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Can police remove you from a private school?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by rpmmutant, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    I ask because I was threatened by LAPD to be removed from a football game at a private school.
    Here's the story:
    A player was injured on the kickoff to start the second half. He apparently injured his neck, just hit awkwardly and collapsed on the football field. An emergency fire truck and an ambulance were called on to the field. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital for observation.
    All the while I am video taping the fire truck and the emergency personnel tending to the injured player. For some reason, LAPD was swarming the game. It was a big game, but it didn't warrant the police presence that was there. At any rate, one of the LAPD officers threatens to kick me off the football field for taking video. He starts hassling me, demands to see my credentials, tells me I have no business taking pictures of an injured football player.
    Turns out the kid is OK. Still I wonder if LAPD or any police can legitimately kick a reporter off private school property. Or was this particular police officer just being a jerk?
  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Tell this guy:

  3. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Generally speaking, sure, they can order you out of most places -- including public places -- under the theory that your presence is impeding their duties. And they always make such judgment calls with broad discretion.

    Even if you have a right to be somewhere, even if you're not actually impeding their duties, it doesn't mean they won't hassle you -- or even arrest you, knowing the charges won't stick. There's an old expression: "You might beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride."

    Legally, however, they really can't make you leave some place you've been granted permission to be by permission of the school, stadium authority or some entity (state association) that issued you the press credential that gave you initial access. But as soon as the school says you must leave, or if police declare an entire area to be off limits to everyone except rescue personnel in an emergency situation, you must leave. Again, the authorities tend to invoke such privilege at the drop of a hat.

    And they cannot legally stop you from videotaping anything, either, although they will try to intimidate you and might even pressure you into giving up your tape, film or memory card. They have no right to it. They also have no legal standing to order you to stop, and you have added support in the eyes of the courts if you're engaged in the legitimate pursuit of news, but it doesn't mean they won't try.

    All this said, however, doesn't mean you're going to win if you get all First Amendment on the cops. It only means you'd probably prevail if the case ever went to court.

    To answer your last question -- I don't know all of the facts, but the way you described it, yes, the cop was being a jerk.

    Good luck.
  4. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    episode is over. I got my story and my video. I'm still trying to figure out why I was singled out though. Aside from there being a ridiculously high police presence, there was a high media presence as well. Newspapers, websites, TV and radio were all in attendance. I seemed to be the only one being hassled. The police eventually backed off, but it was a little heated for a few minutes.
  5. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Get arrested and you're the lede of the your own gamer.
  6. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    True, but you might have to dictate it.
  7. OrangeGrad

    OrangeGrad Member

    No worries, you've got one call.
  8. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Call a massage parlor.

  9. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Here in the Ocean State, when the RIIL makes us sign for a press credential, it pretty much allows us to do whatever the fuck we want when we're covering stuff. We have one semi-local private school that requires permission to take photos of their students. They've told us to stop shooting stuff, to which we reply if you elected to participate in RIIL sports, you also allowed us to take pics of whoever the fuck we want.
  10. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Same, but then again, I'm in the same area. Once a couple years ago, a parent said I shouldn't photograph their kid because they hadn't given the school permission to disseminate his image in any of the publications. I told them I didn't consider it as applying to afterschool activities that are open to the public, where there is no expectation of privacy, vs. photos for the yearbook or a story where you're invited into the school.
  11. Turtle Wexler

    Turtle Wexler Member

    The burden is not on you to fulfill the wishes of the parent or the school; the burden is on the parent or the school to keep it from happening in the first place. If the parent signs the form and the school makes the kid available anyway, the parent's beef is with the school.

    That said, I always try to hear out --- in advance, not on the sidelines or after publication --- a parent with a photography concern. There are so many legitimate reasons why parents don't want photos of minor children published: custody battles, restraining orders, parents have a security clearance job, the kids might be foster children, etc.

    Regarding the private school thing, great advice from reformedhack. I would also add that unless a private school is 100 percent privately funded (ex. no local, state, federal government money for even the bunsen burners in the science lab), they are subject to the same "trespass" restrictions as public school facilities.
  12. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    What reformed hack said. Nice Futurama avatar sgreenwell though Bender is my favorite from that show.
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