Rakesh Sharma was filming cars emerge from under Manhattan's Metlife building in 2005 when he was stopped, questioned, allegedly shoved, and then detained by the NYPD for shooting footage of the building. The cops were suspicious of Sharma's motives but, after four hours, the director was released and told that he would need a permit if he wanted to do any further shooting.

When Sharma applied for a permit, however, his application was denied because he lacked the proper insurance. Now, represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the director (who has won multiple awards for his documentaries) has filed suit against the city's "police restrictions on taking pictures in public." Among those named in the suit are the city itself and the commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting. Though none of the above agencies can comment on ongoing litigation, it was confirmed by WNYC this morning that filming permits are actually only required  in NYC if the shoot will obstruct car or pedestrian traffic; Sharma was reportedly standing on the sidewalk with a handheld camera.

Needless to say, the results of this suit will have broad implications, political and otherwise. We'll be keeping an eye on it and will report back as things shake out.
categories Movies, Cinematical