The case of New York photojournalist Phil Datz has taken a bizarre twist, with police on Long Island now saying they will work with prosecutors in an attempt to have charges dropped. Datz is the photog who was arrested Friday as he attempted to shoot video at the scene of a police investigation following a police chase. Datz, a stringer for an agency that sells video to commercial television stations, captured the confrontation with an angry Suffolk County Police officer on camera as he demanded that Datz “go away.” Datz ultimately moved a block away, only to be arrested–he insisted afterwards that he’d done absolutely nothing wrong, noting that he was shooting video from an area outside the police scene. “The street was open to the public. There were cars driving up and down the street, there were kids walking past the scene,” Datz told New York radio station WINS
Datz was charged with obstruction of governmental administration and released, but pressure from the Press Club of Long Island–and plenty of media coverage of the arrest and video–apparently convinced police it was best to drop the matter, reports the Long Island Press:
Commissioner Richard Dormer said in a statement Monday that there is an internal review of the incident and all officers will undergo media relations refresher training. The announcement came about an hour after the Press Club of Long Island, a local trade group, called for the charges to be dropped.
“I am working with the Suffolk County District Attorney to have the arrest nullified,” Dormer said. “The police department believes in keeping an open line of communication with the media and we will be reviewing the department’s policy concerning involvement with the news media.”
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