Jury Clears Photographer Who Refused to Stop Photographing an Arrest

Jury clears former Galveston photographer | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

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.

More from KHOU.com here.

Thanks to Superchou for bringing this story to my attention.

On digg here.

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27 Comments

  1. It’s nice to hear this kind of news. Thanks for posting this, TH.

  2. Raoul says:

    Nice to see justice still prevails at times.

  3. holger says:

    Awesome news!

  4. He should have undeleted the photos from his memory card when he got home.

  5. His last name is Adams, not Evans.

  6. Thomas Hawk says:

    His last name is Adams, not Evans.

    Sheesh. How embarrassing. I definitely have not had enough coffee yet this morning. Thanks for pointing this out Chris, I changed it in the story above.

  7. Greg Tarnoff says:

    Doesn’t the deleting of images from his memory card count as destroying evidence? Shouldn’t there be a prosecution of the officers involved if that is the case and not just a civil trial?
    Or is it only destroying evidence if a crime has been committed?

  8. Mike Panic says:

    Why they didn’t use simple, free camera card recovery software to get back the images deleted by police baffles me.

  9. logic says:

    Although I think what he did does fall under the law’s definition of obstruction of justice. I have to say that some laws are crap and need to be changed.

    @ Marc Novakowski and Mike Panic – I agree it is way to easy to recover deleted images. It’s hard to believe that we still live in a world where we still have the old mindset of deleted items are gone forever.

  10. Thomas Hawk says:

    Doesn’t the deleting of images from his memory card count as destroying evidence? Shouldn’t there be a prosecution of the officers involved if that is the case and not just a civil trial?
    Or is it only destroying evidence if a crime has been committed?

    Greg, I’d think so yes. But in this case it seemed like the DA was more interested in the alleged crime of the photographer and not the cops.

    Why they didn’t use simple, free camera card recovery software to get back the images deleted by police baffles me.

    Mike, my guess is that Adams didn’t think of this until it was too late. It’s a good reminder though that people should keep in mind. If photos are ever deleted, don’t keep using that card. Immediately use recovery software and you very likely can get those images back.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Any who has watched the ENTIRE Rodney King video should be amazed the cops didn’t shoot him. I think the Officers involved should extraordinary restraint in not shooting him.

  12. TranceMist says:

    Good News.

    I too would like to see some punative damages on the police. Otherwise they have no incentive not to do this again.

  13. kristofer says:

    This is great news really.. I’m actually leery of taking photographs in public because of the state of things today, and the police in my local area are very abusive, there has been many documented cases of abuse by our local police but yet nothing is ever done…

  14. Alejo says:

    I’ve been accused of being pedantic before so I understand if you hate me for saying this, but Rodney King would probably agree with me that he wasn’t half beaten. He was fully beaten, but only half to death.

  15. Appleswitch says:

    An Eye-fi would have been handy here ;)

  16. Anonymous says:

    There is no reason not to sue for the value of the deleted photographs. The police destroyed personal property and have clear liability. The photos deleted could, and I would argue, would have been worth millions of dollars. In fact, although unlikely, the police could be charged with melicous destruction of property. The photographs become the copyright of the person who took them and have real irreplacable value which was destroyed. Naturally we live in a bull shit bush whacked world where the police can do what they like with virtual impunity, and no one will ever be charged. A jury could however make them pay.

  17. Tony says:

    Great article, I would love to see the missing shots. Police are unde rappreciated, but this is why most folks don’t like em much

  18. Cybasumo says:

    lucky people getting $2m just like that! and yeah you’re right with attitude like that of some policemen, im sure they will never get the people’s sympathy or whatever you call it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    What does……..when their suit brought forward racist and pornographic emails on his computer……mean?
    Found, posted, put there? Brought forward is a totally meaningless expressionin this context I believe.
    Jules

  20. Anonymous says:

    Justice has not yet fully prevailed. The man was prosecuted when the crime was committed by the police. It is an outrage that the police deleted photographs from his camera. For that they should be prosecuted for tampering with evidence. The prosecutor should be drummed out of office for sheer stupidity/corruption in taking this to trial. It is unfortunate that we will have wait for the civil suit to render some semblance of justice now given the complicity of the local prosecutors in this malfeasance.

  21. urothane says:

    Doesn’t the deleting of images from his memory card count as destroying evidence? Shouldn’t there be a prosecution of the officers involved if that is the case and nut just a civil trial?
    Or is it only destroying evidence if a crime has been committed?

  22. Anonymous says:

    I always seem to look at these things with a jaundiced eye. It would have been interesting to see if the ‘deleted’ pictures were deleted by the police, or the photographer. If by the police, then shame on them. If by the photographer (as many of us do while shooting, to save card space), then he had a very slick attorney who used the missing pictures as a defense. I do wish someone had brought back the pictures.

  23. Anonymous says:

    As it was posted … ” It would have been interesting to see if the ‘deleted’ pictures were deleted by the police, or the photographer.” Yes – so it would come down to he said / she said kinda thing. What the photographs showed could help in determining who did the deleting (blurry crud vs cops beating someone over the head as examples). At this point in time it might be hard to take to court and win depending on the card, because if the photos were recovered then where is the damages and if not you can’t say who did the deleting – a real “catch 22″.

  24. Anonymous says:

    http://www.sportsshooter.com/nickadams

    “When I got my cameras back from the police, the two photos that followed were deleted. We ran recovery programs, however, when they shot 12 photos in the police sub-station they over-written the deleted data. Making image recovery impossible.”

    I know Nick, they sent the card to sandisk for recoverly but they were unable to recover the photos.

    Also, Nick doesn’t delete as he shoots, if you look at that night of photos, there is not one missing file other then the two of the arrest.

  25. […] year old IN THE HEAD because she ran away from a cop when her Mom wanted them to talk with her. – Arresting and beating people for taking photographs of public servants (uniformed police) or landscapes, […]

  26. Thanks for the facts!