Photographer beaten, detained in London for being "cocky" to policeman who implies she is a terrorist

In this video, two British police officers come up to a young woman who is filming a building and harass her, imply that she is a terrorist, intimidate her, demand to see her footage. The policeman says that he's harassing her for being "cocky" -- punishing her for failing to cringe sufficiently. England's police chiefs have ordered policemen to stop harassing photographers, but this officer called for backup and 7 more officers converged on the photographer. The photographer was brutally detained -- she is covered in bruises -- and fined but she had the presence of mind to return to the scene and interview the witnesses to the assault.

i'm not a terrorist (Thanks, DavidB!)


  1. They’re not even real cops, just organized busybodies. Terrible idea to start that “community support officer program.”

  2. Why didn’t she just show the Nazi her footage and I.D.? What did she expect would happen if she didn’t play their game?

    1. all she had to do was comply with their requests and put a yellow star on her arm; would that have been such a bother, really?

  3. Damn, it usually takes a little longer for someone to drop the “why didn’t they just comply” spiel. You’re fast, Metronicity!!

  4. Everyone knows that only terrorists won’t show their IDs! (Because their ID cards clearly say “Terrorist” and then the jig would be up)

  5. What rings in my head at every one of these stories is how insane the basic fear is. That actual terrorists would buy cameras to take pictures of their targets is something out of cheap police procedurals and Michael Bay movies.

    Do they take these pictures, get them developed and then hang them on the wall of their evil lair with red-marker writing all over them reading “TODAY IS THE DAY!” and “PLANT BOMB HERE!” with a big arrow?

    This kind of “police” work is about as effective as preventing crime as giving people turing tests to see if they are, in fact, actually evil robots.

    1. Haha, so true, and the sad thing is, if a cop saw such a print-out I’d bet the pictured building will be evacuated and put under lock-down. Sounds like an opportunity for great socially disruptive experiment (print out and accidentally forget such papers, see everybody panic!), of course if they catch you they’ll treat you like a real terrorist.

      So one can conclude that even implying terrorism is nowadays terrorism… and to think TIME chickened out of naming Osama their man of the year. He really did change the whole world.

    2. This kind of “police” work is about as effective as preventing crime as giving people turing tests to see if they are, in fact, actually evil robots.

      Not sure if this is an intentional reference to “Blade Runner.”

      That was, uh, the whole point of the film, really.

  6. It’s disturbing that police are ignoring the directive to stop hassling photographers, but even more disturbing that the company responsible for the CCTV cameras reckons the footage is only for the evidence of crime by non-cops…

    When are the Poms gonna crack the shits over this and protest?

  7. “You’re an artist; do you have any identification?”
    “Will these paint stains on my hands do?”

    This is just ridiculous. Poor woman. I’m not aware that Being Cocky is yet an offence in the UK – sure someone’s working on it though.

  8. It is an unfortunate fact that police work attracts the bully mind set. Creating a class of “cop” who doesn’t have to go through the same training is just a bad idea in general. This would attract the ultra-bullies who couldn’t make the cut in the first place. Added to this is the sense of inferiority they feel toward the real cops, so they are extra zealous and superior over the citizens.

  9. It was her fault for not pointing out the Jewish family hiding next door. Ooops, sorry. Wrong decade.

    Glad to see hooligans and skinheads in England have gotten police jobs.

  10. Ooh, it’s the Paddington basin in London (i can see where she was stopped from my office building). You very rarely see any coppers around there. There is also very little ‘iconic’ there as its all new buildings.

    I bet they’d get really upset if i wandered around with my SLR and a 300mm lens randomly snapping at all the .. erm, office buildings and apartments. I often wander around bits of london with my camera ‘just for fun’ and would be also a bit upset if a CSO started questioning me for no good reason.

    If he’d really thought that she was involved in terrorism he should have called for a police officer and searched her under section 44.

    Sigh.. police state yada yada.. HOWEVER.. its like she intended to get questioned and make a youtube video… what with the interviews with locals afterwards

    1. Yep – have to say that she *could* have been a little less obstructive had she wished to be. Looks like she had an agenda before she was stopped; and a reasonable person might think that this agenda might both explain her attitude towards the community support officers, and bias the subsequent report.

      Not saying that the guy isn’t being a prat, but her smirking responses to his questions were hardly guaranteed to lead to a happy ending.

      Folks, just because someone’s a policeman, doesn’t mean that they’re

      (a) not doing a job that is at LEAST as valuable as videoing CCTV cameras for your art project, and

      (b) people to whom you must be rude, disobliging or obstructive.

      To be fair, she lost me on the squeaky jazz intro.

  11. If no one asserts their rights, then the police will never acknowledge those rights.
    Good for people like her who are willing to take it on the chin and sacrifice expedience for standing up for themselves. It is practically the definition of honorable behavior.
    I hope that I will be as brave and steadfast when my time comes.
    Stand tall, look them in the eye, and be clear.
    We are free men and they are bureaucrats and bullies.

