Know Your Rights

Source: Flicker, Photo by: Todd Shaffer

Source: Flicker, Photo by:
Todd Shaffer

I just got done reading a pretty humorous blog about Congressman Michael Grimm and how to deal with an angry public figure if you happen to do PR for them.  Here it is.

When Congressman Michael Grimm threatened NY1 reporter Michael Scotto on the night of the State of the Union Address, I had similar reactions to everyone else.  I first was surprised, then shocked, then angered.  I was not surprised at a journalist being threatened by physical violence.  This happens a lot.  It happened to me.  (I’ll get to that anecdote here in a second.)  I was surprised it came from an elected official.  Especially from an official with Grimm’s background.

Michael Grimm is a former Marine, FBI agent and lawyer.  Three careers that are meant to fight for rights of people and three careers that one is supposed to know the laws that hey are fighting for as well.  He should have known that what he was doing was wrong and illegal.  Which leads me to write about what happened to me.

 I was doing a story about a local police officer that donated his spare time to helping the homeless population here in Eugene.   I was out taking relevant photos of homeless people and areas that the homeless go to seek help.  It was when I was outside one of the free clinics here in town and photographing a homeless woman (who said I had her permission to photograph here, even though I didn’t need it since we were both in a public alley) that I was approached twice from individuals.  One was an older homeless woman that was threating to kick my a** because I was trying to profit from the homeless.  The other was a worker from the clinic saying that I could not photo the building due to not having their permission.  I was in a public street when I took the photo of the building.   I did not need their permission.  When I asked permission from the woman I photographed, it was an issue of respect and politeness that I asked.  I did not need her permission.  I knew the laws that I am protected by.

Anyone who is thinking about going into a profession in media need to learn the laws that protect you.  Go see and instructor, go see the police or see if a lawyer will talk to you for free.  Know your rights.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s