Virginia Police Force BBC Reporters To Delete Camera Footage Of Police Pursuit Of Shooter
from the hello-first-amendment dept
The story of this morning’s live “on air” shooting of a local TV news reporter in Virginia is horrifying on many, many levels. Like with many senseless killings, there are all sorts of “big questions” being raised, most of which aren’t really appropriate Techdirt fodder, though I’m sure those of you interested in those things can find other outlets for them. However, one tangential story fits right into Techdirt’s core areas of focus: apparently two BBC reporters who were covering the police pursuit of the apparent shooter (who then shot himself) were forced by police to delete their own camera footage. This is illegal. I don’t know how many times it needs to be repeated. Even the DOJ has somewhat forcefully reminded police that they have no right to stop anyone from photographing or videotaping things, so long as they’re not interfering with an investigation. And yet…
Two BBC reporters covering the police pursuit of Vester Lee Flanagan said that cops threatened to seize their car and camera if they didn’t delete footage of site where the Flanagan shot himself. “Was too far away to get any good footage. One officer threatened to tow my car and take my camera,” reporter Franz Strasser tweeted. “Watched me delete my one file, and let me go. Other officer apologized and said we have to understand.” His colleague, Tara McKelvey, filmed the encounter.
It appears that the cops used the same bullshit excuse we’ve seen them use in the past: that it’s “evidence.”
Officer Clark says: "that could be evidence and seized." He was telling us about our camera. The suspect is reported dead.
— Tara McKelvey (@Tara_Mckelvey) August 26, 2015
But why they are then okay with deleting 'evidence' makes one question their reasoning.
— Franz Strasser (@franzstrasser) August 26, 2015
Filed Under: bryce williams, deleting video, filming police, first amendment, franz strasser, free speech, police, reporting, shooting, tara mckelvey, tv, vester lee flanigan, virginia
Companies: bbc, wbdj