Local Media Photographer has Camera Confiscated by State Police

This just in. Our own Hur Herald editor, Bob Weaver, while taking pictures of the unused Annamoriah Armory building for a news story regarding a bomb threat earlier that had State Police on the scene, was approached and his camera confiscated by  Trooper DOUG STARCHER of the Calhoun County Detachment. The trooper alleged that it is illegal for a Federal Building to be photographed.

A search for any law or rule in West Virginia or elsewhere stating that it is illegal for media personnel to photograph federal buildings proved fruitless. In fact, the only thing that I COULD find was something that said law enforcement should be VIGILANT if they see someone photographing such buildings. But that also assumes the officer does not actually KNOW the photographer on a FIRST NAME BASIS.

For people unfamiliar with the ongoing problem, this particular officer knows the photographer personally and knows fully well that he is not a “terrorist”, but a NEWS REPORTER. There are personal disagreements between Weaver and Starcher which have nothing to do with “law enforcement” but everything to do with corruption, with Weaver tirelessly reporting on the poor situation within the local State Police Department.

This particular officer has caused problems for Calhoun County media before when he arrested Weaver for photographing an accident scene. At that time, Starcher alleged that Weaver was taking pictures of a dead woman’s exposed breasts. It was later determined that the story as told by Starcher was a complete fabrication and the charges were dismissed.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. http://hurherald.com/cgi-bin/db_scripts/articles?Action=user_view&db=articles_hurherald&id=35361

    BOMB THREAT CALLED TO BIG BEND ARMORY – Emergency Services Respond, Cpl. Starcher Confiscates Hur Herald Camera

    (07/15/2009)
    A bomb threat was reportedly phoned to the US Army Reserve Armory at Big Bend, west of Grantsville, today about 11 a.m.

    Local emergency services responded to the incident, including Cpl. Doug Starcher of the WV State Police and Chief Deputy Carl Ballengee.

    The Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the incident.

    Officials indicated other agencies have been called to investigate the incident, with the scene being cleared in about two hours.

    While photographing the bomb scare activity from public right-of-way, Cpl. Doug Starcher of the WV State Police, advised Editor Bob Weaver that federal buildings cannot be photographed.

    When Weaver photographed Cpl. Starcher and other personnel at the highway entrance to the armor, Starcher wrestled the camera from Weaver and confiscated it.

    The Herald maintains no violation of law happened, further maintaining that the taking of a camera by a police officer or any individual is a criminal act.

    The Herald, after seeking legal counsel, is asking law enforcement to file charges against Cpl. Starcher.

    “The last time I checked, if some one wrestles personal property from your hands and takes it, it is a crime,” said Weaver.

    The Herald maintains Cpl. Starcher’s action is not only petty, but follows a consistent pattern of harassment with the violation of civil and constitutional rights and the public information statues of West Virginia.

    “We do not live in a police controlled state, where law officers are allowed to make-up or violate the laws they have sworn to protect,” said Weaver.

  2. Just plain Horse Pucky on the part of Trooper Doug P. Starcher.

    Hey CalPatty get over here and give Trooper Starcher some of them there Calpatties!!

  3. I wonder how he would like it if someone from say, the NSA were to pull some of the same BS on him? Just saying…

  4. i would love it if there were links to facebook,myspace, and such where i could spread the word. am i missing it somewhere?


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