Richmond, VA Photographer Arrested For Trespass on Public Street

Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Richmond, Va photographer, Ian Graham, must be wondering where he was this past Monday as he was arrested by local police for trespassing on a city street. Graham, who was photographing police arresting demonstrators in the Occupy Richmond protest, was told by police he was trespassing as he politely stood near a public crosswalk  recording the goings on with his camera. Police claim they told Graham he could take photos but only in the designated “media area,” which was, of course, far from the scene of the arrests.

Graham was detained for the apparent “crime” of walking and photographing police from a public street. It’s more likely he was arrested in retaliation for questioning police about why he was unable to traverse the street and perform an obviously legal action. He was held at the Public Safety Building for about thirty minutes and then released on a summons. 

Eight other people were arrested during the 1:00 a.m raid of the Occupy Richmond encampment. Camping out in solidary with the Occupy Wall Street movement since October 15th, the demonstrators were told they were now trespassing in violation of a city ordinance prohibiting them from being present in the public park after dark. Boy, that took almost three weeks for police to figure out.

The Virginia ACLU is defending Graham who is part owner of RVA Magazine which publishes weekly and is distributed free of charge — or at least at no cost. For his part Graham is nonplussed by the misdemeanor charges. “The freedom of the press is not constrained to a box or some zone that the police inhabit,” he said. He added, “We as the press have the right and responsibility to cover the police during whatever they are doing on public property.”

The arrest occurred at Kanawha Plaza in the heart of Richmond’s financial district. That’s not particularly important until you remember that just a few blocks away down Broad Street is venerable St. John’s Church. There in March of 1775, another Virginian expressed much the same sentiment as Graham’s. I ‘m a little fuzzy on the name — Henry sounds right for the last name — but I’m in good company with the guardians of the peace here in Richmond. They don’t remember him at all.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

89 thoughts on “Richmond, VA Photographer Arrested For Trespass on Public Street

  1. When is this court hearing on the photographer’s summons? Who’s managing the OCCUPY THE COURT demonstration for that event? Shouldn’t all photographers be there? People with cell phone cameras?

    What’s happening here is both obvious and old-fashioned. I remember activists making tourist trips to the Soviet Union in the 70s to meet with refuseniks who could give them messages from their imprisoned members — no cameras, no flashbulbs, lots of surveillance to make sure nobody could record anything, that’s where we’re headed now.

  2. The sad thing is that we can no longer trust the courts because all too many benches are occupied by right wing reactionaries. When a citizen is arrested on a bogus charge like this, who can trust the court system to provide justice and rule against the police, even when they are obviously violating Constitutional guarantees?

  3. OS,

    I imagine a lot of Germans felt the same way in about the German government during the period from 1930 to 1932, after the financial crisis and shortly before Hitler was made Chancellor in 1933.

  4. This is why OWS is really important. It’s also why the involvement of veterans in OWS is helpful. The police have backed off somewhat when veterans march.

    It appears to me that a group of citizens banding together to help each other is the only hope we have of stopping the police state. When they marched in Oakland for the general strike and someone was being attacked, people converged to help that person. The sheer numbers of people made a difference in how the police reacted.

  5. We are on the cusp of the tipping point. Freedom or Fascist Feudalism are the stakes. Dissemination of truth is our biggest weapon. Arms and media propaganda are theirs. We have the strength of numbers as long as we don’t allow ego and petty political differences divide us. Our canon encompassing ideological diversity should be the Constitution as perceived prior to the Reagan coup and it’s injection of right wing propanda polluting our political discourse, overwhelming our institutions with the evil of selfish wealth.

  6. More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly. – Woody Allen

    Wife’s brother was over the other day – he whined about needing surgery but would lose his job if he took time off. Then he whined about his company hiring cheap, no benefit, temps to cover the increased work load they have. Then he claimed that UNIONS were destroying America!

    Morons like that will vote for politicians that will gut them financially & crush us physically and all the while following the Judas goat that is Rush and FAUX NEWS.

  7. Mike Spindell 1, November 5, 2011 at 11:55 am

    We are on the cusp of the tipping point. Freedom or Fascist Feudalism are the stakes. Dissemination of truth is our biggest weapon. Arms and media propaganda are theirs. We have the strength of numbers as long as we don’t allow ego and petty political differences divide us. Our canon encompassing ideological diversity should be the Constitution as perceived prior to the Reagan coup and it’s injection of right wing propanda polluting our political discourse, overwhelming our institutions with the evil of selfish wealth.
    ====================================
    Well said.

