Reporter Sander Wolf was taking some close-up pictures of wildflowers, and metal corrosion at an oil refinery when he was approached by Long Beach police officer Asif Kahn.According to the Long Beach Post, while shooting pictures in June, Wolf was approached by Kahn who told him he’d received a call about his picture taking (via Romanesko).
Though Wolf was breaking no laws, and doing nothing illegal, Kahn asked to see Wolf’s identification. Surprised, the photographer asked if he had to and the officer replied, “yes”.
“And at that point I did feel detained,” Wold told the the Long Beach Post, “because if he was demanding that I identify myself, then I couldn’t just walk away.”
Kahn ran a check on Wolf and told him that under homeland security laws police may detain and question anyone they like if they feel they have cause.
The law on Los Angeles books allowing this is called Special Order No. 11 and when the ACLU criticised the order, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the program “should be a national model”.
The Department of Homeland Security teamed up with the Major Cities Chief Association in 2008 recommending the law be expanded nationwide.
This was the second incident in June alone in Los Angeles after eight police officers rushed from the L.A. county courthouse to detain a reporter for taking pictures of people texting while driving.