    1. It’s worth repeating.

      “If no one asserts their rights, then the police will never acknowledge those rights.
      Good for people like her who are willing to take it on the chin and sacrifice expedience for standing up for themselves. It is practically the definition of honorable behavior.
      I hope that I will be as brave and steadfast when my time comes.
      Stand tall, look them in the eye, and be clear.
      We are free men and they are bureaucrats and bullies.”

      I’m with you.

  12. Wait, did he actually respond to the statement “I’m an artist” with “have you got any proof, got any identification?”

    Ladies and gentleman we have an officer requesting someone’s artistic license.

    “I’d love to show you my artistic license, but it’s in the form of a misapplied metaphor, and doesn’t fit in my wallet.”

    Nah, I’m with metronicity, she should have totally allowed the officer to go through her private possessions unchallenged, because as everyone knows, that never, ever turns out badly. Policemen are universally wise and just and never react out of irrational fears, especially not London police when dealing with someone with a foreign accent.

    I’d also like to blame the builders who shouted in her defence when she was surrounded by 7 police officers and being beaten, for obviously exacerbating the situation. In fact, I blame them more than the police, who may have damaged their knees on this woman’s back while defending us from her seditious, terrorist photography and slightly mocking attitude.

    Now, if you excuse me, I need a glass of water, as I’m choking on sarcasm.

    1. pete,

      Damn man, you have it! It’s time to license all artists. OK,ok, so the first task is to for someone to put together a licensing board and an exam.


  13. I think the main problem is that the cop instigating the harassment is struggling against his immense stupidity combined with an over-inflated sense of his own importance. When faced with questions/objections his limited brain capacity cannot cope and he resorts to bullying tactics.

  14. Although I don’t agree with the power the police have been given, it almost seems like this whole episode was planned in some way.

    She says she is an artist and the way the video is cut/edited including the music and text/graphics, it just seems to me like she purposely went someone and started filming with the intent to get a reaction from any nearby police/community support officer and then see what happened.

    1. Fusen, you seem to be confusing postwork with planning. Please note that postwork is done AFTER the fact. Planning is done BEFORE the fact. Postwork does not require planned footage to be done, you may be surprised to hear.

    2. it almost seems like this whole episode was planned in some way

      Isn’t that a sign of how bad the problem is? A person can plan to get arrested for doing something completely legal, go and do it, and then get arrested? This clearly isn’t ‘one bad cop’. I’d love to see the internal memo from England’s police chiefs that goes with the public ‘stop harassing photographers’ message.

  15. Is this Paddington Basin?

    The ‘policeman’ is actually a ‘Community Support Officer’ – basically a deputy. He started on the wrong foot himself by swaggering and chewing gum. I don’t blame her for being a bit cocky in return. He definitely needed disciplining and more training even before the assault started. .

  16. Typical. Give someone a badge like piece of plastic and a radio and add a camera, stir and watch the fun. BTW the issue to stop hassling people taking pics is rather new, give it a few months/years and it might catch on.

  17. These cops broke rule the golden rule:

    Golden rule == Destroy the evidence!

    I’ve had no police training, and I know enough at least to destroy her camera and any video.

  18. A real terrorist would never do anything so dangerous as photograph. They would just buy the postcards, put some message to mum on them and mail them to their cell. The story goes this was part of how Pearl Harbor was planned.

  19. I couldn’t get through more than 10 seconds of the clip because of the horrible shrieking jazz sound track.

  20. I am wondering why camera manufacturers don’t have a warning posted on their products?

    WARNING-Use of our products in public might result in beatings at the hands of uniformed morons.

  21. Dude. When you act like a jackbooted thug, you are supposed to “lose” the video footage. He obviously doesn’t have enough training.

  22. The state is fighting back for its right to harass photographers/videographers:

    “A suspected al-Qaeda gang was caught after a man was spotted filming potential targets on a mobile phone, police have said.

    Police believe the Algerian gang was planning to target train stations in London and shopping centres across England and Wales.

    Five men were arrested last year after one man was caught filming and acting suspiciously at Liverpool Street.

    The footage was released to explain why police may stop people who are filming.”

    Note: “suspects” and then the kicker:

    “The police said the CPS had decided there was sufficient evidence to bring terrorism charges, but it was not in the public interest because they would have received the same sentence as for fraud.”

    Anyone beleive that they wouldn’t have gone flat out for a terrorism charge instead of the fraud one if they really had a case? I fucking don’t.

    This ‘evidence’ is going to be used to flat-out justify the continuance of the harassment.

    The police are happily going to ignore the fact that out of the, literally, millions of people who may go about photographing or recording their surroundings for “fun” or ‘art’ (apparently not legitimate reasons according to the idiot in a uniform in the video) there will only ever be the tiniest fraction of a fraction of a hundredth of a percent who are doing so for any genuinely nefarious purpose.

    It’s called lack of sound judgement or leadership, I think (amongst other things).

    1. I’m beginning not to like the police much, and I’m normally quite sympathetic.
      Blue – you make the point that the police and CPS didn’t go for the terrorist charge and think the “they’d get the same for fraud” argument is bullshit. Clearly, of course, it is, and not just because of the bizarre cachet the police (and cretins like the rentathugs in the video heading this post) would get from a terrorism conviction, but also because surely they would have been done for both fraud and terrorism and done time for both.

