Baltimore Police Still Haven’t Learned to Respect Rights of Photographers

By Carlos Miller

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from Photography is Not a Crime: PINAC.

Still not having finalized the $250,000 settlement for deleting a man’s images from his phone, the Baltimore Police Department continues to harass and intimidate photographers, including a photojournalist from the Baltimore Sun last month who was trying to photograph the aftermath of an officer-involved shooting.

Obviously, they would rather not let the image of a man shot by police make it into the newspaper.

But they once again opened themselves up to liability by shoving photo editor Chris Assaf away from the crime scene tape, where he had every right to be, while allowing countless other citizens who were merely watching to remain behind the tape as evidenced in the last sentence of this story.

However, another Sun photographer, Lloyd Fox, managed to photograph the bullying, posting the images on their news site, revealing a fascinating sequence of photos showing Assaf and the cop coming to a head-to-head standstill in the middle of the street.

Very impressive effort from Assaf. I wonder if he switched any of his cameras to video mode to capture the verbal exchange.

According to the Baltimore Sun:

While photographing outside the police tape — which marked the established perimeter — an officer told him he would have to move across the street. Assaf protested, stating he was outside the established perimeter of the crime scene and he had every right to photograph from where he was standing.

While asking for the officer’s name, a second police officer grabbed Assaf and began pushing him across the street. Assaf on numerous occasions requested that the officer release him, saying that his rights were being violated. Baltimore Sun photographer Lloyd Fox witnessed and documented the scene. Baltimore Police said they are investigating the allegations.

If this were an isolated incident caused by one overzealous police officer, it might be possible to look past it. But, as I wrote in the 2012 blog post, there seems to be a misconception among some police officers and others in authority that they can stop not only the press but anyone taking pictures or recording police activity at a crime scene.

The good news is that a mainstream media publication is willing to admit this was not “an isolated incident,” which is generally the attitude they take when one of their photographers gets harassed in order to not ruin their professional relationship with the cops.

But relationships work both ways. If one side disrespects the other, the …read more

Source: Donkeyrock_BlurBlog

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