Photography in El Paso Could Lead to Deputy Interrogation
POSTED: Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 6:54pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 11:43am
EL PASO - If you decide to take pictures or video anywhere in El Paso you could end up being questioned by Sheriff's Deputies.
While shooting video for a story we aired a few weeks ago a Sheriff's Deputy came up and questioned one of our reporters.
Here's what he said: "As long as you're with the news no problem, but if you're an ordinary civilian out here that has no reason to really record the building then that becomes an issue."
But why would an ordinary civilian taking pictures be an issue? District Attorney Jaime Esparza says there's nothing wrong with anyone taking pictures in public
"If you're in a public place where you have a right to be you can take photographs whether you're a news agency or a private person."
When we asked the deputy who ordered him to question our reporter he answered the Department of Homeland Security. Briana Stone, a civil rights attorney, says that's a common excuse from cops since 9/11.
"If the New York City Police, where 9/11 actually happened, know that taking photos isn't a threat to Homeland Security then deputies in El Paso, Texas should know that too."
The District Attorney also weighed in: "Our right to public safety and security, unless it can be clearly described, is going to take a backseat to our right to take photographs and video."
Sheriff Richard Wiles also brought up 9/11, and said deputies are just being extra careful.
"We are very cautious and we will go up and talk to people and ask them what they're doing and there's nothing wrong with that."
Although Wiles did say deputies shouldn't stop you from taking pictures or video.
"You know, we've had this talk before and we have to remind our people from time to time, and again this may be an area where we have to re-educate our workforce here."