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Cops hold reporter for 6.5 hours for filming arrest on street

It may be troubling for Michigan readers to hear that a photojournalist was recently arrested and held for hours for recording footage of undercover police officers arresting somebody on the street. Police later released the journalist and admitted that she had not broken any laws, but not before interrogating her and keeping her in custody for six and a half hours.

The woman subject to this treatment is a photographer for the Detroit Free Press. She and a reporter were on the street for a video training session when they witnessed several men and one woman escorting a man to a police car. The officers wore black shirts and bulletproof vests, some of which had "POLICE" written on it.

The photographer took out her smartphone and began filming the scene. In the video, an officer confronts her while they search the suspect. The photographer, who was wearing press credentials, told the officer that she is a journalist but the officer says "I don't care who you are." The camera suddenly points toward the ground as the officer wrestles the phone away before arresting the woman.

It is not clear what law the officer claimed the reporter was breaking. Though police often do not like being filmed in public, it is legal to do so.

The woman was taken to a police station and interrogated in the same room as the arrested man. They asked for her name and address and held her for six and a half hours before releasing her without charging her.

When questioned by Free Press editors, a Detroit deputy police chief apologized for the officer's conduct and admitted that the photographer had done nothing wrong. He said the incident would be investigated.

Abuse of police power is a concern whenever it occurs in Michigan. Even when an arrest is based on dubious allegations, the arrested person may still face hours of detention and could be charged based on the officer's version of events.

Source: Lansing State Journal, "Watch: Detroit Free Press photographer arrested while recording an arrest," July 16, 2013

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