Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reporter cited after photographing arrest

Metro, the San Jose alt-weekly, says that one of its reporters was ticketed by San Jose police after taking pictures of people arrested for fighting outside a downtown nightclub early Sunday morning.

The unidentified reporter snapped a couple of iPhone pictures of a handcuffed arrestee who was being held face down on the pavement by a police officer, Metro reported in its Wednesday edition.
    "An officer on the scene decided that was a little too much of the First Amendment for him and ordered the iPhotographer out of shooting distance. The iPhotographer held up SJPD press credentials and snapped one more photo. The officer cited the photojournalist for California Vehicle Code Section 21956 (b), which is intended to keep pedestrians from wandering out into unsafe traffic. (Traffic was not a problem since the street was closed at the time, since the suspect was lying next to the road striping in the center of First Street.)"
Police Sgt. Mike Sullivan told KLIV 1590 that the officers were dealing with a dynamic situation. He said the person taking the photos was asked several times to get back on the sidewalk, so they cited him for being in violation of the vehicle code by standing in the roadway. Sullivan told KLIV that the department respects the rights of the media and is reviewing the citation.

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