FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Put your smartphones and cameras away; taking a picture of Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin or Catherine Zeta-Jones who are in town shooting a movie may land you in jail.
Well, at least that’s what producers of the “Rock of Ages” movie may want you to think.
At the entrance of Fort Lauderdale’s Himmarshee village area, three city blocks have been adorned with yellow “no trespassing” signs warning stargazers and photographers to keep away with their cameras according to a report by the Sun Sentinel.
The signs which read: “Warning. No Trespassing. Photography of this area is prohibited. Violators subjet (sic) to arrest. City Ordinance 16-1,” were set in place after a swarm of paparazzi recently began to occupy the area.
Ironically, the ordinance cited in the signs does not address trespassing or photography. In fact, city officials reported that they could not identify which ordinance governs the situation.
To enforce the “no trespassing” signs off-duty officers with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department along with security guards have been hired
“It’s also a matter of public safety,” said city spokesman Matt Little to the paper.
However, photographers aren’t buying Little’s argument.
The National Press Photographers, based in North Carolina, sent a complaint letter to Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Franklin Adderley earlier this week, questioning the constitutionality of the trespassing signs.
“Photography may not be restricted in a public place to accommodate the whims of Hollywood or the desire by your officers to please their ‘second-job’ employers,” wrote the group’s attorney Mikey H. Osterreicher.
The group also accuses officers of “harassing, intimidating and threatening” photojournalists for merely standing on public property and taking pictures.
Officials have stated that it is okay for people to visit the bars and restaurants in the Himmarshee village area; however, taking pictures is out of the question.
“So you let the public trespass into the area, but taking out a camera is a crime,” said Osterreicher. “That’s amazing.”
As of yet, no one has been arrested or cited for disobeying the no-trespassing signs that were placed by the movie company.
The attorney representing the photographer group said the city is simply making laws up.
Source: The Sun-Sentinel