Well, here we go again.
At approximately 10am, Sunday, March 5th, I am parked in the Howard Beach parking lot watching the 31L departures from JFK.
A little while later, John Toomey shows up in his vehicle and we watch some more.
[The lot is mostly empty.
We notice an NYPD cruiser has come into the parking lot and parked well behind us. A few minutes later another arrives and pulls up next to the first. One faces out and the other in while in the adjacent spots so they can talk with one another. They are probably not there for us, as we have been shooting very little.
Once we see TAM departing, we decide to take our shots. Immediately afterwards, one cruiser approaches. Two cops within. The officer driving does the questioning, not leaving his car. We have to peer in to see who we are speaking with.
He asks what we are doing and then says -"No." "Thats not allowed anymore". "No More". "You can't take pictures here".
I inform him we've been taking pictures here for years. He informs me we can't do that anymore. He says he "took someone in" last week and "hasn't seen him since". He lets me know if we don't stop, or if he sees me there again, the camera will have to be confiscated and I will have to be brought in for questioning for at least three (3) hours.
At no time does this officer ask for any ID. He volunteers that we don't look like terrorists. So he is letting us go. :roll:
I can't see the officer's name or badge and decide on this day that I don't really want to make the test case, so I don't ask him for his name. I do note the patrol car is from the 100th precinct however.
As I leave the lot I decide to drive to the 100th precinct in Rockaway to see what notions might obtain there on this day in the way of my civil rights.
Its clear once I am there, they don't really want to get too deeply involved. The Desk Officer says I should "just ignore" the cop. He says this more than once.
I indicate that might not work too well and relate the story again. The officer once again suggests I ignore this cop and just return to Howard Beach to take pictures of aircraft whenever I want. This is good to hear, but what about ignoring this cop I ask again. How is that going to work out?
The desk cop suggests that the if I didn't do anything wrong, the cop in the field does not "have anything on you."
Well, I already know this and it looks clear the matter will not be escalated. Finally the desk cop says he will find out who the cop was I spoke to...(not to report back to me, but I guess just to maybe enlighten the first cop..although none of this is very clear and I am not certain any of this will be given even a moment's thought once I walk out the door.).
So, having decided to call it a day anyway, I drive home. On the way back I was hoping the first cop might still be in the Howard Beach parking lot so I can inform him of the advice I just got -- although again, I am thinking it might not go over to well..but just to get it over with.
But, alas, there are now no police in the Howard Beach lot.
When I finally returned home, after taking some shots of the harbor, I called and got the name and fax number of the commanding officer of the 100th Pct.
I will post during the week to let you know how my efforts unfold.