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I was about 3 cars back from this when I saw it happen. all cars roll up to the red light, we sit for a few minutes, then the cop gets out of his car and walks up to the car at the head of the lane and proceeded to write him a ticket. the light turns green and he is still scribing away, this was during rush our and im sure it left a messthis is the u-turn patrollthey say there is no ticket quota that HPD officers are held to, but it sure is funny how they come our of the wood works the last week of the month. I see more cops from the lst week of the month through the first week of the next month, then they all disappear for 2 weeks.James
NO front license plate,James
with all due respect to houstonians on this board.
then the cop gets out of his car... James
March 24, 2007, 11:39PMWreck photos put freelancer in hot waterBy JOHN MACCORMACKcopyright 2007 San Antonio Express-news TOOLSEmail Get section feed Print Subscribe NOW WHARTON — As a prize-winning freelance photographer who has shot numerous accidents and fires for the local fire department, Elmer Cavender likes to work close to the action.On Jan. 19, when Cavender's portable radio scanner alerted him to a major accident just east of town, he quickly rolled to the scene in his old gray Buick.But this one would soon prove different from the hundreds of other wrecks and fires that Cavender has covered over the past decade.It would lead to the loss of his film and negatives and a felony charge, making him the reluctant subject of a First Amendment debate.On April 2, his 64th birthday, Cavender is set to go to trial in Wharton County on a charge of misuse of official information. He is accused of selling accident photos taken in the capacity of a volunteer firefighter."I was never a volunteer fireman. They gave me a vest that said, "Fire Photographer," a flashlight and an ID, but I wasn't allowed to ride on any vehicle," Cavender said.Had the victim in the Jan. 19 accident not been a respected local police chief, it's possible that none of the high drama would have followed."It didn't take me long to get there. I had already heard on the scanner it was too late, so I knew there would not be any rescue attempt," recalled Cavender, a former local sheriff's deputy.Law enforcement angerIt was a fatal head-on collision between a police car and a pickup. After snapping a couple of dozen frames of film, Cavender said, he left the scene just as state troopers were pulling in. Ernest Mendoza's death, allegedly caused by a drunk driver who was charged with murder, rather than intoxication manslaughter, left feelings raw among his fellow authorities.On Jan. 21, after his accident photos had run in several area papers and he had shown them to some local police and firefighters, Cavender said he was confronted by a Department of Public Safety sergeant."He started telling me how I've got every law enforcement officer in the county upset," he recalled of Sgt. Dan Terronez."He said, 'I could arrest you right now for interfering with a felony murder investigation and for taking pictures of law enforcement officers on duty without their permission.'""He said, 'We need your pictures and negatives,' " recalled Cavender, who quickly turned over the goods.Contacted in Wharton, Sgt. Terronez declined to comment.Debating 'official capacity'A DPS spokesman in Austin offered only a brief remark. "The photos were surrendered voluntarily," Tom Vinger said. The agency has refused to return the photos to the editor of the Wharton Journal-Spectator, who says they belong to him."I buy the film. I pay for the development. I own the photos," said editor Ron Sanders, who defended Cavender's conduct.The loss of the photos was just the beginning of Cavender's troubles.In early February, he was indicted on a third-degree felony charge after he sold the pictures to the Houston Chronicle and Victoria Advocate.Wharton city officials and Fire Chief Anthony Abbott say Cavender was never a volunteer fireman and that his only role was an honorary one. Since the accident, the department has severed ties with him."He was dismissed because I was getting heat from the DPS and all local law enforcement. They felt he got in the way," said Abbott, who said he was also unhappy that Cavender had displayed the sensitive photos in public.Wharton County District Attorney Josh McCown could not be reached for comment. His assistant, Becky Ivy, said the case is ready to go to trial.But Cavender's lawyer said the case is flawed."If he's not a volunteer fireman, how could he be acting in an official capacity? I don't think any jury would find him to be a public servant," said Richard Manske of El Campo.He said the district attorney has already put out feelers about resolving the case with a misdemeanor plea, but Cavender says he will not plead to anything.Tracking the caseMeanwhile, First Amendment watchdogs and freelance photographers in Texas are incredulous. "It's unbelievable. I've never seen anything quite as bogus in my life," said Joel White, former head of the Freedom of Information Foundation in Austin."He's a journalist. He's not out there as a firefighter. Confiscating his film was blatantly unconstitutional," he said.Cavender, who says he takes pictures as a community service and barely makes ends meet between that and his part-time convenience-store job, has no plans to change."It hasn't slowed me down," he email@example.com
Confiscating film? Happened all the time out here in East Texas when the shuttle Columbia made an unexpected stop out this way. Lots of people, including the local press, had memory cards seized, film exposed, etc. Reporter for the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel had his film confescated while he was standing on a sidewalk taking pictures of the command, control, and recovery center. People that took pics of shuttle debris also had pictures destroyed. Being the kida guy that I am, after I heard about the incident at the command station, why - I drove to San Augustine, pretended to fill up with gas, and shot pictures galore.
We bale out of the vechile and hit the dirt and "assume the position".
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