[From a distance of 15 feet,] Actor Robert Kabakoff snapped a photo of a woman's bottom as she sunned herself in Central Park...The city settled the lawsuit for $8,000, getting off cheap, I'd say.
[H]er friend saw and admonished him with a wag of her finger.
Before he knew it, the woman was talking to cops and Kabakoff was handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser.
During the next 18 hours, he was charged with "unlawful surveillance," a felony, and spent the night in jail. The charge was later dropped, and Kabakoff sued.
What makes people — even cops — think photography is a crime? It's one thing to manipulate a camera into a position to take a photograph up under a woman's skirt, quite another to respond to a woman who lies down with her skirt hiked up to sun her ass in Central Park.
Finally, credit is due to The Daily News for: "It was a bum rap."
IN THE COMMENTS: Dan from Madison says:
This also happened to me, but at least I didn't get arrested.
About six months ago I took a photo of a car in front of me because the bumper sticker was funny and I wanted to share it with a few people. Little did I know.
Driving the car was an 18 year old woman who had issues with others in her past. She called her parents who the cops and gave them my license plate number.
About two weeks after that I received a visit from an officer asking why I was taking a photo of that vehicle, etc. etc. Eventually I got aggravated and politely asked the officer if I had done anything illegal. He responded "no" and then I (again) politely informed him that the conversation was over.
The not getting arrested part is key. Now, I do think we should be careful about doing things that may scare other people, and I'm sure that if you had thought this young woman might worry that I'm stalking her, you wouldn't have taken the photograph, even if you were certain it wasn't a crime. And I think it was fine for her to photograph you for future reference — in case you turned up again. But it amazes me that the police actually launched an investigation over a report of someone photographing their car. And it's interesting to know that if someone bugs you — you, meaning a woman — in Madison, the police will take you seriously. Perhaps too seriously. It shouldn't be too easy to be able to summon the police to intimidate people you don't like.