In video, confrontation between a ‘Times’ photographer and the NYPD at Occupy Wall Street protest downtown
It still seems like not all New York Police Department officers got that memo from their boss a few weeks ago warning them not to interfere with members of the media during police actions such as those that have been ongoing as a result of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
In this video, police are shown getting physical with and intentionally blocking the shots of a credentialed photojournalist covering today's demonstration at the World Financial Center.
A New York Times spokesperson confirmed for Capital that the journalist in the footage is Robert Stolarik, who was on assignment for the Times today. (You can see some of his latst photos on the City Room blog.)
We're awaiting further comment from the Times, who led the charge several weeks ago in drafting a letter to NYPD deputy commissioner Paul Browne on Nov. 21 that took his force to task for arresting and allegedly roughing up journalists who were covering earlier Occupy actions.
The letter resulted in a meeting between a handful of news outlets and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who subsequently circulated an internal message that stated: "Supervisors may restrict access to an incident scene only in those exceptional circumstances where it is absolutely necessary for law enforcement or public order purposes."
Since then, as we've reported here, there have been numerous incidents that seemed to violate those orders, including the barring of three reporters from covering a protest outside a Dec. 1 Obama fundraiser, and a Daily News photographer having his credentials pulled while covering a fire on Thanksgiving.
Stolarik's confrontation with police earlier today is the latest instance in a string of events that have strained police-press relations, which began to deteriorate as early as last summer, before Occupy Wall Street had even entered the picture.
Stolarik did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nor did Browne when we sent him a link to the footage. But we'll update here if either of them gets back to us.
UPDATE: Stolarik told The Village Voice that his press pass "was clearly visible and [the officer] was very aware. That guy clearly didn't follow the departmental directive from Kelly."
UPDATE 2: Eileen Murphy, New York Times Co. vice president of corporate communications, tells Gothamist that they are "disappointed that it seems, in this instance," Kelly's directive to the police was not "followed or implemented on the ground."