Norwalk cops question ‘suspicious’ reporter

I took this photo of King Industries from the Yankee Doodle Bridge Thursday.

NORWALK, Conn. – So now it’s Norwalk Police looking into my activities.

OK, not now. Couple of weeks ago, actually. I’ve gotten over the trauma, and I’m ready to talk about it.

That’s right, I was traumatized – exactly one week after being notified that I was off the hook on my highly publicized heinous “crime,” I looked out the door and saw a Norwalk Police cruiser sitting at the bottom of the porch stairs.

I guess I really am a suspicious character.

So I stood on the porch looking Officer Jared Zwickler in the eye and wondering what the heck they could have gotten on me this time.

“What were you doing at King Industries?” Zwickler asked.

Oh. That? I explained that I hadn’t been at King Industries, I had been at the transfer station. I was coming down the hill of the exit and I saw a windmill and solar collectors together and I thought, “Why not?” Take a photo of them both together – how cool!

Bob Duff had put out a press release in the past day or two, I explained. Isn’t that a good excuse for taking a picture? Even if I did draw suspicious glances?

The press release was about renewable energy. I had been annoyed – I knew I had a photo of a windmill around somewhere, but where was it? So I scraped one off the Internet, which is really below my standards. You know there will be another press release on the topic. NEXT time I will have something really kickass, a Norwalk-centric photo that’s perfect!

So the guys at the King Industries booth had looked at me funny. So what?

I wasn’t on their property …

Anyway, Officer Zwickler asked me a lot of questions and apologized several times because, you know, gotta be careful these days.

I offered to give him my pressure cooker. He grimaced and turned down the offer. I got it about a year ago at Goodwill and I haven’t used it once. It seems to be just useless junk around here, except that, well, if I take it back to the thrift store, how do I know what it will be used for?

Oh well …

What can I say, spent the first %# years of my life with a spotless record (OK, a driving infraction or two). I even have a citizenship award (from eighth grade)! I’ve been here 2½ years, and now I’m a police magnet?


17 responses to “Norwalk cops question ‘suspicious’ reporter”

  1. M. Murray

    I think the state should start a pressure cooker turn-in program where they offer gift cards to toys are us when people turn in their pressure cookers.

  2. Rod Lopez-Fabrega

    Oh, you are BAD, Nancy–and obviously dangerous,too. And also very funny. Thanks for the good laughs.

  3. Rod Lopez-Fabrega

    P.S. This demands an investigation. Could it be the Moccia Administration investigating reporters?

  4. oldtimer

    With all the recent terrible stories about terrorism, nobody dares ignore a report that somebody is showing unusual interest in a chemical plant. The cop probably thought it was funny, after finding out who was taking pictures and why. There is a lot to explain about the Boston terrorists being investigated well before their attack and somebody deciding, incorrectly, they were harmless. There have been numerous “If you see something, say something” campaigns and anybody taking pictures in unusual places will draw attention. We can laugh, but we should probably appreciate even misguided vigilance. You are probably now on some list of people to watch.
    What is the story on the ISLAND BELLE ? I hear Capt Hart is talking about coming back to Norwalk and claiming he has approval from City officials.

  5. Tim T

    We have shootings. killings and stabbing all unsolved by the NPD. However we have the police infringing on a reporter rights while taking a picture from public property.
    When the cop asked Nancy ““What were you doing at King Industries?” She should have asked him what he was doing at Dunkin Donuts and the told him it was none of his business and to move along. Amazing how cops will infringe on a person’s right all while using the excuse of terrorism prevention.
    I wonder since the cop had to get out of his car if that will count towards his 12 minutes per shift of walking the beat.

  6. Suzanne

    I agree with “oldtimer.” We live in a different world since September 11th with numerous threats having been waylaid by vigilant citizenry and police personnel. I would rather be asked by a police person what I was up to taking pictures of a potentially sensitive facility (whether I deem it be or not) than be ignored. Unfortunately, terrorist groups count on that “ignoring” part, operating below the radar. If asking a few questions of a reporter about their picture taking is the price we pay for safety, well then, that is a good and vigilant police department doing their work. (I was told to stop taking pictures of a bank building in Stamford which happens to have a well-designed park in front of it, the object of my photos, for security reasons. They let me take my photos after I showed ID from across the street. It felt a little weird but I wasn’t ungrateful and did not misunderstand. They were protecting their site as was their job.)

  7. LWitherspoon

    How do you think the Norwalk PD knew that it was you?

  8. Mr Norwalk Ct

    Anyone has a right to take pictures from public property. When the police are allowed to infringe on this right that means the terrorists have won. I dare anyone to show me a law to the contrary.

  9. Suzanne

    No one infringed on anyone’s rights. The police asked questions and investigated to ensure safety. Terrorists do not win with such action – they are found out.

  10. Mr Norwalk Ct

    That’s because you have been brainwashed and condition that infringement of your rights is ok under the false idea that it is to keep you safe. Once again when our rights are infringed the terrorists have won.

