Photographer wins settlement over arrest

Associated Press
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NEW YORK - Officers who patrol the perimeter of federal courthouses will be reminded that people can shoot pictures and videos in public spaces outside the buildings, according to the terms of the settlement of a lawsuit brought by a photographer who was arrested.

Under the settlement, announced Monday, Federal Protective Service officers will receive written notice that no general security regulations prohibit photography outside the buildings.

The deal specified that officers can ask the name of any person shooting photographs and the purpose for the pictures. And security can be tightened when necessary, including to take "lawful steps to ascertain whether unlawful activity, or reconnaissance for the purpose of a terrorist or unlawful act, is being undertaken."

As part of the settlement, the Federal Protective Service will pay $1,500 to Antonio Musumeci, a photographer who was arrested last year as he videotaped a political protest in a public plaza outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan. An additional 3,350 must be paid to cover his legal fees. Charges against the Edgewater, N.J., resident were later dropped.

Musumeci, a software developer for an investment bank who uses photography to record political speeches and to document police misconduct, was also threatened with arrest on two subsequent occasions after he tried to record protests at the courthouse.

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