Police Intimidation Watch: NYPD Arrests Times Freelancer (Update)
A freelance photographer on assignment for The New York Times was arrested in the Bronx on Saturday night, after police got angry at him for refusing to stop taking pictures of another arrest, the Times has reported.
Photographer Robert Stolarik was accompanying two reporters who were conducting street interviews when they came upon a street confrontation. A police officer at the scene reportedly told Stolarik to stop taking pictures. He identified himself as a journalist for The New York Times, and continued taking pictures. A second police officer came along and “slammed” Stolarik’s camera in to his face, according to the Times story. When the photographer asked police for their badge numbers, they took his cameras, dragged him to the ground, and arrested him.
According to a police report cited by the Times, police said they had ordered the crowd and Stolarik to move back “numerous” times, and that Stolarik “violently resisted being handcuffed.”
Stolarik received scrapes and bruises during his arrest, but was otherwise uninjured, according to the Times. He was released after several hours. A court appearance is pending.
A lawyer for the Times said, “This is an incident where it seemed the photographer was doing his job taking photographs, and the police overacted and attempted to intimidate him and block him, leading to his arrest.”
Update: In an interview with New York Magazine, Stolarik says he’s out $20,000 in gear and materials, and that the NYPD’s claims that he hit a police officer with his camera is untrue. Trade associations and a journalism organization have taken up his cause. Read more here.