Amtrak Police Arrests Photographer Taking Pictures for Amtrak Photography Contest
February 4, 2009 -- In December 2008 Amtrak police arrested Duane Kerzic who was taking photos with his Canon EOS 5D and Lensbaby at Penn Station in NY. Duane was out taking pictures of trains in hopes of winning Amtrak’s annual photo contest along with the $1000 prize. According to published reports, Duane was standing on the platform taking pictures of the trains as they came and left from the station. As he was walking out of the station, he kneeled down to tie his shoe only to find Amtrak police hovering over him when he stood back up. Duane was arrested after refusing to delete the photographs and was handcuffed in a cell while police "figured out" the charges. It seems that once they realized that photographing in public places wasn't a crime they gave him a citation for 'trespassing.'
The Stephen Colbert report ran a great and very funny "Nailed 'em" segment on this story. Well worth watching (see video below).
The only part of this story that doesn't completely add up is that the Amtrak Photo Contest 2009 ended in July 11, 2008. I guess it could be assumed that Duane was capturing images for the 2010 contest? Either way - it's amazing how 9/11 has affected our security. On one hand it's great to see Amtrak police watching out for us, while on the other hand people looking to take pictures with a camera, in a public place, should never be harrassed - especially when the company itself sponsors a yearly photo contest asking its riders to do just that - take pictures of our trains!
Amtrak photo contestant arrested by Amtrak police in NYC’s Penn Station