      1. Mind you, having said that, the video is very annoying. And there is no way of knowing the veracity of the implied link between the bruises and her escapades.

  23. Reminds me of the droogies at the end of Clockwork Orange – thugs turned cops getting their jollies by going around intimidating people. Sick.

  24. @pete_darby,

    I agree, when I heard him ask for ID when she said she was an artist, I lol’d, thinking to myself “why yes officer, all us artists carry IDs, just like all those terrorist carry IDs”

  25. Hello, Greater London Metropolitan Police,

    This may come as a terrible shock to you, but there is not a single terrorist worth his/her salt that would openly photograph a building in London, or most other places for that matter. If there are terrorists photographing your wretched antique piles, or casing out the soul-sucking brutality that is Canary Wharf, they are NOT doing so in plain sight, in broad daylight and with big, flashy cameras bought at the shops.

    They will most likely do one of the following:

    * Use Google Earth
    * Go to the London transport site (, full of handy maps, timetables and, yes, pictures.
    * Go to the London Metropolitan Police site (, which is chock-a-block with oodles of great stuff about what you do and where you do it.

    They are also very likely to have a friend watching for the appearance of you and the rest of the cast of the Thin Blue Line ( as you keep Ol’ Blighty safe from lens flare and depth of field. A wave of the hand, and all cameras are down until you move out of sight. What clever buggers they are!

    One wonders when the Yard decided to take Dim from A Clockwork Orange as their role model.

  26. “I’d only told them the truth. Was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little, but it’s all that we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free.”

    “I shall die here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one. An inch. It’s small and it’s fragile and it’s the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.”


    “By sun-up if you’re not the sorriest piece of ass in all’a London… then you’ll certainly be the sorest!”

    -Tweed Fingerman

  27. One problem is that if he wants to do a ‘stop and account’ or ‘stop and search’ under the Terrorism Act, he clearly needs to say so. The other problem is that he can only do either *if accompanied by a police officer* – a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) cannot do it on their own authority. Both uniformed men in the video are PCSOs – not fully warranted officers. A PCSO can detain a person until a ‘real’ police officer arrives.

  28. Sick and important to make public. But the video was awful, terrible music, montage, cuts, etc. So annoying, impossible to sit through. Just the raw footage and facts are enough to make the case.

  29. Even if she’s being harassed for “failure to cringe,” even if she’s done nothing wrong, there is nothing to be gained by mouthing off to cops. They don’t know you’re just being a wise-ass, and when they don’t know if you’re about to pull a gun on them, they could care less about your freedom of expression and individuality.

    It’s far from perfect, and the opposite of the ideal, but people forget that cops are people too. They don’t instantly understand the truth of every situation they encounter. And it’s totally in their power to take some “cocky photographer” in even if just to release her. Especially if that photographer is looking for trouble so she can whinge about mistreatment to the internet.

    1. Lobster, it sounds like you are saying policemen, by definition, are incapable of distinguishing between criminals and law-abiding citizens speaking their minds. And that therefore we must never speak truth to power because it is humanly impossible for law enforcement to distinguish between legitimate speech and criminality.

      Is that what you intended to say?

      I fully understand that the UK is not the USA, but: over here, if a cop is incapable of peaceably responding to a person exercising their constitutional right to state exactly what’s on their mind, that cop is incapable of doing police work and should be cashiered.

      I’d say a willingness to mouth off to a cop is actually a high probability indicator of compliance with the law. Every criminal I ever knew was polite to the cops to the point of obsequiousness.

    2. The expression is “couldn’t care less”, not “could care less.”

      As in, “I could not care less about some pg plgst trll mixing up a phrase to make it mean the exact opposite of its actual meaning.”

    3. This is London, Lobster; there isn’t a particularly high chance that they’re going to have a gun pulled on them, so the police don’t even have that thin rationale for descending mob-handed on people who fail to respond rapidly to their arcane protocols.

    4. The reason people seem to “forget” that “cops are people too” is because there is a severe power imbalance between the cop and the recipient of the cops attention. The degree of vulnerability that a cop has compared to that of the person they are attending to is so monumentally different that people are allowed to hold cops to a much higher degree of responsibility.

      Also, it’s the cops’ job to be able to handle the power they are given without abusing it. When they fail to resist the urge to excessive force/ assuming greater powers than they are granted- they are guilty of malpractice.

  30. Wouldn’t a real terrorist be just a bit sneaky? I can think of a dozen ways to photograph and film without looking like I am, and I’m not even into that sort of thing. It’s just stupid.

  31. Folks,
    I’m terrible sorry to be the one to say this, but that video has some highly erroneous statements in it – notably the lady’s assertion (in onscreen text) that you do not have to disclose your name, address or purpose in taking photographs: you do. I dislike this as much as the next amateur photographer, but those are the facts. You simply do. Refusing to do so is simply asking for a pedantic, power-mad little oik to be as smug, patronising and as punitive as he can be.

