Police Intimidation Watch: Photog Agrees to Community Service for Trespassing on a Public Street

A freelance photographer arrested last fall while covering police action at the Occupy protest in Richmond, Virginia has reportedly agreed to complete 50 hours of community service in exchange for having prosecutors drop trespassing charges against him.

Photographer Ian Graham was arrested while covering the removal of protesters by police last October 31, according to a report by Style Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Richmond. Police had ordered media to stay in a designated area, but Graham left the area to take pictures “after finding his view obstructed,” Style Weekly reports.

He was charged with trespassing, and was facing up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine when he made the deal with prosecutors.

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10 Responses to “Police Intimidation Watch: Photog Agrees to Community Service for Trespassing on a Public Street”

  1. Sean J Connolly Says:

    This is appaulling, being arrested and charged with trespass on a public street. Seems to be to be the wrong charge for this occassion when nothing illegal was done.

  2. AV Says:

    Since when is taking pics on a public street trespassing? These cops abuse their power and alter the law when it suits them. Their efforts to suppress the Occupy Movement and freelance photographers are acts of cowardness.

  3. Matthew L Kees Says:

    The real tragedy is the judge supported it. There is no justice if the judges side with the criminals (i.e. the police).

  4. Thomas Doggett Says:

    I am both a police officer and photographer and see this type of post upsetting photogs a lot. 

    I have been on both sides and was recently tossed out of a public park for not having the $200 day permit.

    I’ve worked many demonstrations including several when Dennis Hastert was Speaker of the House.

    Please keep in mind the the Officers on the street DO NOT pick the press corrals or make the policies. Those are made by committees made up of elected councilman, trustees, mayors, etc…

    Like any other job the Police follow the orders of the board (city council).  If photo associations want to see changes than make your voices heard where it matters and vote accordingly….

  5. Melo Says:

    Thomas… I appreciate your points, however, the Police do have an opportunity to use judgement properly in the moment. The Police should not be thoughtless drones that simply follow orders. There is law, then there is sense. Good sense should always win out.

  6. Francis Smith Says:

    If a law is immoral it is our duty to disobey it.

  7. Tobias W. Says:

    Thomas, carrying a badge means you have greater responsibility than to just follow orders. NAZI police and military were also following orders. US soldiers in Vietnam killing civilians including women and children were also just following orders. It’s just so convenient to lean back and cite the orders. The police could have just asked the photographer to move back behind the line instead of arresting him right away. After all, police is NOT serving the leadership, it’s serving the people. At least that’s how it should be.

  8. Hero Says:

    “If the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are SLAVES to those who make such laws and ENFORCE them.” –Candidus in the Boston Gazette, 1772

  9. dbltapp Says:

    Isn’t the aclu supposed to get involved in cases like this?

  10. brt Says:

    It’s a shame the photographer didn’t fight it with help from the ACLU. Bad laws don’t change if you don’t challenge them.