Video TSA Confiscates Camera from man Recording Checkpoint

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Carlos Miller @ PINAC, Sep 29, 2012.

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    TSA screeners confiscated a man’s camera after he began video recording a checkpoint in Puerto Rico, deleting his footage before returning his camera.
    The incident has sparked a debate on Flyer Talk as to what laws would actually apply in this case.
    On one hand, there are no photo or video restrictions at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, as much as many screeners act otherwise.
    But on the other hand, Puerto Rico has its own constitution and laws that might not always reflect those of the United States.
    However, federal laws apply to Puerto Rico, according to Wikpedia.
    The story initially came to my attention this week when I received an email from Photography is Not a Crime reader Tom McCormack inquiring how to recover deleted footage.
    I sent him a link to PhotoRec, which is free software that I used to recover the footage deleted by the Miami-Dade Police Department during my last arrest in January.
    He ended up recovering the footage and sent me a clip, which I posted below.
    This is how he explained it in the email:
    I was in the San Juan aiport at noon (Sept 24) heading for St. Kitts.​
    I videotaped (Canon Power Shot) the podium where they make you show the passport/boarding pass, as I approached and then the next area with the X-ray scanners. It was busy. One TSA woman told me to stop from about 20 feet away. I didn't.​
    They all seemed intrigued I wouldn't follow their orders. A TSA guy soon approached me and said I had to stop. I kept the video going and said​
    "Sorry, it's a Constitutional right." He said "Okay" and walked back, a little indignant, to the X ray area.​
    When I went through X rays they were waiting for me. Two uptight TSA ladies rolled up on a cart and approached me. I grabbed my camera and started rolling; I wanted to capture the conversation with them.​
    One of them approached me and violently ripped the camera from my hands. I was shocked and told her to give it back and lunged for my camera. They took my camera and passport and boarding pass and ran off to some corner to confer with one another.​
    A police officer approached and asked where I was from. I said California. The conversation went like this:​
    Me: "I'm from California. Why?"​
    Him: "Well, each State has its own rules.”​
    Me: "But this is TSA. A Federal agency. Therefore the State laws don't apply. Besides, the First Amendment of the Constitution trumps state rules."​
    Him: "This is an airport. You can't just videotape people. You need permission."​
    Me : "Nonsense, this is a public arena. There is not permission required or any expectation of privacy here."​
    Him: "No, Puerto Rico is not like the States. There are local laws that have nothing to do with the way they do things in the States."​
    Me: "Look, let's just agree to disagree. I don't accept anything you say. I want my camera back. See stole it. I want her to give it back right now."​
    Him: "She didn't steal it. She just confiscated it because you violated the rules."​
    The TSA lady reappeared with my camera, passport, boarding pass. I took it and started to walk away (pissed off) when I noticed the camera would not go on. I looked at the cartridge slot and it was gone. They had stolen it!​
    I showed the cop and said, "Look I want my cartridge (with 200 or so personal photos) back or I'll call a lawyer and 911 to get more cops.​
    This is outrageous!" He seemed to be aware I was getting upset and the TSA ladies scurried off with the cop and came back 2 minutes later with the cartridge.​
    "It must have fallen on the ground" said the cop.​
    Yeah, right. Predictably all the videos of them giving me a hard time were deleted. The whole episode lasted about 10 minutes.​

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  2. FetePerfection

    FetePerfection Founding Member Coach

    San Juan airport is where I assume this occurred. They truly are thugs. I can always count on a confrontation about something when I'm fly out of SJU. :td:
  3. Frank

    Frank Original Member

    Pedosmurfs are slow learners.
  4. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    Isnt that the truth. Puerto Rico is one of my favorite destinations especially for diving but going into/through SJU makes me want to beat my head against a wall. I think in the future will take Jet Blue into BQN instead

    SJU has had a major theft problem since before TSA was created and only has gotten worse to the point that the FBI got involved. Watch your property like a hawk and get your bag wrapped. Last time through the gate agent told me (AA Plat in Biz Class no less) I had to check a legal size rollaboard, for which I asked her to fill out a assumption of liability (Not going to hand over 30K of camera and dive equipment without a major fight). Also pointed to the crowd of people waiting in the gate area that if someone is business class has to check a legal size rollaboard then all those with huge trash sacks and boxes better be gate checked as well. PR is like hawaii they will discriminate against "Whites" for what ever reason they, but are quick to back down when called on the carpet.

    real slow unless you call getting beaten with the ugly stick everytime they screw up "slow learning"
  5. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Time to run a file recovery app on the card, and post those "deleted" sections to YouTube.
  6. Frank

    Frank Original Member

    Pretty soon that ugly stick is going to morph into a Louisville Slugger.
    Fisher1949 likes this.
  7. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I believe he's already recovered the video & sent part of it to Carlos.

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