BOHEMIA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Stringer News Service cameraman was arrested Friday by Suffolk County police while trying to videotape a police scene.
Cameraman Phil Datz said he went to Bohemia, where suspects were being arrested after a police chase. Datz said as soon as he started filming, he was approached by a 5th Precinct sergeant.
“The sergeant in the video came up to me, screaming at me, telling me I couldn’t film the scene,” Datz told 1010 WINS.
Datz said he was standing on a public street with other pedestrians when the officer walked up to him.
“I tried to be as respectful as I could to the sergeant, asking him where he wanted me to go to film the scene and he basically told me I couldn’t film it anywhere,” Datz said. “There was nowhere that he would allow the incident to be filmed.”
In the video, you can hear the officer telling Datz to “Go away, go away now!” But before Datz can back away, the officer grabs his press badge, which Datz said was visible.
“He says ‘Let me see that’ and he’s grabbing my press pass and at that point, I can’t walk away, but he’s holding it and reading it,” said Datz.
Watch raw video of the incident below:
In the video, when Datz asks the officer why he was yelling at him, the officer said “Because I want you to go away and not stand here and argue with me. Otherwise you’re about to get locked up.”
Datz said he then called police headquarters to speak with the public information office to let them know what was going on at the scene. He then leaves the area, saying he went down to the next block and across another street to film from there.
“The street was open to the public. There were cars driving up and down the street, there were kids walking past the scene,” Datz said. “The sergeant had to get in his vehicle to drive down to me because I was so far away,” Datz explained.
In fact, in the video you can see the officer speeding up in his patrol car to where Datz is standing. As he gets out of the car, Datz can be heard telling the sergeant that’s he’s contacted public information, but before he can finish what he’s saying, the officer tells him to put down the camera.
“And then proceeded to arrest me,” Datz said.
Datz was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, a misdemeanor. He was released a few hours later and was given a desk appearance ticket. He is due in court in September.
According to Newsday, a statement given Saturday by the Suffolk County Police Department said: “The department is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Mr. Datz.”
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