Jury Clears Photographer Who Refused to Stop Photographing an Arrest
I was pleased today to see an article about photographer Nick Adams being cleared by a Galveston jury of misdemeanor charges of interfering with police while photographing an arrest at a Mardi Gras celebration in 2007.
While I’m amazed that any prosecutor would actually take this kind of a case to trial (in this case prosecutor April Powers), I’m pleased that a jury had the common sense to dismiss the charges.
In this case Galveston police charged that Adams had entered their roped off perimeter in order to get his shots which resulted in the arrest and charges.
Conveniently, and not surprising to me, police deleted some of Adam’s photos while they had him in custody which would have proved he was outside the perimeter established by the police. According to Adams’ defense attorney, the digital index from his camera showed that these photos were deleted.
Personally I’d like to see these cops punished for deleting someone’s digital camera photos while he was in custody and for arresting him in the first place.
Police brutality is a fact of life. While I believe the overwhelming majority of cops are good cops and have many friends and family who are cops, history has shown that there are still plenty of bad apples out there.
In a world where Rodney King can be half beaten to death by police officers, our right to be able to document police activity is a fundamental protection against police brutality.
When cops, who are trusted with extraordinary powers of authority, try to silence photographers this is a terrible affront on a free press and a free society.
I hope at minimum that Adams files a civil suit against the Galveston Police Department and that they end up paying monetarily for the bad behavior of the officers in question. Police need to be sent a message that they cannot abuse photographers and get away with it.
Last month two brothers who sued Harris County were awarded almost $2 million after they were wrongfully arrested for videotaping a drug raid on a neighbors home. Their case also resulted in the resignation of former Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal when their suit brought forward racist and pornographic emails on his computer.