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Patriot Act

Transit officers cite Patriot Act to illegally detain man for taking pictures at train station

Saturday, June 04, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Patriot Act, train stations, health news

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(NaturalNews) Americans that take photographs in public places are now considered to be potential terrorists by many over-zealous state employees that have bought into all the "war on terror" rhetoric and the irrational fear-mongering it has brought with it. According to WJZ-13 CBS in Baltimore, several Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) officials recently detained a man illegally for simply snapping a few pictures at a train station -- and the detaining officers tried to use the Patriot Act as justification for their abusive actions.

When Christopher Fussell was approached by three MTA officers at the Baltimore Cultural Light Rail Station, he tried to explain to the officers that, lawfully, he was free to take pictures as long as they were for personal use and not for commercial purposes. But Fussell's correct assertion was immediately met by the stark ignorance of what can only be dubbed the new American police state, which is marked by disregard for the law and arbitrary rule-making.

"Not on state property, not without proper authorization," said one of the officers in response to Fussell's declaration of picture-taking rights. "The Patriot Act says that critical infrastructure, trains, train stations, all those things require certain oversight to take pictures, whether you say they are for personal use or whatever, that's your story."

The officer's statements, of course, are grossly inaccurate. But this fact did not stop him and the others from harassing and illegally detaining Fussell for nearly an hour before finally releasing him. And based on statements made by higher-ups at the MTA following the incident, such activity apparently happens routinely, and without so much as a slap on the wrist.

According to reports, the MTA has not even issued an apology to Fussell, but has instead tried to justify the abusive behavior of its officers by claiming they "have become very sensitive post 9/11," and that the agency is doing what it can to teach its officers that citizens are free to take pictures without government intrusion. But this cop-out excuse does not justify continued abuse of individual liberty and personal freedom, nor does it let the MTA or any other agency off the hook for illegally detaining innocent individuals.

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