Student arrested while photographing cop removing homeless woman from park takes suit to trial

A college student arrested as he photographed a Philadelphia police encounter with a homeless woman has taken his lawsuit against police to trial.

Jurors must decide who started the 2011 confrontation in tony Rittenhouse Square and whether Officer George Gaspar Jr. had cause to handcuff Coulter Loeb and charge him with disorderly conduct.

Assistant City Solicitor John Coyle describes the former photojournalism student from Cincinnati in opening statements Wednesday as "a meddlesome 24-year-old" from a privileged background and the officer as "a Philly guy" who never went to college.

The American Civil Liberties Union represents Loeb and argues that Philadelphia police routinely harass people trying to photograph them.

City officials say Loeb was interfering with Gaspar's work as he tried to remove an overnight camper from the upscale neighborhood park.