Interviews Jerome Vorus

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Vorus and the ACLU are suing Washington, D.C. over his detention for photographing D.C. police officers last summer. I wrote about the incident in my January feature on cops and cameras:

In another incident last summer, Washington, D.C., photographer Jerome Vorus was detained over the July 4 weekend after taking photos of police making a traffic stop in Georgetown. According to Vorus, four cruisers and 10 police officers eventually responded to his picture taking. All of them, including two supervisors, wrongly told him it is illegal to photograph D.C. police officers. Asked about the Georgetown incident on a radio call-in program, D.C. Police Chief Kathy Lanier said the city has no policy against photographing police officers, but she also defended the cops, explaining that they don’t like being photographed because “we can have our pictures end up on all sorts of websites, and that can be dangerous for us.”

Lanier’s position is bunk. If he wasn’t doing anything illegal, Vorus shouldn’t have been detained. And if recording cops isn’t illegal, Lanier shouldn’t be defending cops who told him it was. She should be disciplining them.


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23 Responses to “ Interviews Jerome Vorus”

  1. #1 |  a leap at the wheel | 

    Ain’t no police like a secret police.

  2. #2 |  Nick42 | 

    I believe you omitted the word shouldn’t in that last line:

    And recording cops isn’t illegal, Lanier *shouldn’t* be defending cops who told him it was. She should be disciplining them.

  3. #3 |  Marty | 

    Jerome’s a great guy to lead the charge on this- he and Carlos Miller ROCK when it comes to photography and sticking up for your rights to photograph in public.

  4. #4 |  Some Guy | 

    So Lanier’s tipped her hand. Cops can arrest you for doing something they don’t like without fear of reprimand or repercussion. Who knew?

  5. #5 |  SJE | 

    Police are afraid of cameras? Hang on, aren’t they supposed to be heroes, standing on the corner in the rain, protecting widows and orphans, taking bullets so others can be free? Why are they afraid of cameras?

  6. #6 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “we can have our pictures end up on all sorts of websites, and that can be dangerous for us.”

    This at a time when a mugshot will get your name all over the internet,
    criminal history database, and Slammer-variety tabloids. Comedy!

    “There’s no actual *policy* but don’t fuckin do it, or else.”

  7. #7 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    We need 1,000 cases like this across the country all on the same weekend. Followed by 1,000 lawsuits for a billion$ against cities and individual police when they break the law.

    we can have our pictures end up on all sorts of websites, and that can be dangerous for us.

    a) The .0000001% chance of this (although it has never happened) trumps actual civil rights?
    b) All interactions with police are extremely dangerous for civilians, so can we put all the police in jail?

  8. #8 |  Deoxy | 

    “we can have our pictures end up on all sorts of websites, and that can be dangerous for us.”

    Yeah, arrest records are considered public information – there are banner ads that I see from time to time advertising services to look them up! Not to mention sites like TheSmokingGun…

    Yeah, private citizens can end up completely plastered all over the place, complete with OFFICIAL accusations of Bad Things ™ that may later be shown to be completely made up, but hey, Police Officers are more specialer than that.

    Well, except for when the are in COPS (or equivalent) – that’s pretty public, isn’t it?!?

  9. #9 |  Cyto | 

    #4 | Some Guy |

    That’s exactly what I heard.

    Rephrased Lanier: “Officers don’t like being recorded, so it is OK that they arrested this young man, even though he was perfectly within his rights to be doing everything he was doing”.

    Oh well, at least they have one of those “citizen review committee” things to straighten this whole mess out…

  10. #10 |  PogueMahone | 

    Yizmo, that was my first thought when I read that quote.

    Here’s a line of thought for her… If the cops didn’t do anything wrong, then nobody would pay any attention to pictures of cops on the internet.

    And another thing, when the police are proud of what their officers did, they stand in front of a bank of cameras, tell us all about them, and slap them with medals. And as I learned here, they’ll even do that when they raid the wrong house.



  11. #11 |  Cyto | 

    Deoxy – not to mention those jurisdictions that aim to use shaming as a tool of coercion: like putting pictures of those spotted in known prostitution locations up on the web, or on billboards. Most of these don’t even require an arrest, let alone a conviction.

  12. #12 |  John A | 

    I don’t like having my picture taken either. Can I arrest the people who take it for a driver`s license?

    I can understand being concerned about pictures of an undercover operation, though I am not sure what could/should be done. But a uniformed officer in a public place performing his duties has no more right to privacy than a Representative speaking on the Floor of the House – less, in fact.

  13. #13 |  David | 

    Remember, police are heroes because they’ve volunteered to put their lives on the line to protect innocent citizens from violent criminals. That’s why they have to be allowed to imprison or kill innocent citizens rather than risk being threatened in any way.

    Joseph Heller is writing reality.

  14. #14 |  Stephen | 

    OT, but it is a dog picture. I saw this on another site and the caption was something about it being so hot his dog was melting.

  15. #15 |  Radley Balko | 

    I’m stealing that picture, Stephen.

  16. #16 |  croaker | 

    “we can have our pictures end up on all sorts of websites, and that can be dangerous for us.”

    If you’re acting like a Gestapo turd, you deserve to have your picture end up on all sorts of websites. Police like this are the domestic enemies mentioned in that oath I took back in 1981.

    @13 I know you were being sarcastic, but I still have to cry bullshit.

  17. #17 |  Stephen | 

    “I’m stealing that picture, Stephen.”

    I don’t think that will be a problem. Some other guy posted it on a public forum and I liked it. I would make my own local copy if I was you. :)

  18. #18 |  Stephen | 

    I’m working on getting the guys name if you need it. (Well, I think I know but I would like for him to OK using it)

  19. #19 |  CK | 

    More than one “should” in an article. How droll.
    You do realize that the verb “should” describes a state contrary to reality.
    Not a subjunctive hypothetical but an antithesis.
    Saying that A should or should not do B is wishing for reality to be other than it is. It is to put not to fine a point on it a republicrat bloviatory creptitation and is avoided in acceptable writing.

  20. #20 |  Stephen | 

    The guy’s name is Anthony Hicks from Princeton, TX. The dog’s name is Bleu. He says he has before and after pics.

  21. #21 |  Aresen | 

    “we can have our pictures end up on all sorts of websites, and that can be dangerous for us.”

    I hadn’t noticed any reluctance to have their images on badge-licking TV shows like Cops.

  22. #22 |  Wiregeek | 

    So help me, god, I cannot unsee the ‘cover’ image for that video (the one Youtube shows before you click play) as Jerome Vorus – He Wants Cheezburger.

    I have a lot of respect for the guy, and am 100% in agreement with his stand, but.. he wants cheezburger!

  23. #23 |  PeeDub | 

    Is it just me, or does he look like a young Senator Clay Davis?