Video Tape of Oakland Unified School District Police Chief Art Michel’s Altercation with Photographer
[Warning: Profanity in this article]
The Oakland Tribune has made public today a videotape that was originally seized by Oakland Unified School District Police Chief Art Michel during an altercation that I blogged about yesterday between Michel and Tribune videographer Jane Tyska.
The video is troubling on many levels. I believe that police in our society are given an enormous amount of authority and power over everyday citizens. I believe that with this power and authority ought to come a great degree of prudence and composure when dealing with photographers. Especially in this case, where a photographer was shooting a politically sensitive protest, I think that the police chief in question handled the situation very poorly and ought to be disciplined for his actions based on this video.
Even if a police officer has good reason to detain a photographer (which I seriously doubt in this case) I think that they still ought to deal with the person involved with respect. Unfortunately, on the videotape released, Oakland Unified School District Police Chief Art Michel does anything but interact respectfully with a very upset and shaken Jane Tyska. In my opinion people like Michel do not belong in law enforcement.
Chief Michel repeatedly uses profanity with the photographer when she never used profanity with him. Not only did Michel confiscate Tyska’s videotape (which should only be done in extreme cases if ever in my opinion) he tells Tyska that she is “going to jail,” that she needs to “get in the fucking car,” and that she’s a “pain in the ass.” He also threatens her physically saying that he’s going to stuff her in the car and proceeds to call her a “lying son of a bitch,” and says that she was trying to incite a “riot.”
Photography is not a crime.