Dawdling while photographing is (technically) illegal in DC

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
As more news photographers get swept up in police action at Occupy Wall Street-type protests around the nation, those covering Washington D.C. protests just learned of a decades-old law that gives the cops even more power to clear out pesky photogs.

Seems it’s an arrestable offense in the Capitol to spend more than five minutes taking a photograph in a public place. As Kirsten Berg of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reports, the law was on the books but forgotten until a Washington Post blog included it on a list of similarly obscure statutes like the one requiring eel trappers — doubtless a big D.C. special interest — to, you know, check their eel traps. But in light of the Occupy conflicts between cops and cameras, the National Press Photographers Association is asking the city’s attorney general to repeal or revise that law and other ordinances that restrict photography. ||Previous: Three-time Wisconsin ‘Photographer of the Year’ arrested during Occupy rally

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • Anonymous

    i was in washington some years ago and was trying to take a pix of the capitol dome at night. a capitol policemen happened by and told me that i could not take such a picture UNLESS i had permision of the capitol architect. i think i was already finished, but what the capitol cop said to me was the strangest f thing i had ever heard.