    If you are stopped by a Police Officer (or PCSO) who is asking what you are doing, do yourself a favour and answer them. ‘I’m an amateur photographer, taking photos for fun. Would you like to have a look at them?’

    If the officer tells you to delete them, you can refuse. Sections 43 and 44 of the Terrorism Act do NOT authorise an officer to delete material – in fact this would be a gross deriliction of duty on their part, as if they do believe that you are taking part in terrorist activities, they are required to seize the photos and hand them over to an appropriately trained forensic specialist. If he believes you to be involved in terrorist activities, and suggest that you are then challenge him to arrest you.

    Yes, the abuse of Stop and Search is ridiculous to the point where you want to scream, but this is where Britain is after three terms of New Labour control-freakery.

    You may be overcome with the urge to get smart with an ill-informed fool like the guy in this video (and he is grossly misinformed) but playing the game and beating them at it is far more productive.

    Failing that, next time you’re stopped simply reply with ‘I’m making a documentary on abuse of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Would you like to comment?’

  32. If we could all just have our eyes gouged out and be given lobotomies just think how difficult it would be for anyone to plan a terrorist attack.

  33. If I were a terrorist (note to NSA – I am not, so fuck off), I would be the most polite, subservient, cringing toady whenever I met a police officer. Give them their power high or whatever it is they crave, then carry on with whatever I had planned after they had moved on to harassing some innocent people.

    Seriously, do the police think that someone planning a major or minor terrorist attack is going to get in a scuffle over police harassment & some minor bullying?

  34. “Seriously, do the police think that someone planning a major or minor terrorist attack is going to get in a scuffle over police harassment & some minor bullying?”

    The point is they dont think.

    1. The hooking of the thumbs to the vest preludes the bending of the knees and bobbing of the helmet in order to more effectively say “‘Ello ‘ello ‘ello, what’s going on ‘ere then?” as per the Police Officer’s Manual. Unfortunately since these were only ‘cop-lite’ underlings and not full freemasons… erm, officers, they are only authorised to do the ‘half-bend’.

      Oh and to the chap that said “I’d love to show you my artistic license, but it’s in the form of a misapplied metaphor, and doesn’t fit in my wallet.” – I salute your wit :)

  35. Lobster – “They don’t know you’re just being a wise-ass, and when they don’t know if you’re about to pull a gun on them, they could care less about your freedom of expression and individuality.”

    It must be a terrible terrible lonely and horror filled life, to be a cop. They seem to live in fear. At least that’s the picture you’re painting.

    Actually, I have no doubt that it’s tough, but I also think these guys have enough experience and training to realize this lady is no real threat. Zero tolerance and absolutism have replaced thought and commons sense. Please don’t defend the former and try to do more of the later when reviewing things like this.

  36. i’d pitch this to channel 4 news. i’m sure they’ll pick it up for their c4 or more4 news programme.

  37. I’m beginning to suspect that the only way to avoid this sort of thing would be to pass a law that said that taking photographs in a public place is a legal right of expression. (Yes, I’m aware that it is already legal.)

    Let me reiterate: taking photographs of things that can be seen in public places CANNOT rationally be construed as evidence of terrorism, whatever the law says.

    If you have something to hide that can be seen from a public place, then hide it from view; don’t arrest people for taking photographs of it.

  38. Someone should really organize a photo-flash mob of people dressed as movie-terrorists . 100 people running around the houses of parliament taking pictures and shouting Allah-u-akhbar , death to Imperialism , and Osama – Osama.
    Each should be 50-100 meters from each other and so a wide area would be covered attracting a large number of policemen.
    Do not know exactly what this would achieve but it would be fun to try.

  39. my worry is when EuroPol start taking over and they start expecting things to be like in Germany where anything not expressly permitted in law is forbidden…

    1. Yes, as a UK ex-pat living in Germany since 2003 I can totally second this statement. Most people have no idea that Germany has changed little since the Nazi regime: Punitive fines for putting the “wrong” type of rubbish into the containers, up to 2 years prison for “insult” (including not using the correct “Sie” form of address to police officers), up to 20,000 EUR fines and 1 year in prison for “unpermitted” protests (including the use of a loudhailer with less than 50 participants or banners that are, in the view of the authorities, 0.25 m longer than they “should be”), et.c. et.c. It angers me that so few people outside of Germany know about this. And as for stop and search, it has always existed in Germany (it’s called “Allgemeiner Ausweiskontrolle”) and I have seen it is used to particular effect to haress Turkish and Arab nationalities. Please, please, please do not accept “identity cards”! On no condition! And stop thinking that modern Germany is a liberal democracy

  40. Does anyone recognise these supposedly “iconic” buildings the community cop mentioned? (We’ll leave aside the idea that photographing “iconic” buildings is an odd, still less suspicious, thing to do.)

