Yesterday, I drove a client to Macon Georgia to record a survey of a property that I had just listed at the Bibb County Clerk of Superior Court. It's about a two hour drive from the office, so it gave me a good chance brainstorm with the client as we drove the Georgia backroads.
When we got to the courthouse, I had my camera in hand (as usual) and my computer case so rather than go through security, I decided to wait outside while my client recorded the survey. It was a pretty day so I thought that I could get some good photos for my blog.
The courthouse was being renovated, and was completely enveloped with scaffolding. It created unique geometric patterns that I like, so I decided to try a few shots. As I reaise the camera to my eye, I heard someone say:
"Stop, who do you work for?"
I dropped the camera down from my eye and saw an officer with the words "sheriff's department" on his attire. Since I assumed that he was asking for whom I was taking the photograph I answered:
"I work for myself."
He repeated: "Who do you work for?"
I repeated that "I work for myself."
He then informed me that I was not permitted to take pictures of the courthouse. Now, I was standing on a public sidewalk in a public space. I am not aware of any codified law that I was breaking. I agreed not to take any pictures because I did not want to cause an incident.
He proceeded to ask:
"Where are you from and what are you doing here?"
And though it was none of his business, I told him that my associate and I were "recording a survey."
"What kind of survey? What is it about?"
At that point I realized that he misunderstood what I had said. He was still convinced that I was working for someone, and when I said that I was "recording a survey" he thought that I meant that I was "videotaping on the street interviews" or something like that.
I said "We are here conducting county business."
At that point, he asked to see my identification.
After demonstrating that I had no shots of the courthouse, he "allowed" me to leave. I was boiling inside but I bit my tongue.
This is the United States of America. We have rights that are protected by the Constitution. The officer had no legal basis to detain me.
Have we become so paranoid that we have forfeited our civil rights and have turned over unlimited authority to armed police? Is taking a photograph of a public building a suspicious act?
If so, there are thousands of potential terrorists in Washington D.C. every day, casually snapping photos of our national monuments. I'll bet they don't know that they are subject to being detained for their anti-American behavior.
I wish that I could add a photo of the Bibb County Courthouse on this post, but since I was prohibited from doing so, I have provided other photos of courthouses around Georgia.
It is a sad day in America when those charged with enforcing the law do not respect it. It is sadder that our civil rights have been forfeited for the pretense of security, and when law abiding citizens are interrogated and detained without probable cause.
A sad day indeed.
All content, including text, original art, photographs and images, is the exclusive property of Coweta Fayette Real Estate, Inc., and may not be used without the expressed written permission of Coweta Fayette Real Estate of ERA United Realty Newnan Georgia. All information is believed to be accurate but is not warranted, Copyright 2003-2009. Richard Weisser 770-827-6225.
Learn more about Coweta County and Fayette County Georgia Real Estate, and to search the entire Georgia MLS for free with no registration required visit CowetaFayetteRealEstate.com! Photos of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
All content, including text, original art, photographs and images, is the exclusive property of Coweta Fayette Real Estate, Inc., and may not be used without the expressed written permission of Coweta Fayette Real EstateNewnan Georgia. All information is believed to be accurate but is not warranted, Copyright 2003-2016. Richard Weisser REOS, E-Pro. licensed Auctioneer. 770-827-6225.
Learn more about Coweta County and Fayette County Georgia Real Estate, and to search the entire Georgia MLS for free with no registration required. Visit CowetaFayetteRealEstate.com! Photos of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. North Georgia Photos. Photos of Coweta County GA and photos of Fayette County GA.