I was looking through some news stories and came across this story from WCBS (CBS 2) in Newark, New Jersey (WCBS is out of New York City). Watch the video and I’ll have some analysis below:
Whoa! The most disturbing part of that was the police officer’s comment, “I can do whatever I want” in response to the reporter, Christine Sloan, saying, “You can’t arrest him.” (I don’t have the officer’s name – if somebody could find it, that’d be awesome!)
After arresting the photographer, Jim Quodomine, the officer even threatened Sloan, saying, “[This is] none of your business. Stay away or you’ll be sitting in the car.”
Latrice Smith, a witness of the incident, told WCBS, “He went to put the camera down. Before he had the opportunity to [do so], the police officer came and knocked it down. … [The officer] just started grabbing him, putting handcuffs on him, grabbed him by the neck. It was out of control for no reason.”
Another witness told WCBS, “I couldn’t believe how they grabbed him.”
Kudos to Councilwoman Mildred Crump for standing up for justice here. The officer CLEARLY violated the the photographer’s First Amendment rights. Hopefully the investigation goes through as Crump has demanded and the officer is fired. I’m a Law and Order Conservative. I can’t stand criminals and I love police officers, but this guy clearly overstepped his bounds. The cameraman was on public property, and thus had a right to videotape whatever he wanted (which is ALSO why it’s legal for the government to videotape YOU in public – it’s not invading your privacy – you’re out in public – just wanted to bring that up really quick).
This cop needs to be fired.
I’m honestly surprised that he still pressed charges against Quodonine for disorderly conduct. I’m pretty sure that Quodonine will have those charges dismissed by the magisstrate (and if not, he’ll win an appeal). If I were him, I would be outraged.