This picture of an ATM put a vegan anarchist in jail

Enjoy this picture of the inside of an ATM—Shane Becker was arrested at a Seattle REI for snapping it, after the two bank agents who were filling it freaked out and called the cops. Becker is the sort of guy who would have the banner of his site be a picture of him in a bandana like a sort of hard bikin', REI-shoppin' anarchist, but we can at least agree that getting arrested for taking a picture in a store is bullshit.
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39 Responses to This picture of an ATM put a vegan anarchist in jail

  1. dculberson says:

    He was not charged with a crime, but he was taken to the police station and put in a jail cell against his will. Only an attorney or cop would make the distinction between that and “being arrested.”

    I would have just shown my ID, but also know that it’s not against the law (in most jurisdictions) for him to refuse, so he should not have been detained for refusing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Actually, I dont think it is bullshit he was arrested. What kind of dumbass takes a picture of that without figuring it might get him into trouble. It doesnt matter if he was a vegan capitalist, or a meat-eating capitalist. This guy had been arrested before, and it is against the law in the state of Washington to take pictures of ATM’s. He broke the law. End of story.

  3. strider_mt2k says:

    Guy takes pic of ATM while open, gets in trouble.

    I don’t get the vegan anarchist angle, unless it’s just to stir up the hard core Boingers that come here.

    It DID stir up some commenting activity however.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ve got to wonder how the picture made it out to the interwebs… If the guy was arrested over the picture you’d think they’d want to delete it off his camera before he could post it… Quite obviously some really top secret government stuff contained in that there picture… Certainly nothing you could find with a simple google search

  5. Rickyneck says:

    Guy takes pic of ATM while open, It is really illegal. Government should takes strong action against these guys.
    A common people have also responsibility of law and nation. Breaking of law in the pursuit of justice and the security of the people is not acceptable.

  6. Rickyneck says:

    Guy takes pic of ATM while open, It is really illegal. Government should takes strong action against these guys.
    A common people have also responsibility of law and nation. Breaking of law in the pursuit of justice and the security of the people is not acceptable.

  7. Droogy says:

    So far I’ve seen several commenters assert there this was a violation of “the law” but I have yet to see anyone post the actual law.

    it scares me that so many people seem willing to participate in their own oppression.

  8. jitrobug says:

    I really wanna know what he was arrested for.

  9. editjunk says:

    So, as usual, the nazis speak out & claim thay have common sense & anyone else is stupid. “Can you really not see that taking pictures of the inside of ATM’s is suspicious behavior?”. What an assertion. Can YOU not see that seeing “suspicious behavior” everywhere is a self censoring, auto-cop response to the world? To some, behavior you probably regard as non suspicious, like, say, buying stuff with a credit card, is highly suspicious.

    It’s just a matter of perspective, & obviously the vegan anarchist’s perspective was just too different from ‘everyone else’s’ to be tolerated.


  10. jitrobug says:

    There’s a law against taking pictures of ATMs? citation please..?

  11. Jake0748 says:

    @ Chevan #8 – I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about your statement above. In what world does everyone assume that any statement made by anyone is going to be accurate?

    Especially when it involves something as ridiculous as a law specifically prohibiting taking photographs of an ATM.

  12. Jake0748 says:

    There SHOULD be a law against anonymous commenters posting bullshit statements with no citations.

  13. Ahoj says:

    It sounds like people have been asking cops the laws and are being told that it is illegal to take photos of some things.
    As my Con Law prof told the whole 500 person lecture his first lesson as an ADA was cops always lie.
    if you want to know a law, ask a laywer or look it up yourself.

  14. BritSwedeGuy says:

    If you can eye it, you can lens it.

  15. hungryjoe says:

    I was all set to be skeptical about this whole thing. After all, a vegan anarchist shopping at REI and taking iPhone pictures? Then I RTFA. And sure enough, this vegan anarchist with an iPhone was shopping at REI for an expensive bike rack for his car, which is probably a Volkswagen. But that chain of disappointments aside, I am totally on his side. I would have taken the same picture for the same reason.

