A female officer spotted Hurlbut recordingand told him that he was not allowed to take pictures. Hurlbut took a few steps back, but continued recording as the security guards brought the arrestee to their cruiser.
After the man was placed in the cruiser, a male trolley cop approached Hurlbut, demanded to see his trolley pass, and told him to stop taking pictures. Hurlbut asked if it was against the law and the guard replied that it was. Hurtlbut asked again and the guard responded “It’s against out rights.” Hurlbut asked the guard what law made it illegal to take pictures, but the guartd refused to give him an answer. Finally, Hurlbut shut off the camera out of fear that the trolley cops might confiscate it and delete his footage.
Hurlbut said that several minutes after he shut off his camera, he was approached by another trolley cop who demanded to see his pass. Hurlbut said he produced it and the officer grabbed it out of his hands and threatened him.
On September 18, Ken Moller, president of Heritage Security Services, the company that employed the trolley cops, issued an apology to Hurlbut and confirmed that it is legal to take pictures and shoot video. “We have no right to tell people they can’t shoot down there,” he said. “My officers were wrong in telling him that. And I put that word out as soon as I saw the video. It’s a public place and people can certainly shoot video down there if they want to.
Heritage Security Services refused to release the arrest report for the smoker despite the fact that Hurlbut’s video showed the trolley cops using excessive force.
Carlos Miller, “Photographer receives apology after armed guards harass him for shooting video,” Photography is Not a Crime, February 5, 2010
Kathryn Snyder, “We Don’t Want You Taking Pictures,” San Diego Reader, February 24, 2010
12th & Imperial Transit Center, San Diego, CA 92101