A freelance photographer for The New York Times was arrested on Saturday night while on assignment with two reporters who were conducting street interviews in the Bronx.
The photographer, Robert Stolarik, 43, who has worked regularly for The Times for more than a decade, was charged with obstructing government administration and with resisting arrest. He was taking photographs of a brewing street fight at McClellan Street and Sheridan Avenue in the Concourse neighborhood.
Mr. Stolarik was taking photographs of the arrest of a teenage girl about 10:30 p.m., when a police officer instructed him to stop doing so. Mr. Stolarik said he identified himself as a journalist for The Times and continued taking pictures. A second officer appeared, grabbed his camera and “slammed” it into his face, he said.
Mr. Stolarik said he asked for the officers’ badge numbers, and the officers then took his cameras and dragged him to the ground; he said that he was kicked in the back and that he received scrapes and bruises to his arms, legs and face.
The Police Department said in a statement that officers had been trying to disperse the crowd and had given “numerous lawful orders” for both the crowd and Mr. Stolarik to move back, but that he tried to push forward, “inadvertently” striking an officer in the face with his camera.
The police said that Mr. Stolarik then “violently resisted being handcuffed” and that, in the process, a second officer was cut on the hand.A video of the episode taken by one of the reporters who was with Mr. Stolarik shows Mr. Stolarik face down on the sidewalk, beneath a huddle of about six officers.
Mr. Stolarik was taken to the 44th Precinct station and was released at 4:40 a.m. On Sunday, he checked himself into NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center for X-rays. Later, he said he had no broken bones or internal bleeding.
George Freeman, a lawyer for The Times, said the episode was “especially distressing” because the newspaper had been working with the Police Department since the Occupy Wall Street protests last fall, in which some journalists were denied access to certain areas or were arrested, to find ways to prevent the police from interfering with journalists in the course of their work.
“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,” Mr. Freeman said. A court appearance for Mr. Stolarik is scheduled for November.
Source: The NY TImes