Pahoa Post Office Calls Police On Me For Taking Pictures… Worst Post Office in America

I went to the Pahoa post office this morning and I got a bit more then I bargained for.

pahoaetc-047I have heard much about the ADA compliancy issues of the Post Office and I wanted to take some pictures of the building.  I was taking some pictures such as this one of the ramp.

Handicap Ramp

Handicap Ramp

And these ones of the handicap parking stall.

Handicap Stall w/ Garbage Pile

Handicap Stall w/ Garbage Pile

Different Angle of Handicap Stall

Different Angle of Handicap Stall

You just have to love the One Way sign that is covered in dirt and bent up.

Which Way?

Which Way?

The entrance of the Post Office often get’s backed up onto the main street of Pahoa making cars stop on the main street, because of the poor location of the mailbox drop box.

Poor Location of Mailbox Drop Box

Poor Location of Mailbox Drop Box

The parking lot is so small, that often times people have to wait in their cars for a stall to open up.

Waiting for a stall as more cars back up behind me

Waiting for a stall as more cars back up behind me

The postal employees themselves have to park on the grass above the parking area because the lot is so small.

Employee Parking

Employee Parking

The driveway in/out is sloped at such an angle that many cars scrape on the pavement just trying to get in and out of the place.

Steep Entrance

Steep Entrance

I was on my way out to my car, when this guy comes running up to me…

“Brah… what you doing?” He says

“Taking Pictures of the Post Office” I say

“Brah… This one Federal Building… that’s against the Law… Stick around… I’m calling the cops!”

The guy goes in and calls the cops on me.  I’m thinking how friggin ridiculous…but ok… let’s see what the cops say.

So I stick around and as the cops arriving, I take a picture of them arriving.

Lady cop: “What you taking a picture of me for… that’s harassment you know?”

I’m like what?  Since when is taking a picture of a Police officer or a building considered Harassment…

Officer… I’ve asked you not to take my picture and you took it….

I’m like… I took the picture before you even got out of your car and said a word…

Officer…”ERASE THAT PICTURE NOW!”

So I show the lady officer (J. Lee) the picture that I took of her and then showed her that I deleted it… Just to appease her.

I then ask if she would like to see any of the pictures of the Post Office… she refuses.

Then she asks Postal Guy if they want to press Trespassing charges against me… Post Office guy says no… that’s ok… just don’t ever take pictures here again.

So my question to anyone and everyone… Is there anything illegal about taking pictures of a Post Office?

Who was Harassed?  The Post Office… or Me?

Since when did taking pictures of outside of buildings and/or police officers become “harassment?”

Sheesh… to think I was only there to drop off a package… Is it my fault I always carry my camera?

Heck… Tiffany… You better erase those pictures you took inside of the Post Office for gods sake before the Goonsquad comes after you!

Just kidding.

I can’t believe this Post Office.  Maybe it is time to file a federal ADA Suit against them!

14 Responses

  1. Interesting, indeed. Wow, I thought I read that it’s actually them harassing you if they demand that you delete the photo.

    • That’s pretty much how I felt at the time.

      Some suggested I file a formal complaint.

      I didn’t and I’m not that type of person.

      This happened the night before Christmas and I wasn’t about to go to jail for non-compliance on a stupid thing.

      Some lawyers have asked why I didn’t stand up for my rights… Well quite frankly at the time I didn’t know of my rights and I was intimidated about being arrested for one reason or another.

  2. Wow that’s ridiculous!

  3. You just keep snapping your pictures Damon

  4. Hey, keep up the good work. Sounds like you did nothing wrond according to the usps rights and permisssions policy. Ol Larry can’t help but blame Bush, but not for much longer.

  5. While I am not a lawyer, here is a link to a photographers rights published by a lawyer: http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

    And another good link that discusses a photographers rights: http://www.legalandrew.com/2007/10/11/photo-law-your-right-to-take-pictures-in-public/

    This basically says you have the right to take pictures of almost anything you would like, from public space. There are of course exceptions to this, like inside of courthouses and possibly military installations etc…

    Taking pictures of post office buildings is legal.

    Taking pictures of the police is legal.

    Common sense would dictate that you don’t intentionally try to piss off the responding officer. You really should have waited until the officer was given a chance to assess the situation.

  6. If your description is accurate, Officer L. Lee engaged in an abuse of power and extortion and should be punished. I don’t know Hawai`i county’s procedure for filing a police misconduct complaint but if we want these things to stop that may be the only way to get your chief to educate his officers on the violation of people’s rights in public places.

    Unfortunately the new reporters’ shield law does not restrict police from harassing reporters engaged in newsgathering.

    Damon – I think the officer was just doing her job… and stepped over the line a bit and got a bit pissed that I took her picture. Abuse of power… yes. Punishment… I dunno… maybe a slap on the wrist or something. But officers do need to understand that we have rights as well.

  7. I’m not surprised at the Fed’s general paranoia, now probably post 9/11 public policy. It’s a little more disconcerting that our County Police are determining that photographs of cops constitute “harassment.” Is journalism now considered harassment? That would be a different country than I remember.

  8. First, thanks for posting comment with good wishes on my blog. Happy Holiday to you too, though I see here that you celebrate in unusual ways.

    Taking photos of federal buildings while on federal property can have consequences. It seems that Bush declared a rather continuous state of emergency after 9/11 which is still in force! Who knows how long they can keep you in detention for snapping that shutter.

    Speaking of which, if you have not taken any pictures subsequently, the “erased” photos are likely still there, and can often be retrieved with freeware unerase programs. If you have a Windows PC, and have not taken new photos since erasure, suggest printing a directory to show what’s there, unerase the photos, print a directory after, and you’ll have evidence and a picture of the cop who made you erase a picture of her.

    Ok, I found the reference to the state of emergency, and will leave you with that. Good thing they didn’t send you to Guantanamo. From the White House website:

    “Because the actions of these persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the United States, the national emergency declared on September 23, 2001, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond September 23, 2007. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism.”

    Damon – Thank you for your comments. I have taken subsequent pictures. I did hear that through the ZAR software I might be able to still retrieve it. For some reason the ZAR software is not recognizing my camera despite being on the list of cameras that it would recognize.

    I don’t really want to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

  9. Curious on this issue myself, all I could find was this…

    http://www.usps.com/rightsandpermissions/trademark-image-usage.htm

    Which reads…

    For Personal Use: Informal snapshots from handheld cameras for personal use may be allowed at the discretion of the postmaster so long as there is no disruption to Postal Service operations and provided the pictures are taken from areas accessible to the public. In these cases, no prior permission is required from the Office of Rights and Permissions; however, no lighting or scaffolding may be set up, and Postal Service employees, customers, cover of mail and security cameras cannot be depicted in the pictures. Postmasters may restrict any and all photography if they determine that it is disruptive or there are potential security concerns.

    Damon – Gee… Next time I guess I better ask?
    Thanks for looking that up.

  10. Flickr: ‘”We found 81,117 results matching “post office”.’

    a good number of which are in the USA.

    I blame homeland security.

  11. It seems to me that the post office is blocking not only the access provided by law but blocking the process of reporting access violations according to Federal Law. Shameful

  12. Lord, Damon, try to stay out of trouble.
    Merry Christmas.
    Happy New Year.
    and
    Your Check is in the Mail.

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