Charges dropped against photographer

20 06 2008

In another “bully the photographer” case…

A good friend of mine, Tony Overman (a respected and experienced journalists who has testified before Congress on behalf of the profession), was arrested while covering a fire scene recently. Basically, he got into a verbal argument with a police officer. The officer got in his face, their noses touched. The officer accused Tony of assaulting him, pushed him to the ground, arrested him, and twisted his arm. Tony’s wrist was sprained. He was charged with assaulting a police officer- basically for talking back.

Fortunately, Tony knew exactly how to handle this, from years of advocating for other photographers. He has a media lawyer on his speed dial.

The evidence in this case spoke for itself. None of the other police officers or firefighters on the scene saw the alleged assault. The officer also had no reported injuries, despite his claim that Tony hit him in the nose with his forehead.

The charges were dropped yesterday.

I have been thinking about something lately. I have been wondering if there is any other profession where the professionals risk arrest for doing their job every day. I can’t think of one, other than journalist (and maybe drug dealer)

I am relieved that the charges against Tony were dropped, but in general, I am so sad about this reality…

• Story in The Olympian •• NPPA Story •




One response

20 06 2008

Try taking a photo in London using a tripod – you will be questioned by the police or a Community Officer (a type of Toytown policeman).

I got stopped – asked why – told I was contravening the Data Protection Act- asked what section – was given the standard answer “don’t be a “smart-arse” do you want to be arrested?”.

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