    The real crime here is having an inquisitive line. The moment we become more than a conduit for the transfer of cash and credit is the moment the system’s wrathful eye turns on us.

    Do you think this guy canceled his special order for the bike rack?

  16. Yo says:

    If we lived in a true anarchist society they would/could have beaten the snot out of him on spot. Careful what you wish for.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure what he was arrested for, REI is certainly within their rights to say that he isn’t welcome on their property, to leave and not come back. ex post facto they seem to have done that. But until they tell him to leave there is certainly implied permission to be there during business hours.

    And REI is a member cooperative. Is he a member? Certainly a member would seem to have an even greater implied permission to be there.

  18. uxbboy says:

    Hipster “anarchist” uses an i-phone. Thus he gives money to AT&T, the original warrantless wiretappers.

    Ironical innit?

  19. Cpt. Tim says:

    #20: No. not end of story. There are reasonable expectations of privacy in some circumstances. You can eye a breast feeding mother, and i’d love to see you test out your ethos on that one.

  20. Powerphail says:

    Pretty ridiculous considering that the companies who make the ATM machines themselves have photos of the guts of the machines they sell anyway.

  21. M says:

    Well, there’s the law and then there are the things that are tasteless or undesirable, which is a whole different, and unrelated, issue. Some people here seem to want the cops to ignore the law and enforce their version of good taste. They’re not in the majority here, yet, fortunately.

  22. gawe says:

    I stopped carrying photo ID about ten years ago, when I no longer had a car. Kind of hard to produce something you don’t have with you…

  23. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    Did he have his “bad boy” bandana on and his “smash the state” tee on? Still he’ll get load o blog traffic.

  24. dmac says:

    This whole, “taking pictures of public places; taking pictures of cops, is illegal,” Bull@*%& is OUT OF CONTROL! This could really be the end of free society as we know it. A few years ago in Houston the Ibarra (sp) brothers were harrassed and arrested for videotaping a drug bust in the house next door to them. Thankfully the jury saw the situation correctly and awarded them $15 million. A couple of years ago a good friend of mine was arrested (on his own property!) for photographing a police officer in his car (on my friend’s property!). He is currently in Federal Civil Rights court fighting that case. A link to his story follows… these cops are out of control!

  25. igpajo says:

    Anonymous #12, I wonder if he had an Eye-Fi card set to mail his pictures whenever he snaps them. Perhaps REI had some free WiFi going and his picture uploaded seconds after he took it.

  26. Dani4a says:

    As a photojournalist, I’m all for photographing without regrets. I always have to laugh when people get pissed about photos being taken of them in public because they expect “privacy.” However, a store is private property. Laws state that you really can’t take photos on private property without permission (express or implied). Yeah, it was stupid that he was arrested for it, but it’s perfectly within the law.

  27. lightbender says:

    Sigh… what is it with all these photo-nazis? Seriously, can’t they just politely say “Please, no photographs” and carry on with their job? I can see getting upset if he continues after the warning but really, anyone with actual nefarious reasons is going to probably make sure they aren’t seen in the first place.

    But let’s face it – it’s not really about the photos so much as rent-a-cop machismo. I’ll not even get started on actual police or government agents.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Oh Waah! Oppression! Waaah!! ACAB! Smash the evil oppressive government!

  29. dculberson says:

    A privately owned business that is open to the general public, like an REI store is, is considered a public place. It is legal to photograph in a public place. The owners can ask you to leave, but you are not breaking the law unless they do so and you refuse to leave.

    You can take pictures of almost everything you can see. There are certain places, like specific areas in military installations or nuclear facilities, where photography is legally restricted. Generally that isn’t the portion visible to the public, though.


    Note that security guards at an ATM are not listed as restricted. If anyone asserts otherwise, they should provide a reference. I found nothing in the Washington Revised Code about restrictions on photography at all.

  30. Chevan says:

    It SHOULD be common practice to assume that other people are competent and capable of making accurate statements without having to cite every assertion they make.

  31. Anonymous says:

    As the saying goes, if you don’t think you live in a police state, the next time a police officer asks for your ID, refuse and see what happens.