  41. Now’s a good time to remind people of their rights. Here’s a handy PDF to print out for photographers in Britain:

    And a smaller, more basic PDF:

    There’s also the British Journal of Photographers campaign here:

    And the ‘I’m a Photographer, not a Terrorist’ campaign:

    @GyroMagician: The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) actually did issue guidance on this very matter a couple of weeks ago, but of course it hasn’t made a blind bit of difference:

  42. Someone needs to design a simple paperwork camera that people can print out and put together. Then, when in a public place, take a moment every now and then and hold it up to your eye, or hold it in front of you as if taking a photo. When the thugs approach and demand to see your pictures, wad up your camera and stuff it in your mouth.

    If enough people do this, maybe they’ll get the point.

    Yeah…probably not. But it would be funny.

  43. I keep hearing people talk about how they no longer want to travel to the US due to all the BS the TSA is putting them through in the name of “Homeland Security” and I don’t disagree. But now, as someone who likes to take lots of pictures when the travel, I’ll be avoiding travel to the UK as well. And it’s not because of this single incident, it’s because this kind of treatment of anyone with a camera is definitely becoming a pattern over there.

  44. Metronicity and Lobster: Where do you guys draw the line? Should she also have smiled constantly and said “sir?” Should she have just gotten down and licked their boots to avoid a beating?

  45. we just need one billion dollar lawsuit for our rights… where are all the ambulance chasing lawyers out there???

  46. The one time I let a cop search my bag without cause in a ‘random’ encounter was the one time I was carrying something illegal – a few grams of weed and a nice glass pipe, which they didn’t find. I was very polite, called them “sir,” opened my bag for them, unrolled the contents, showed them my cellphone and my drivers license, health card, SIN card, student card, and even offered to help. They got annoyed with me and sent me on my way. I’m sure a terrorist carrying a nuculur bomb or Osama’s secret mission plans would do something similar, plus they’d probably be sober.

    It’s when I’m not doing anything illegal that I ask questions and I try to make things difficult for bully cops who HAVE NO RIGHT TO SUSPECT ME OF BEING A CRIMINAL (at that particular moment)! I think it’s funny when they catch me doing nothing. Like this lady with the camera – I can see why she’s giggling.

    Heavy-handed policing just makes it easier for criminals to operate because the cops need public support to solve crimes. Bully people and they will stop talking to investigators when they have nothing to hide. Then good luck solving real crimes.

  47. Ok, I dont want to appear to condone the behaviour of this PCSO but, this happened in Paddington Green. About 500 yards north of where they are standing is Britain’s main anti-terrorist taskforce headquarters and detention centre. Still it soesnt give this guy a reason to behave like he does.

    1. I see, so because this happened right near the place where authorities have the highest awareness for the laws of the public and the techniques of terrorism, they should be excused for being stupid. Sorry, but your logic only works for bumpkins, not those specifically trained in the issues in dispute here. In fact, by extension you’re almost saying that it would be understandable if prison officers assumed someone near the prison was of course an escaped convict.

  48. If this is her “art-work” , it stinks.
    Yes, the PCSO is a cocky little git.
    She has sufficient evidence here make a formal complaint against him, and win. He behaved stupidly, and should not be permitted to continue doing so.

    The videographer also behaved stupidly, if she had replied to his questions in a less confrontational way, the incident probably would have never happened. If her intent is to show that PCSOs, (who are NOT policemen, they are “police community support officers”, with limited powers and limited training, and a much lower entry qualification level than police officers), can be aggressive idiots, then hooray, she did so.
    If britain was the fascist state some commenters seem to think, then she would not have been released with the footage intact.

    1. “then she would not have been released with the footage intact.”

      It’s not such a big deal to the police if they are already not too concerned with public image. And they’ll always have people who defend them, no matter what.

    2. As I see it, the point is that allowing them to get away with this kind of aggression, without taking a stand and at least trying to hold them accountable for their actions, is police-state enabling. I salute her for not blindly and automatically kowtowing to authority.

    3. soubriquet ,

      Nonsense, she replied that she was doing it “for fun”, a perfectly adequate reason. He should never have asked her the question in the first place.

      1. “Nonsense, she replied that she was doing it “for fun”, a perfectly adequate reason. He should never have asked her the question in the first place.”

        Why should he have not asked that question? And her “for fun” reason was all a lie after all. She was making a political film. Whether we agree with the message of her intended film is irrelevant. She was not filming buildings, as everyone seems to believe. I watched the film. She was filming surveillance cameras on the buildings. A cop, or even a rent-a-cop has ever right to ask questions in that scenario. I suspect that he was alerted by the people monitoring the cameras. An honest answer would have been “I’m making a movie about surveillance cameras in Britain.” Now, that should have been the end of it. There’s no way she should have been beaten.

  49. I fear this scenario is entirely too possible here in the States. We live in a uniform-loving society, maybe even moreso than the UK was. We are constantly urged to respect, love, honor, be grateful, obey, comply and cower to those in uniform–including military.

    This is the only end-result of such a weird fascination.

  50. Even two years ago, I was detained in a British port for taking photographs while I disembarked. Port police apparently had the authority to make me delete images from my cameraphone. I tried to refuse, but they told me I would not be allowed to proceed if I didn’t. (If I’d been using film, could they have confiscated the roll? It would seem so.) They also made me fill out and sign a document, and took my passport away to check it. No doubt I’m on a list of some kind now.

