Yet Another Story Of A Guy Arrested For Filming Police
from the when-will-they-learn dept
We’ve had a bunch of stories lately concerning people being arrested for filming or photographing the police while they’re doing their job in public. This is pretty ridiculous, and thankfully courts have started to make it clear that this is a First Amendment violation. Of course, we also just had the story of the city of Boston having to pay $170,000 to one of the people it arrested for filming them. And yet, the message still hasn’t reached the police, who seem to keep on arresting people for pointing a camera in their general direction.
JJ sent over a ridiculous story from Philadelphia where a Temple student was arrested for photographing the police, which he actually did as part of his photojournalism class, where he had a “night-photography” assignment. When he saw the police pull someone over near where he lived, he went over with his camera and started taking pictures. What happened next seems positively ridiculous:
As Van Kuyk tells it, he grabbed his camera and began taking photos of the occurrence. After being told to move away from the scene, Van Kuyk distanced himself but continued to take photos, he said. However, an officer soon after demanded Van Kuyk to stop taking photos, he said.
“He was pushing me, and I kept taking pictures and he didn’t like it, and he…got real aggressive and threw me to the ground,” Van Kuyk said.
When his girlfriend, Meghan Feighan, tried to pick up the camera, she was arrested and held for nearly 18 hours, he said. Van Kuyk was arrested and held for nearly 24 hours.
The National Press Photographers Association sent a letter to the police commissioner decrying this behavior, noting that just a few months ago, the commissioner, Charles Ramsey, had actually sent out a memo to police officers, reminding them that they can be “photographed, videotaped or audibly recorded” when in public.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped the prosecution of these two individuals from moving forward. The girlfriend agreed to “settle” her case, paying $200 and agreeing to 12 hours of community service, for daring to pick up her boyfriend’s camera after he’d been shoved to the ground. However, Van Kuyk is still facing charges — including one potential felony charge for “hindering apprehension.” One hopes that the court here agrees with the appeals court in Boston. Either that, or the prosecutors in Philly learn about the $170,000 Boston just had to pay out…