Photographing police officers - German law

Is is legal to take pics?

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Split from: Police Racism in Munich

Earlier tonight at Lehel U-Bahn station - 5 plain-clothes U-Bahn-Wache holding an african guy down on the floor. Handcuffed, face-down, legs twisted and forced up over his back, screaming in pain.

All looked a bit over the top, so took a couple of pictures with my camera-phone. Immediately had 2 other guys come over and block me in against the wall until I deleted them.

Police arrived and they all dragged the african guy, plus his mate, into a side-room.
Forced you to delete the photos??? That is really not on! I wonder what the legal basis of that is. I would have refused point blank to delete them. I'd have swallowed the SIM card if I had to.
Mind's Eye
I believe there are laws against photographing police officers.

I discovered additional laws against photographing people when I was at the Wies'n and photographed a couple of drunks in very amusing states. Learned then that the European privacy laws are more strict than in other parts of the world. But I'm digressing...
Malcolm Spudbury
"Recht auf eigenes Bild" is what the U-Bahn-Wache guy said. Never mind the african guy's rights not to be brutalised.

I refused to even let him see the phone until the police arrived and said the same thing. Even after I deleted them he wouldn't believe me and made me go through *all* the pictures to make sure they were gone.

The pictures were crap anyway so wouldn't have been of any use to anyone.

I believe there are laws against photographing police officers
U-Bahn-Wache are not police officers.
Malcom, I'd maybe complain about that to MVG, not that I think it would bring much...

If you wanted I could tell you the name of an SPD city councillor (involved in public transport comittee) who you might like to tell that such shit is happening on the U-Bahn.
A couple of years ago we were at the Sommerfest at Zoozie's and there was some trouble outside. I took a couple of quick snaps and the female cop immediately had a go at me and told me to delete them in front of her.

Still kept one though. It's at the bottom of this page -

I think it's the same in many countries that you're not supposed to take photos of cops or soldiers.
Slightly off topic... I got completely felt up by a rather large female German security officer after passing through the metal detectors at Munich airport the other day. I didnt even here it beep!! I mean, she brushed down my whole body... seriously. If I had been alone, I would have been really disturbed but as I had Bekky there laughing at me it was sort of funny. Sort of... going off to cry in the shower now... I feel so dirty...
Mind's Eye
*rushes off to airport with metal things in pockets*
I was think about sticking metal objects somewhere else

I can believe in "Recht aufs eigene Bild" for private individuals but if you are a <polite mode> police officer <end polite mode> in uniform or a U-bahn Wiche, surely a member of the public has the right to take photos if they think there is a case of abuse of position that needs to be doccumentated.

Or is it just a way of making sure there's never any evidence?

The boyf of my best mate is an ex German copper, I'll ask him later and maybe one of the anti-racist groups in Munich.
About flash photography of "officers" in action,

If the *flash* was turned off and your camera didn't look like this you might get away with it! My digital can turn off the flash but then the pic can get blurry easily.
I don't think that the Rodney King videotaper had one of those bright lights pointed in the cops' direction.
I say that cameras are everywhere. It is going to be hard to stop photos being taken of shite that happens. Give the technology two years and the pics will be instantly cellphoned to your dad's laptop in Sweden and there won't be anything they can do about it.
yes it was legal, and if the touched you or took the camera away from you it was assult, but as you are not a jornalist expect a lenghty court proceedure and one big time rough ride.

i work for the media and this is the law...

are we sitting comfortably, then i will begin

recht am eigenen bild is covered under Art 2 i.v.m Art 1 GG

all fine and dandy but

its defined a little finer under this

zulässigkeit der abbildung von personen
§ 22-24 KUG (recht am eigenen bild)

gründsatzt: das bildnis einer person darf nur mit dessen zustimmung verbreitet oder öffentlich zur schau gestellt werden.

which means you cannot distribute, publisise transmit or otherwise bring into public view a picture of someone without their permission. as far as i know it does not allow someone to force you to destroy or delete your picture as the law covers the usage and not possesion. if anyone tells you anything different your covered by the following laws

Presse-/Rundfunkfreiheit Art 5 abs 1 S2 GG
meinumgsfreiheit art 5 abs 1 S1 GG
Kunstfreiheit - yea right thats the one you really need lol

following on from § 22 KUG you have

§23 abs 1 KUG

bildnisse aus dem bereich der zeitgeschichte

bilder, auf denen personnen nu als beiwerk neben einer landschaft oder einer sonstigen örtlichkeit erscheinen

bilderer von versammlungen

bildnisse die einem höheren interesse der kunst dienen

the first exception covers you and is brocken down into the following

why can you use/make such pictures

absicherung des informationsbedürfnisses der allgemeinheit an sachgerechter bildberichterstattung

the whos are absolute personen der zeitgeschichte - ei schroeder etc.
and relariver personen der zeitgeschichte - ei your boys in blue/green as you felt what was happening was an event worthy of capturing and reporting if the situation escalated eg the guy dropped dead in a coma.

again this covers usage not destruction because the picture allways remains your property. and if you say sorry mate its just for me the they is fucked - that goes for the drunks at the wies'n too.

but be careful, if you passed this picture on to AZ and it was published under the headline - nasty pigs beat up poor black guy - this is a not realy sachgerecht and b could come under §23 abs 2 KUG which is basicly covers defermation intrusion in the private sphere etc, and under that paragraph uyou can not use the picture.(again USAGE not OWNERSHIP)

that basicly is your legal stand point. forcing the deletion of a picture which could be used as evidence or zeitgeschchte is basicly not on. but its a rocky road to complain about, you will probably be arrested but then they have to explain that later especialy as there are no more piccies. but remember two things in court the policemans statement has more worth than yours, especialy when there is no evidence or independent witnesses - and i don't mean that cynicaly. and two the guy is shit scared that he will lose his job pension rights etc and can not feed his family just because you were being a clever bastard, you do not know how threatend he was, and have to prove unjustifiable force.

as for the drunks in the beer garden, buy them a maß and disappear (wording anglo-saxon insults)

the end
If there is a law for "Recht auf eigenes Bild", then that would make things like surveillance cameras in the U-Bahn or any other public area illegal - which they are plainly not.
Perhaps there are special rules as to the Video surveilance because the person behind the screen has rules as to what they can do with it. (anyone know?) Also the U-bahn wache probably know where they could potentially be captured doing the nasty deed and they avoid it there.

Could also be that the germans play by the 'rules' and "No one should ever take a photo of an official" ... "EVER!" with no explanation needed. Face it. We are not in the land of the free or the home of the brave, even if the chick on a horse is cute but happens to be wearing green.
Mind's Eye
So I needlessly deleted my photoessay of the Wies'n Kotzhügel? *sobs into hands*
I thought she was a girl scout. Sorry.

Still, sometimes they seem to enjoy it.


I am so gonna get busted.
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