ACLU welcomes MTA's response on photography
The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland welcomed the decision of the Maryland Transit Administration to disavow efforts of some of its transit police to prevent photographers from taking pictures of its facilities and the agency's vow to promulgate policies emphasizing the rights of photographers.
ACLU staff attorney David Rocah said Wednesday he was still waiting to speak with MTA officials about the decision by Administrator Ralign T. Wells but he said he was pleased by Wells' comments to The Sun in response to a letter he had sent the agency Tuesday threatening to sue over incidents in which MTA police sought to stop photographers from taking pictures of light rail trains.
"I'm gratfied and pleased by Mr. Wells' concern and appreciate his clear statements that what happened shouldn't have happened and that they would take effective steps" to prevent a recurrence.
Rocah said the ACLU will still have to see how the MTA follows up before it can consider the matter resolved.
"Statements of policy don't mean anything unless officers and employees know what the policy is and follow it," he said.
Rocah said the ACLU looks forward to the opportunity to sit down with the MTA and work out details of a policy statement that would pass constitutional muster.
"The goal is not filing a lawsuit," he said. "The goal has always been to ensure that the MTA police, like all public officials, act within the limits of their authority and respect citizens' constitutional rights."