On Thursday, July 11, the Detroit Police arrested a Detroit Free Press photographer and seized her cellphone while she was filming an arrest on a public street. She was held for about 7 hours and no charges against her have been leveled. Internal affairs officers are reviewing the incident. However, as Free Press officials confirmed:
Paul Anger, editor and publisher of the Free Press, said the situation should not have escalated as it did.
“First, our photographer was doing what any journalist — or any citizen — has a right to do in a public place,” he said. “All she knew was that someone had grabbed her and her phone. We understand the difficult job that police officers do, and we understand how tensions can rise. Yet some of the police actions all through this incident need scrutiny — not the actions of our photographer.”
Hershel Fink, Free Press legal counsel, said courts in the U.S. have consistently agreed that “citizens, much less the press, have a right to photograph police officers in public places. The video shows she did not interfere with the police action and the officer had no right to order her to stop filming and to confiscate her camera.”
- Detroit Free Press photographer arrested for videotaping police (mlive.com)
- Detroit police investigate arrest of Free Press photojournalist (jimromenesko.com)
- Detroit police arrest news photographer, lock her up with suspect (alethonews.wordpress.com)