Shawn Nee says he was detained by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) while working in Hollywood on June 2, 2013.
Nee was standing on a sidewalk 90 feet away from LAPD officers who were answering a domestic disturbance call.
The award-winning photographer was wearing three body cameras, which recorded the LAPD's actions.
In a video (below), Nee is asked by the LAPD who is and who he works for, but responds by asking if he is being detained. One officer sarcastically asks Nee if he wants to be detained, notes Reason.com.
When Nee is taken into custody, he asks repeatedly why he is being detained, and a LAPD officer answers: "For interviewing... interfering with a police investigation."
A cop identified as "Officer Vidal" tells Nee: "When it interferes with the job of police then it becomes a problem. At that point, you no longer have that freedom to go ahead and take your pictures."
None of the police officers explained how Nee's picture taking actually interfered with their job.
Nee was reportedly transported to a LAPD police station, where police officers questioned him, but Nee chose to remain silent until a lawyer was present.
The photographer was released after 90 minutes and not charged with interfering with police, even though officers claimed repeatedly Nee had interfered.
Andy Neiman, of the Media Relations Section at the LAPD, told Reason.com: "If their physical proximity to the investigating officers becomes interfering where an officer has to stop what they're doing to admonish that individual that they're too close or could you stand back because they are distracting from the officer's business, then that's where it becomes an issue."
Neiman did not explain why Nee was repeatedly accused of interfering with police work, but never actually charged with this crime.