    Let’s not buy into the chaos theory product they are trying to sell us.

  8. Dredd,

    Your linked article was a “tour de force” and captures thoughts I’ve long held as to the science in the social sciences. While many individuals have provided insight and useful experimentation, too often the “results” are dominated by who is paying the freight Comfortable academics too often rely on the status quo to maintain their lifestyles. Self interest then influences theory.

  9. Mike,

    I missed your earlier post, but I must concur with Dredd. Well said indeed. Concise and to the point both in analysis of the problem and the proposed solution.

  10. If this continues, it is only a matter of time before the swampfoxes star pickin’ off the red coats,…….

    History has taught us that people can only be pushed so far,……

    Stephan Gregory Patterson Palmer, Alaska,……..

  11. Stephen,
    The problem is in understanding just who are the Redcoats. All of us in the 99% are hurting. Some of those in pain blame the wrong people and others are fooled by religious hypocrites who claim to talk for God. I believe that the enemy is those who approve of the return of feudalism, leading to the triumph of force over freedom. Opposing them must not lead to copying their methods, because that would mean that even if we won we would fail.

  12. The police are out of control everywhere. I just did a trade show, with high security in place, as always. I happened to go in a wrong door- and even though I had my security badge and photo ID in my hand, I was detained by the Miami police. Show management had to come down and sort them out. The whole thing was ridiculous. When did the police lose their common sense?

    Maybe it is the influx of money since 9/11. Maybe it is this hero worship of the military and the police. Maybe it is a culture of violence, but the police think they can detain or arrest anyone at will these days.

    This attitude is going to cost taxpayers a lot of money. Every police department needs to have a re-education on the American Constitution.

  13. i’m guessing that the charges will be dropped before it gets to court. they’ve made their point and deleted the pictures.

  14. Otteray Scribe: “The sad thing is that we can no longer trust the courts because all too many benches are occupied by right wing reactionaries.”

    Agreed, and to expand on that, you can’t trust the ballot box either. The needs and desires of he citizenry are completely ignored by the elected. These are amazing times. It seems to be gett’n all French up in here.

  15. We’re talking about the former capital of the Confederate States of America aka the Feudal States of America. I’m surprised it wasn’t worse.

  16. Well Gene, I hope we’re laughing about the same thing. I was AY, making an oblique comment on the state of pre-revolution France, courts nor government (nor the economy) worked for the citizens.

    I was thinking later that Versailles was built and the King moved the Royals and the entire court including nobles of some minimum rank to it. He didn’t have to be bothered with the people of Paris and he could keep his court and nobles under his watchful eye. Being away from their home provenances for at least part of the year helped keep his nobles weak and by keeping everyone with any power literally in his own house, the King robbed them of the privacy needed to become treacherous. His son and grandson and great-grandson maintained the habit. The damn fools should have looked out the window every now and then ‘specially the last one, Louis XVI, the threat was outside, in the streets as it were.

  17. I take it the photographer is at “liberty” now and did not have to trade life for it. I also understand that he will get his day in court and be well represented.

    Did he argue with the cops? Did he disobey a direct order? I don’t know. I wasn’t there. He lives in a country where he is presumed innocent. I assume that he is unless proved otherwise in a court of law..

    I don’t feel oppressed, do you?

  18. Actually Paul, I do feel oppressed. I have to fly all the time for work. Homeland Security has stolen things out of my checked bag, has made me miss flights, and because of the nature of my work I get thoroughly screened (I sometimes carry precious metals) every single time.

    I ask them politely NOT to damage my goods, to handle them in a certain way, and sometimes they just smirk and leave a freakin’ mess for me to sort out later since I have to catch a flight. Try putting up with this every single month. It gets old.

  19. I don’t feel oppressed, do you? -Paul

    Like shano, I feel pretty oppressed these days, as well. (If you’re lucky Paul, you’ll be okay, but don’t count on it.)

  20. Yeah, Paul—I feel oppressed. So much so that I no longer fly commercial. I would rather drive a thousand miles than take a commercial flight and deal with TSA. I was roughed up by TSA agents in New Orleans because I forgot to take my cell phone out of my shirt pocket and put it on the conveyor belt. The agent grabbed me from behind and shoved me into an area to one side where I was patted down very ungently. I did not miss my flight, but they pored over my computer and carry-on to such an extent that I almost missed my flight. I think that was their intent, but I was early enough in line they could not manage to delay me any longer. Next time I go do NOLA it will be either be by automobile or I will fly myself.