    Why was I taking photographs? Because I was struck by the soullessness of the port’s architecture.

  51. I love how he keeps mumbling “it’s an iconic building”. Um does he know the meaning of the word “iconic”? If it’s so iconic why does it appear indistinguishable from any other office building in any other generic office park?

    Here’s a simple way to understand:
    Marilyn Monroe= iconic
    Eiffel Tower= iconic
    the local office building with expresso cart in lobby=NOT iconic.

    1. > Actions like this make people want to become terrorists and stand up against them. Don’t they get it?

      Of course they get it. The more resistance there is the more they can push for stronger powers. What do you think would happen if a group gunned down some cops? Tons of new laws giving unprecedented power to snoop, detain, search, spy, and monitor everyone. They WANT resistance. They WANT incidents. Anything that increases fear increases the state’s power. The police have been caught planting agent provocateurs amongst peaceful demonstrators to incite violence and allow them to crack down on them.

      Reacting with violence will only erode our freedom further.

      The only solution is to peacefully insist on our rights, stand up to illegal police activity without aggression, and get active politically to change the rules. The thugs on the street are just following orders. We have to change the ones giving the orders.

  52. I guess I should do like everyone else and not watch the video and just comment on the headline to the story. Unfortunately, I wasted my time by watching it. There is no abuse by the cops in the video. Just a huge edit that leaps from the cops simply asking questions and getting deliberately obfuscated answers to a few drunk guys outside a pub saying “Wasn’t that terrible.” The whole thing looks staged.

    1. hmm. perhaps we watched a different video? she was beaten, held without trial for two weeks and had her legs crushed by a tank simply for the ‘crime’ of being an annoying student with poor musical taste.

    2. Yes, I watched the entire video. Perhaps you aren’t aware of how hard you have to press into someone’s skin to elicit a bruise that large (see 4:56). Try someting for me, take your thumb and press as hard as you can into your arm. Keep on doing that until you can’t stand the pain, then compare bruises (this should give you an idea of what she went through). Since you, or I, were not there at the time of filming we can only use what the video presents as evidence. Sure, you could pay a few drunks to talk on camera about how you got abused, but it is highly unlikely. I say ‘unlikely’ because Cory isn’t in the habit of posting fake videos of police brutality, as far as I am aware there is plenty of it going around.

      Now you protest at the jump of editing? Picture this in your mind: You are being arrested and searched by several a half dozen cops, are you really in a position to keep your camera running? No, because they won’t let you. For all we know she turned it off herself as a way to comply to the officers, or she could have run out of batteries/ run out of space on the camera’s memory card.

  53. This filmmaker, SBollicina, has the following in
    her youtube profile:

    –[][][]–[][][]–Put This
    –[][][]–[][][]–On Your
    –[][][]–[][][]–Profile If
    –[][][]–[][][]–You Believe
    –[][][]–[][][]–9/11 Was
    –[][][]–[][][]–INSIDE JOB

    So, she correctly sees that the UK is irrational in its
    anti-terrorist mania, but she herself is irrational
    regarding the 9/11 attack. They’re even.

    1. Nice find. I got the feeling that this was all staged. We never see the “photographer” in this piece but something tells me she was in a full ninja suit looking as suspicious as possible.

  54. I don’t in any way endorse the policeman’s actions, but I do have to say that this video elicited very little empathy from me for the person making it. From the tacky “fight the power!” jazz to the way she seemed to be trying to pick a fight, it was painful to watch.

    I had the supreme discomfort you experience when someone you don’t much like makes a statement you agree with. The author of the material was so blatantly grabbing for status that it was embarassing.

    Of course, even tools have rights.

  55. Reply to Felton, yes, I agree with you. that’s why I say she should make a formal complaint against him. That’s the way to stop him and others. She has he evidence, and the winesses.
    Arkizzle, It is not unreasonable of him to wonder what she is doing, nor is it wrong for her to say that she is taking photographs for fun.
    There are ways to escalate, and ways to reduce confllict. She chose to be flippant.
    In the early eighties, I was in what was then Leningrad.
    I was just doing what she was doing, pointing my camera, having fun, taking pictures.
    unfortunately, in the then Soviet Union there were a great many things it was forbidden to take pictures of. Like people in military uniform, military vehicles… Oh, and bridges. Especially with the aforementioned on them. I was seen and police started running toward me, luckily, there was a crowd of sturdy old ladies who let me through, and somehow obstructed the pursuers.
    If they’d caught me, I don’t think I’d have been released with just a bruised wrist.
    So yes, I do know what an oppressive police state is.
    If you have to pick an argument with a person in uniform, then I’d say London’s a fairly benign place to do so, compared with much of the globe.

    1. It is not unreasonable of him to wonder what she is doing

      Yes, it is. That’s the whole point. It’s none of his goddamn business. If she’s waving a gun around, that’s his business. Law enforcement (and pseudo-law enforcement) personnel have absolutely no business whatsoever snooping into perfectly legal activities.

  56. @MarkM, you beat me to it:

    –[][][]–[][][]–INSIDE JOB

    I think this film is an inside job by the Blue Bambinos. Blue hands, blue motif … street theater masquerading as a spontaneous event.

