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News Cut Category Archive: Police

Authorities in mirror may be closer than they appear

Posted at 12:51 PM on August 28, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)
Filed under: Photography, Police


This is what Michael Shapiro saw Tuesday afternoon after a trip through St. Paul with his camera. He says he'd been taking pictures along Robert Street, on the north end of downtown, when he apparently caught the attention of the unmarked car you see in his rear view mirror above. That car and another squad pulled him over near University and Marion, by the looks of the old Saxon Ford building in the background.

"They wanted to know what I was taking pictures of, why I was taking pictures of it, Shaprio said. "They said, 'Didn't I know that the RNC was coming?' and then said I took a picture of our headquarters."

Technically, its the Fire Department's headquarters these days, up near Robert and 10th Street. The police moved across the freeway years ago. But it seems the historic Public Safety building in St. Paul might still be worthy of some vigilance.

Shapiro, a photographer who says he moved to St. Paul last spring, says its the third time in six weeks that he's been stopped for taking pictures in downtown St. Paul. He says he's been IDed at least twice.

He took a picture of a St. Paul Hotel ad in a skyway near the First Bank building. He also took a picture of a garbage can outside what turned out to be the front door of the Republican convention offices in Lowertown, although Shapiro apparently didn't know that at the time. (They're unmarked and mostly undisclosed.)

St. Paul police spokesman Pete Panos said last week that there are no restrictions on photography in downtown St. Paul. I asked today if the situation has changed, but they seem a little, well, preoccupied.

I'll update if they get back to me.

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