
Roller also confirmed that the aesthetics of the photographic subject is a criterion in determining whether a photographer's activity is suspicious.