    Good one!

  57. I don’t care about this being posted but I hope the girl gets to read this. Please pass it on if possible.

    The location appears to be surrounded by cctv.
    If this incident happened recently then there is a good chance to get something.
    These can all legally be requested. This includes Carillion. As I understand it if they refuse they are breaking the law.

    I do think the incident is worth complaining about.

    One more thing. The law does have a valid reason. Terrorists do use photography. Its a fine line but officers do need to keep their eyes open for suspicious stuff. If we have another incident like a few years ago then people will complain that enough wasn’t done.

    Approaching the public really needs politeness and common sense, especially with something like this. A little charm and finesse would have gone a long way. They are after all supposed to be policing by consent.

    The girl does not help herself by sounding a bit flippant or possibly drunk. I don’t know… I’m making big sweeps here. But I would say advice for anyone dealing with the police is be clear, precise and above all calm and polite.
    This is still no excuse for a load of berks in uniform being overbearing and aggressive. The guy was being argumentative about what he did or didn’t say. He mentioned the T word first.

  58. @41 “I’m terrible sorry to be the one to say this, but that video has some highly erroneous statements in it – notably the lady’s assertion (in onscreen text) that you do not have to disclose your name, address or purpose in taking photographs: you do.”

    No, you don’t. From the Police themselves: “The police officer will ask for your name and address and date of birth. You do not have to give this information if you don’t want to, unless the police officer says they are reporting you for an offence.”

  59. I wish at least some of the cops in these stories would get seriously reprimanded. Slap on the wrist is the worst they ever seem to get.

  60. I’m a Terrorist*

    I use Google Earth and Google maps with the help of MapQuest.

    Why should I take my own Video/Pic when the GoogleGod has done it for me?

    *Disclaimer for GCHQ
    I’m not a Terrorist

  61. Perhaps you aren’t aware of how hard you have to press into someone’s skin to elicit a bruise that large

    How do I know that the cops caused that bruise? How do I know that it isn’t just a little creative use of eye shadow to make a statement? How do I know if those are even her arms?

    In the video, she uses still images of riot police that were obviously shot on a different location at a different time by different people under different circumstances. She has used those images out of context in an exaggerated way to make a political point. If she’s willing to use those images without fairly explaining them, what’s preventing her from exaggerating other things?

    If you take artsy fartsy videos like this totally on face value, I have a deed to the Brooklyn Bridge you might be interested in purchasing for a very reasonable price.

  62. When are the Poms gonna crack the shits over this and protest?

    Never. Sooner or later, someone will come along and claim that this sort of thing is necessary in the interest of security. Few people object, and the police state advances just a little more when some new offense is proposed, codified into law, and then enforced on the street.

  63. i declare that i AM a terrorist and i declare that A.C.A.B. so what. talking nonsense is not a crime. (yet)

  64. But they have universal health care! What’s one roughed-up wannabe paparazzo in the affairs of a state?

  65. I hate restriction of film / photo as much as anyone here and I doubt that it will prevent terrorism (there are tons of spycams out there) .. harrasing someone openly filming .. is crack .. i once got the attention of an IKEA guy who was dealing with a line of people, because I was taking a pic of my family … ok, i digress …

    anyways .. in THIS case, as someone said before, this thing feels planned … ‘run around with a camera and get a reaction’ .. why else using a fish eye .. and what is it with the blue hands?

    The bruises could have been self inflicted (or with make-up) to add dramatic effect (maybe the blue paint is a hint?)

    Anyways .. we never really see the ‘assault’ .. we have to believe the annotations .. and 3 bar guys who seem to be happy to be on camera …

    My biggest point: This deputy guy or what he was … he was aware that he was on camera .. and he tried quite some to stay polite and on topic (maybe he thought his job performance is under review?) … besides the snafu of asking for an artists licence … and cocky (she was cocky) …

    I think when so called ‘artists’ go out there and try to provoke security people who I believe already have a tough job, so they get some fun footage for their ‘artsy’ (look, blue hands!) videos … that can’t be good for people who really want to film in public locations …

    1. “security people” should fkin do their job instead of

      a) trying to look good on camera

      b) busting tourists’ balls over crap

      let’s take as a fact that this was a setup. the police fell for it so it means that they will jump anyone with a camera. it says much about the cops being stupid.

      also the video is totally shitty. looks like a cheap knockoff of

  66. This guy’s attitude needs serious attention. Chewing gum whilst talking to someone is the height of bad manners and his comment about the lady being cocky is quite unbelievable. I found myself getting very hot under the collar and agitated watching this brainless jobs-worth. I’d like to know more about the alleged bruises and the fine that was mentioned. What, exactly was she fined for and by whom? Looks like yet another harassment case that needs a follow-up.

  67. …The volunteer hire-a-thug *does* look quite a bit like Dim, doesn’t he? And is that Georgie on the left?

  68. Hello, I’m here in Texas. I really feel in the UK you need to get a BILL OF RIGHTS that guarantees rights for each subject.

