Knowing Rights

In light of recent violations, The Temple News encourages students to know their rights.


n March 14, Ian Van Kuyk, a junior film and media arts major, and his girlfriend, Meghan Feighan, were arrested for seemingly no reason.

As Angelo Fichera addresses in “After arrest, press network pushes for dismissal of charges,” p. 1, Van Kuyk said he was arrested for taking pictures, and his girlfriend was arrested for picking up his camera. Both spent a day in jail, Feighan, 18 hours, Van Kuyk, 24. Feighan agreed to 12 hours of community service and a $200 fine in exchange for dropping the felony and misdemeanor charges she faced.

Van Kuyk has been charged with obstructing justice, resisting arrest, hindering apprehension, disorderly conduct and disorderly conduct — fight II.

The Temple News is appalled at this blatant abuse of power and disregard for freedom of speech. Additionally, The Temple News wants all students, regardless of their affiliation with journalism, to know their rights.

Following the incident, the chair of the journalism department, Dr. Andrew Mendelson, contacted Mickey Ostreicher, general counsel at the National Press Photographers Association, who has been working with Van Kuyk. The Temple News praises the efforts of the journalism department and the network of organizations helping Van Kuyk. But a violation of these rights is something that everyone should be concerned about.

Anyone doing anything in public has no reasonable expectation of privacy, and therefore, it is legal to photograph them. Police officers are certainly no exception to this law, and should know it.

In September 2011, Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Charles Ramsey issued a memorandum restating police officers’ expectation to be “photographed, videotaped or audibly recorded by members of the public and by individuals temporarily detained.”

The police department needs to reinforce this expectation.

The Temple News commiserates with Van Kuyk and Feighan, and offers its support to Van Kuyk if his charges are not dropped.

But most importantly, The Temple News wants all students to understand that it is not within the rights of a police officer to arrest someone for taking a picture. Students should know and understand what their rights are, and when those rights are being violated.

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