Thank you for your response and the opportunity to further assist you.
It is true that openly recording would likely be protected by the First Amendment, and that is why I stated that it would be illegal to surreptitiously record a conversation - meaning without consent or knowledge of the other party or parties to the conversation, which is what it seemed that you were thinking of doing. It is also true that the police could have handled this situation better. They didn't need to intimidate or threaten you with the watch list. It appears that it was the police and not you who were in the wrong in this situation. You may want to file a complaint with the superior officer or police chief about the conduct of the officers. You can certainly return and take all the photographs you need and want and should not be at risk of arrest, as you have every right to do so. The Digital Media Law Project http://www.dmlp.org/ assists journalists and others navigate the law on information gathering including recording, photographs and video-taping and offers legal resources and advice. I wish you well. Please let me know if you need any further information.
Thanks again. I am planning to go to the police station and file a complaint. I will ask for a complaint form and likely send it by mail, in writing, with a some strategic carbon copies. I plan to mention "harassment, malicious threats, and violation of 1st amendment rights" with regard to being stopped, detained, being told to delete the images, and that I would be on a terrorist watch list. Even though the officers were "polite", the threat was serious and of a broadly and materially damaging nature, if the threat is followed through with (and even if it's not followed through with, considering I'm not sure if I even have the right or ability to know whether they follow through with the threat--I'm just left here wondering if a lifetime of being red-flagged and denied my rights is to follow this incident).
From what I understand I basically have no recourse against the Feds if I end up on the list, other than asking for a review of my status, which could result in a dead end. I wonder if I have any recourse against the local police officials for landing me on there in the first place. I imagine there is little precedence at this point.
I am going to ask for the officers names, and for a copy of the police procedures manual so I can review it for specific violations to reference.
I am also considering obtaining a permit to protest or demonstrate on the public sidewalk where the incident occurred. I figure this will serve the purpose of proactively allowing my presence and reduce the chance I am arrested or harassed by company officials when I revisit the scene (at least I'll have a piece of paper). It will also let them know that I am serious about my rights and serve as a public demonstration and protest of this incident.
I wonder if anything I mention raises any red flags, or prompts any commentary from you. Thank you for your assistance so far.
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