  21. It’s sad you are so uninformed about the world around you and have no real conception of what real oppression is like. I hope you never get to experience it.

    You are oppressed by the TSA? Get real. When’s the last time your plane was hijacked? Maybe never, right. Guess why? You guys are a bunch of spoiled kids.

  22. Paul, you know nothing about me, where I come from, what I have experienced or what I know. Stuff it where the light doesn’t shine. Or better yet, go some of the places I have been and see some of the places I have seen. I did not acquire PTSD from sitting watching the TV. How many people have you seen die? How many times have you picked up a body, only to have it come apart in your hands? Shove it.

  23. I might also add that oppression occurs at both the macro and micro level. Just because an incident happens to one person at one snapshot in time does not mean it is not oppression. Extreme examples of oppression at the micro level are the sad cases of Emmett Till or Matthew Shepard. Macro example are found in oppressive regimes all around the world, ranging from our own deep south to the Sudan and the middle east.

    The police response at some of the OWS sites has moved from micro to the early stages of macro level. When it is systematic, such as by TSA, it also is moving in the direction of macro oppression. When people start becoming afraid of their own government, it is a major social and economic problem.

  24. OS,

    Excellent point about micro and macro oppression. The one thing I would add is that the differences in scale tend to play off of each other, eventually becoming a vicious circle.

  25. I hope you are getting treatment for your PTSD, but this has nothing to do with OWS which has been extended every courtesy by the police, here and elsewhere. Occupy Richmond has no special right to violate the law. You can protest all day and all night. Just don’t camp in a city park.

    You may be a wounded vet, but your compatriots are a bunch of whiny crybabies.

    Since you all are of like minds, I’ll leave you to feed each other’s paranoia.

  26. Paul, hahahha, you are so funny.

    I suppose the NYC police directing every drunk, homeless and mentally ill person they encounter on the street to “take it down to Zuccotti Park” is just a courtesy.
    And then when the occupados call 911 to deal with these people the operator hangs up on them. So courteous.

    Our drone ‘war’ is a great example of real oppression by the US government.

    (and yes, it was a bit of exaggeration to say TSA is oppression, but it does grind on you over time)

  27. So I take that the reason for the OWS and related protests don’t concern you at all, Paul?

    Or doesn’t the deliberate and widespread fraud knowing perpetrated by the banking industry’s biggest players and aided and abetted by the corrupt campaign finance system that allowed said bankers to buy off legislation and laws that previously existed as safeguards against said crimes such as the Glass-Steagall Act and also avoid prosecution for their misdeed bother you at all? Misdeeds that harmed millions of citizens from fraudulent transactions that banks later managed to pass along to the taxpayers in general and thus harming us all?

    Or is that all good because it was done in the name of profits?

    You should learn the definition of the term “paranoia”. Because righteous anger at blatant injustice is not paranoia. It’s the natural reaction of those done wrong. Either you don’t see the wrong, don’t care about the wrong or are have a vested interest in the wrong doing itself. I’ll leave you to your myopia, apathy and/or sympathy to large scale crime.

  28. Paul,
    Have you been asleep during the OWS movement? Have you missed the Marine bing seriously injured? Have you missed the rubber bullets and pepper spray? Wow. Every courtesy?

  29. Gene 7 shano:

    Don’t pay too much attention to Paul Hammond. He’s a conservative gadfly here in Richmond who used to work for the uber-conservative Media General syndicate. His foolish rantings aside, I must say he’s got himself pegged correctly. On his twitpic account page, he describes himself as a “Social misfit and politically insensitive curmudgeon.” No argument here, Paul!

  30. of all the laws that have been violated the only ones that police are concerned about are people sleeping in public parks.

  31. pete:

    “of all the laws that have been violated the only ones that police are concerned about are people sleeping in public parks.”

    *********************

    In 27 years of practice I’ve never seen that charge proscuted here in Richmond unless the police had an alterior motive. We’ve got enough real crime to worry about. See?

    http://spotcrime.com/va/richmond

  32. Paul, I am not a wounded vet and all my problems came stateside. I am not one to sit idly by when there is trouble. I work with law enforcement and the legal system. When one small incident goes unpunished or ignored, as Gene said, it tends to escalate. There is an old proverb I learned from my grandpa: Give them an inch and they will take a mile, .