  32. lumberjack says:

    First he wasn’t arrested. He says so on his blog. He was detained because he aroused the suspicions of the guards servicing the ATM machine.

    With all the talk of card skimmers on ATM machines lately, how many of you are really bewildered that the guards would find this suspicious? Come on, use your imagination… can you really not see that taking pictures of the inside of ATM’s is suspicious behavior?

    How about if he had been measuring the front of the machine and making a diagram? Certainly there is no law against that.

    After that, all he had to do was explain himself. Instead he chose option B – give everyone a hard time and refuse all cooperation. So he got investigated. Not arrested. Investigated. Thank God he survived the self-inflicted ordeal.

  33. Nelson.C says:

    It should be, Chevan, and would that we lived in a world where that was so. But this is the internet, where anyone can post anything without regard for accuracy, and they often do. Fortunately, this is the internet, where placing a citing link is as easy as clicking a mouse and tapping a keyboard.

  34. seric says:

    Regardless of any laws that may, or may not exist in Washington state. I find REI’s loss prevention department being involved in this type of treatment of a customer unacceptable. Does anyone know if my REI warranty will still apply to my past purchases if I cancel my account?

    I hope the photographer of this case returns every item he ever bought. I also question rather or not they can deny him entry to their store if he does want to return any items. Since with each purchase the store is going into a contract with the customer based on the outlines of the membership they paid for. This contract specifically allows them to return their items of unsatisfied. If he can’t go into the store to return his items than they are not holding up their side of the contract they sold him.

  35. Chris Tucker says:

    “Kiss the shiny shiny boots of leather” is a Lou Reed song, not the de facto/de jure response to law enforcement, rent a cops, or the hired help refilling an ATM.

  36. RN7676 says:

    I wonder if REI has a security camera monitoring this ATM area? Did they have to get explicit permission from Bank of America and the armored car company and the local PD to use that security camera? BOA has enough lawyers. I’guess that their ATM retail agreement has numerous clauses regarding the retailers security cameras.
    … Oh wait, I know. It probably has a motion sensor that turns the camera off when anyone gets near the ATM.

  37. cephi says:

    pretty lame what those omnivorous republicans did to the guy.

  38. bobechs says:

    Hell’s bells. They obviously had guns to hand; the photo iself shows them.

    Why didn’t they just shoot him, then and there? What are guns *for*, anyway, if they can’t be used to punish lawbreakers??

  39. Grimnir says:

    I am really sick of people defending cops and security guards in situations where they overstep their bounds.

    If you are serving the public in a law enforcement capacity, you have a sworn responsibility to uphold the law. Breaking the law in the pursuit of justice and the security of the people is not acceptable. And if you have the sort of lack of accountability so common to proto-fascist states like the post-9/11 English-speaking world, you as an officer have an even greater responsibility to uphold the law in your daily course of duty. And when you fail in that, when you abuse the power you have been given, you abdicate the responsibility that you willingly accepted.

    Abuse of power is not only a grave injustice against an individual– it is a grave insult to every principle this nation was founded on, principles that have continuously served to inspire people around the world to move haltingly towards freedom since our nation’s inception.

    In practice, it not only serves to transform responsible servants of law and order into vicious, untrustworthy armed thugs– it dangerously and severely undermines the fundamental legitimacy of our entire system of government. Abuse of power endangers all Americans, and cannot be accepted by any American if we are to retain our freedoms, freedom which I truly believe to be the heart of the American ideal. Abuse of power crushes that freedom, it abolishes it to the greater glory of the State, as with the fascists of Germany and Italy and Spain, as with the communists of China and the USSR. It is a very real act of Treason, grossly un-American behavior of the very worst kind. Moreover, it must be universally condemned and punished both promptly and severely if we are to have any hope for a brighter tomorrow.

    I cannot hold any respect for any person who supports the sort of egregious failure of law and legitimate government we have been subjected to recently. Such a person is not fit to lick the boots of his growing legion of oppressors.

    Also, fuck them. Bunch of assholes, the lot of them.

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