This is the photo that got Andrew Cichowski detained for 30 minutes.

This is the photo that got Andrew Cichowski detained for 30 minutes.

Andrew Cichowski was taking a picture of a barbed wire fence in a San Jose, California train station when police came up from behind him and issued the following order.


Armed with nothing but a Canon 5D Mark II, Cichowski did as he was told and encountered two police officers glaring at him, according to his blog post.

Before it was over, a third and fourth officer pulled up to the scene.

They demanded his driver license, student identification, social security number and license plate number (even though his car was nowhere around).

Then they took two photographs of him for their files even though they had already acknowledged he was not breaking the law.

And they also copied the entire contents of his compact flash card on their laptop as well as two flash drives.

In an email interview with Photography is Not a Crime, Cichowski said he agreed to allow them to copy his memory card because he wanted it to go on the record that his photographs were not criminally incriminating.

However, police had already violated his rights by detaining him for more than an hour when there was no probable cause to do so.

Allowing them to copy the contents of his memory card is the equivalent of allowing them to search your home without a warrant.

We must remember that in this country, we are supposedly innocent until proven guilty.

Not the other way around.