Tension mounts between NYPD and press as a ‘Times’ photographer is arrested

Robert Stolarik confronts an NYPD officer during a protest last year. ()
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The NYPD seems to have a thing for New York Times freelancer Robert Stolarik.

Stolarik, as you will recall, is the photographer who was obstructed by an officer while covering an Occupy Wall Street demonstration at the World Financial Center back in December.

That officer, as we reported in February, got a reprimand. But that didn't seem to hinder several of his colleagues last night in the Bronx, where Stolarik was documenting the arrest of a teenage girl, from allegedy confiscating Stolarik's camera, dragging him to the ground and leaving him with scrapes and bruises after he was arrested for "obstructing government administration and resisting arrest."

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Here's the NYPD's version of events, from the Times' account of the incident:

The Police Department said in a statement that officers had been trying to disperse the crowd and had given “numerous lawful orders” for both the crowd and Mr. Stolarik to move back, but that he tried to push forward, “inadvertently” striking an officer in the face with his camera.

The police said that Mr. Stolarik then “violently resisted being handcuffed” and that, in the process, a second officer was cut on the hand.A video of the episode taken by one of the reporters who was with Mr. Stolarik shows Mr. Stolarik face down on the sidewalk, beneath a huddle of about six officers.

And here's what a friend of Stolarik's told Gawker:

NYTimes photographer—and my friend—Robert Stolarik had the shit beaten out of him by the NYPD last night while he was on assignment in the Bronx. He's the same photographer who was harassed at the Winter Garden while covering OWS. In the incident last night he was shoved, punched, stomped on, kicked and had his camera confiscated and smashed. Ironically, he was sent to the Bronx to cover the police misuse of Stop and Frisk. This shit has got to stop.

Sidenote: George Freeman, the Times attorney who was among the non-newsroom staff laid off in May, was quoted in the paper of record's item about Stolarik and identified as "a lawyer for The Times."

We wondered whether the letter several dozen Times journalists wrote to publisher Arthur Sulzberger asking him to reconsider Freeman's termination ended up having an effect. A Times spokeswoman said Freeman "had not yet hit his departure date."

In other news...

An analyst predicts that New York Times digital subscribers will outnumber print within a couple of years. [AllThingsD]

Bill Keller on "The Leak Police." [The New York Times]

Magazines' newsstand sales continue to fall. [Adweek]

In other magazine news, Lucky is launching a shopping site. [The New York Times]

"How Cosmo Conquered the World." [The New York Times Magazine]

Fallout from a German interview with Syria's president. [The New York Times]

AOL promises that Patch will be profitable in 2013. [Investor's Business Daily]