    When you are willing to let the trolls of oppression get away with small stuff, look for a spiral of the same behavior right around the corner. Frog in the boiling pot.

  33. OS, so now you think anybody who works for a living is a “yellow elephant”. So if I worked my tail of for 15 years writing spreadsheet formulas, database queries and helping people get their paper each day, that makes me the enemy. Do you know the kind of people that work there? Some of them are in Occupy Richmond now. I earned an honest buck and was never asked my opinion on anything.

  34. Paul apparently does not know what a yellow elephant means. Anyone care to enlighten him, since he seems to have some sort of comprehension problem? As for me, I am tired from a full day interviewing law enforcement officers out of town and am going home to get some dinner before I go for a book lecture.

  35. Well Geez, if a “yellow elephant” doesn’t mean what I think it means, please do enlighten me. While I’m waiting I’ll find Tea Party forum and have some fun with them. You would like them. They say the same damn stuff.

  36. Paul:

    “Well Geez, if a “yellow elephant” doesn’t mean what I think it means, please do enlighten me.”

    *********************

    Think “chicken hawk.”

  37. “…….chicken hawks come in every political persuasion”

    **********************

    Yes they do, but yellow elephants only come in one.

  38. You guys are playing a dangerous game. It a classic tactic, but it will probably work. Every movement needs a martyr. Congratulations on your video. It’s a helluva a price to pay.

  39. I think I have some metal in my head that my Mom never told me about! -rafflaw

    lol… Thanks for that, rafflaw…

  40. Paul Hammond:

    “You guys are playing a dangerous game. It a classic tactic, but it will probably work.”

    *********************

    Not a game really; more of a play. Don’t be afraid my timid, conservative friend. It’s just another Act from a play that began its run in 1776. Patrick Henry played the lead then. Madison and Jefferson wrote the script, and the British provided the conflict. Stick around to see what happens. We’re just at intermission.

  41. “Not a game really; more of a play. Don’t be afraid my timid, conservative friend. It’s just another Act from a play that began its run in 1776. Patrick Henry played the lead then. Madison and Jefferson wrote the script, and the British provided the conflict. Stick around to see what happens. We’re just at intermission.”

    It’s a damn fine play too and I think I hear the orchestra warming up . . .

  42. Yeah. The authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are such bad role models. Nobody said Madison or Jefferson were perfect, but they were creatures of their times who are acknowledged as such in this forum. We acknowledge their flaws just as we acknowledge that they had the vision to create what has the potential to be the best form of governance in history and a document of singular historical and ethical importance in the case of the Declaration. That they were imperfect by modern standards in no way detracts from their vision or accomplishments.

  43. Paul:

    You need the book my silly friend. Most of the Founders from the South were slaveowners. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and most wealthy planters in our home state were afflicted. That in no way detracts from the majesty of their contributions to our democracy. But then again that observation would require a mind that can discern shades of gray. Yours is tightly locked into stark contrasts of white and black. Tell you what my absolutist compadre, find me a great person without flaws and I will join you in your hero worship and quote him/her. Until that time, I’ll happily quote Madison and Jefferson. By the way, I haven’t quoted either man yet, but when I do, it will be sourced –and not to some half-wit Tea Bagger blog, either.

  44. “You guys know just enough history to be dangerous. Really, pick up a book.” -Paul

    Sounds like projection to me…

  45. Paul,
    It’s sad that you are in so tight with those who are trying to destroy our Constitution and replace it with a new feudalism. Why do you hate America?

  46. raff,

    Months ago we were all comparing Marching Bands ,,, I presented Ohio State … several others were posted and you mentioned your band but did not post a vid. I found one for you and there it was … the piano on wheels. I’m a musician … can’t forget something like that.

  47. You guys just refuse to acknowledge that someone who disagrees with you might have a point, which is why you are only good at talking to each other.

    Mespo, I know about shades of gray, but nobody else here seems to.

    Adios, farewell, aufwiedersein, goodnight.

  48. Paul Hammond:

    I certainly acknowledge — even rejoice in — a witty,well-reasoned opposing point. I just haven’t seen one yet. We like evidence pleasantly presented here on the legal blog. Call it a weakness.

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