Published August 10, 2011
Criminal charges have been formally dropped against a New York news cameraman arrested at a crime scene last month.
Suffolk County prosecutors cleared freelance videographer Phil Datz of an obstruction charge Tuesday.
Datz was arrested at the scene of a police pursuit and arrest in Bohemia, N.Y., on July 29. A sergeant told him he wasn't allowed to be there and later arrested him after he moved further away and resumed shooting. The video encounter has been posted on the Internet.
The New York Civil Liberties Union, which represented Datz, says it is seeking a meeting with police brass to ensure all people have the right to photograph and videotape in public.
Police Commissioner Richard Dormer has said that all officers would receive refresher training on dealing with the media.
Datz, a credentialed member of the press who works for Stringer News Service, got out his camera and started to film the crime scene on New York's Long Island before a police sergeant said he wasn't allowed to be there.
Datz moved away, only to resume shooting. He was then handcuffed and his video was taken "for evidence," MyFoxNY.com reported. Datz was then taken into custody and later released with an order to appear for arraignment on an obstruction of governmental administration charge, according to the station. The video of the arrest, which was returned to him, was later posted on YouTube.
In a statement posted to its website last week, Stringer News Service said, "We realize the national attention this arrest has gotten and as a very small company realize the responsibility we have to the journalism world to see this incident through to the end."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.