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Photographer sues New York City

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  1. Newsgathering
Reuters reports that a Columbia University graduate student filed a lawsuit against New York City and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly…

Reuters reports that a Columbia University graduate student filed a lawsuit against New York City and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Thursday, arguing that his First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated when he was arrested for photographing a subway station.

At heart, Aron Wiita’s lawsuit claims that the NYPD has a policy of “subjecting photographers and videographers – particularly those who fit Middle Eastern or South Asian racial and ethnic profiles – to increased scrutiny and harassment.” 

Of course, the First Amendment protects photographing public places, especially here, where Wiita planned to create an online photographic compendium of New York’s subway stations and their surrounding neighborhoods. That Witta ended up on a street corner in handcuffs because of some officer’s unfounded paranoia should be embarrassing to the city and police force.