    There has been a few cases like this in the U.S., but here we can and do sue over this.

    Yes I know terroist might photograph buildings, but any fool can hide the camera in a box or bag and do the filming without any notice.

    Force your parlament to grant a Bill of Rights. That’s the only way you will ever stop this.

    1. Re a Bill of Rights: we’ve had one since 1689. It works quite well, except for the parts about not letting Catholics have nice things.

      This is a crappy situation, but the CSO here is engaging in behaviour that the Met itself regards as embarrassing. The film-maker has a responsibility to the rest of the public to follow the complaints procedure within the Met, and to sue for false arrest (inter alia.) If all she chooses to do is make a jazzy film about it, she’s part of the problem.

  69. okay Britain … this feels like it’s time for a flashmob… at this location … all with a cam filming whatever you feel like !

  70. When did the police get the idea that they can harass photographers or that they, the police, were authorized to play the role of societies demiGods…

  71. ‘What about those cameras there?’
    ‘Those are associated with the buildings.’
    ‘Well, I am associated with the air.’

    That was my favourite exchange of this generation, of this decade.
    @#120: While a Bill of Rights would do that, we already have laws that do the same job. The concern with a Bill of Rights is that having an enshrined list of what rights you are allowed weakens any rights that aren’t on the list. To each country their own. The issue here isn’t that we don’t have rights, it’s that many police are misinformed about them.

  72. Cops are the same everywhere you go. If I were a terrorist, I would dress like a cop and walk around asking inane questions. Perfect cover.

  73. Tried to post this earlier but it didn’t take . . . but i’ve prepared a free, “Official Artist Identification” card you can download at c-cyte dot com/Artists_ID.html (i’m an artist).

    1. Anonymous,

      When you post a link that’s been unlinkified, I have to fiddle with it in order to check it. That greatly decreases the chances of your comment being approved.

  74. Personally, I’m amazed that she had the guts to stand up to them. During my time in art school I had to take a photography class and one assignment was to take b/w stills with a traditional film camera of a piece of architecture at early morning, high noon, and dusk or late afternoon. The school is in Minneapolis, and I was barely able to finish my assignment because almost every location I stopped at, I was told to leave by police officers during one of the three photo sessions. And nearly everyone else in my class had been asked by the police to go away or even tried to bully them into showing their footage. One student actually got confronted by a black van full of some kind of cop and they tried to get him into their vehicle when he refused to hand over his film!!

    Even though our teacher took a *very* long time to explain what our rights were, many of us ended up doubting what was legal and what wasn’t under the pressure of intimidation, and so we ended up looking for a new location to shoot. So, I have an immense amount of respect for this woman to stand up for her rights, because it sure as hell can be scary. Good for her.

  75. bad news… this was out in the news a couple of days ago…

    “A terrorist attack on London was averted because two beat patrol officers stopped a man who was acting suspiciously while filming with a mobile phone, police claimed yesterday.

    The Algerian man said that he was a tourist, but when his phone was examined it yielded 90 minutes of footage of stations, security cameras and shopping centres.

    Police took the unprecedented step of releasing the “hostile reconnaissance” video to counter criticism that they are using anti-terrorism powers to question tourists and photographers. “I’d much rather justify what we did do in stopping someone than having to justify why we didn’t do it against the backdrop of a burning building and a terrorist atrocity,” Detective Superintendent Chris Greany, of City of London Police, said.

    He admitted that his officers did “get it wrong sometimes” but said that they were acting in the public interest in stopping people. He added: “We don’t just stop people for a laugh – we’re trying to make London safer. ”

    it will only encourage them more…

  76. I’m really disappointed and disgusted – I thought this nonsense was ending.
    I shall have to continue wearing my IAPNAT tee shirt which makes my photo assignments and days out with the camera into a political issue rather than just a fun way to spent my time.

  77. Ha, that would never happen here in the states. (just kidding) At least they taze the crap out of her before during and after they beat they beat the crap out her. Seriously, when I was a kid I grew up thinking cops would protect innocent people. Now that I am older I realize too many just need to make up for having micro “wankers” (that cracks me up). Yeah, I’m just really sad when cops are mean… ps The Queen seems really nice, she makes me happy.

  78. I was assaulted by the met police In Hackney some two years ago. Even after informing the police of my presence and gaining permission another group charged me whilst taking photos and tackled me … some five of them bashing me throwing me in a vicious choke lock and generally pulling and abusing my body. I had the camera taken and eventually was allowed to breath and speak. This in between being called a pervert and other unmentionable names. This went on with them poking me and shouting abuse for about eight minutes. They then realised there mistake but not after threatening to take my car and make me walk.I was told by the worst officer I do this every day man shut the “f..k up you are a pervert f…king creep man.
    I m suing the police and so far it looks likely that they will not contest the case. I have had no work for two years and have suffered severe chronic back pain cause by nerve and cartilage damage to the spine and surrounds and migraine like headaches every day.
    The way they approached the whole issue of people taking photos in public places is disgusting and I now see the police as bullies unreliable arrogant sadistic fools. This cant go on make sure every incident is publicised.

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