  11. @Suzanne,
    I thought it was funny but also thought people might like knowing they are guarding the chemical plant …
    I assume the guards in that little booth got the license plate number.
    Really, I was doing nothing! I had a telephoto lens and it wasn’t aimed at their plant, except on impulse (oh, let’s be fair, the entire thing was on impulse) I took a photo of the King Industries sign.
    Notice, you can see the entire thing from the bridge…

  12. Suzanne

    No one has been brainwashed unless “If you see something, say something” is a massive hypnotist phrase to unsuspectingly move countless individuals to unwarranted vigilance. There is no infringement in a policeperson asking an individual questions. No rights limited by being aware that an individual is taking photographs of a sensitive, vulnerable structure. Pictures were taken, questions were asked. No brainwashing. No rights violated. No fear, Mr. Norwalk CT, just an ensuring that individuals in a community be kept safe. Nancy can joke about this but, again, I would rather she go through the process of harmless questioning than not – the above slogan saved many lives in Times Square when a vendor noticed a suspicious van smoking and it turned out to be something truly heinous. Joke about pressure cookers but these are the devices used to injure countless people who are now prosthesis dependent due to blown off limbs. These are the times we live in – harmless questioning may be intimidating but I fail to see any rights being violated by asking them.

  13. Mr Norwalk Ct

    That’s your opinion nothing more nothing less. I see it differently. We have this right to disagree because that right has not been infringed upon yet. However if we listened to your type this will be next. Say what you will but you are wrong as the picture issue is a major infringement of the photographers rights.

  14. Suzanne

    It does not say the photographer was told not to take pictures. I don’t believe any disc or film was confiscated. I was allowed to take pictures, of a public park in front of a private bank, if I stayed on public property. I have also lived on the West side of LA long enough to know that what is perceived as a “photographer’s rights” can be exploited terribly. (Think assault with a photo lens.) All in the name of “the right to know”, or something. Honestly, we do not live in a potentially fascist state and implying this shows a provincialism with assumed freedoms and no experience with what being in a limited freedom country is really like. Rather, I see law enforcement trying to balance freedoms that we cherish with an imminent threat that is here with us to stay. If that bugs photographers, then so be it.

  15. Mr Norwalk Ct

    Maybe you should read a few of these articles to become educated on how our rights are being infringed every day in the name of safety. You are way of base in your mind set. You can write all the long drawn our reasons you like but you are wrong. The police are charged with enforcing laws. Please show me what law was violated that warranted the questing of a photographer. SHOW ME THE LAW..
    Also you say “ I see law enforcement trying to balance freedoms that we cherish with an imminent threat that is here with us to stay”
    Once again you are wrong as it is not law enforcements job to decide what is a balance of our freedoms as that is provided by the constitution.
    Once we allow our rights to be infringed that is the end of this county as we know it. Welcome to the Soviet Union.
    Also this is not even a debate as the constitution is all the proof I need to prove that I am right.


  16. Suzanne

    Mr. Norwalk CT, Good for you! You are right and I am wrong. You have not changed my opinion one iota and I have not changed yours. This is not a dialogue. Rather, it is fear not looking at reality (guess which one you are.) Of course, there will be incidents all across this country that violates peoples’ civil rights – that why there are courts and the legal system. This was not one of them. And if you REALLY want to know (which I doubt) just how lucky we are to live in a country where police care enough to question when a vulnerable and potentially dangerous facility is being photographed, go live somewhere where there is no care taken at all. Or, where the care taken is confiscation of photos and jail time (it exists – you can do your own research.)

  17. spanner

    wow tons of contaminated waste buried by King Industries under Oyster Shell park and they are worried about what?

    Many gallons of waste from King goes into our sewage system each day permission given by the State yet ask whats in it and the State will tell you secret recipe can’t divulge a word.

    Maybe its time to look into the way this company protects our environment.

    Those Clean Harbour trucks are never there for a delivery just a pickup you have to wonder if its safe for trucks to leave King and park right behind beside Stepping Stones releasing fumes from the content unable to flush down the drain.

    If I was OSHA I would like to see the pictures ,the one we are looking at holds at least one voilation.

    Norwalk is full of old secrets just ask Bob Duff he avoids the facts and creates a buffer around anything that would make him work for us the taxpayers.

    It took me while to get back and read whats been going on but this was absurd I encourage all to go and take pictures of King Industries every chance you have.

    The mere fact anyone would come up with a viable excuse on why pictures are bad the last fire channel 12 highlighted all the fire trucks lined up at the door.Yes an old Norwalk firefighter is in charge of King maybe another reason a full safety audit should be done.

    Bear in mind the Feds and the State have enough reason to have a evacuation plan in places to remove thousands of people from the area in case there is a problem whats that tell you about Norwalk and its plan,anyone ever see it?Ever read it? anyone even care?

    Is the place safe? first ask whats inside its compound?Is Stepping Stones safe from any problems including daliy release of chemicals?Who cares they are not my kids not my problem.

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