A video came out of yesterday’s OWS Goldman Sachs protest that raised a lot of eyebrows of NYPD officers preventing New York Times photographer Robert Stolarik from getting shots of arrests in progress. Stolarik told us that his press pass was “clearly visible and [the officer] was very aware,” and noted that the cops’ behavior wasn’t in line with a recent departmental directive from Ray Kelly telling police not to obstruct reporters covering protests. The video:
Joe Pompeo at Capital reports today that NYT lawyer George Freeman sent a strongly-worded email to Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne saying that the paper is “disappointed” with the way their photographer was treated.
Freeman told Capital the “gist” of the email:
We are disappointed that the result and first step of our recent meeting with Com. Kelly, the directive he issued reiterating that the police are not supposed to be interfering with the media’s doing their jobs and covering newsworthy events, has apparently not been followed or implemented on the ground. The World Financial Center video indisputably shows an officer bobbing and weaving for no other purpose than to block a Times freelancer’s ability to photograph police actions.
Paul Browne hasn’t responded to our inquiries nor apparently to Capital’s.
The letter is the latest development in an increasingly tense period in NYPD-press relations. The NYPD’s less-than-ideal handling of members of the media came into focus a month ago at the Zuccoti Park eviction, and since then a number of news organizations have publicly expressed disapproval of the police department’s actions.