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.”

What do you think? Sound off below in our comments section…

Comments (38)
  1. Kevin McCabe says:

    Suffolk police are out of control and most people in suffork county dont Cair.

  2. DaveNYUSA says:

    It is FAR BEYOND time to start holding cops accountable for what they usually are, that being criminals.

  3. Common Sense on LI says:

    Hmmm… So, in the middle of effecting an arrest, Sergeant Miltie decides to LEAVE the arrest… TWICE… and, the second time, SPEEDS to where the reporter is recording, A BLOCK AWAY! That is NOT “obstruction of governmental administration”… that is DERILICTION OF DUTY on Sergeant Miltie’s part!

    It’s lunkheads like Sergeant Miltie who reflect badly on police officers. Of course, he’s in 30 years and HAS NOT BEEN PROMOTED BEYOND SERGEANT… Small wonder! The Peter Principle is alive and well!

  4. Frank says:

    This cop needs to taking off the street now before he hurts somebody. There is reason they don’t want to be film so they break the law without being cought.

    1. Sgt. Milton says we have no rights says:

      Sgt. Milton was just upset because today was his turn to beat the suspect.You cant blame him when it is finally your turn to beat someone and there is some law abiding guy from the press. It has got to be so frustrating.

  5. John Doe says:

    Why is every media outlet omitting the name of this officer? He is Sgt. Milton of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Fifth Squad (SCPD 5th Precinct). His name should return this incident in Google searches forever more.

  6. bill fahrbach says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen it is calld INTIMIDATION…. period

  7. Norman says:

    This sort of behavior has become regular practice in many parts of the country and there has been coverage of it…

    It’s plainly unconstitutional. There is no expectation of privacy for police officers carying out their duties in public. These cases hardly ever go to trial because the charges won’t hold up in court, and the cases that do progress to court are almost always dismissed.

    The insidious part is that officers who do this know very well that the public can legally take video but they can still get rid of whomever is annoying them by citing “obstruction of governmental administration” or some other nonsense, and the charges will be dropped and nothing more will come of it.

    With the advent of camera phones there needs to be a federal law specifically protecting the people’s right to record video in public, and it must include the recording of the police in the course of their duties.

  8. Marc says:


  9. Joe Ricco says:

    This guy needs to be gone from the force, WITHOUT his 09% retirement package!!

  10. Lieutenantdan says:

    it appears that police have become very aggressive and as not as nice as they one appeared to be.
    I noticed that police officers in Long Island and NYC as well are looking like they work out with weights 24/7. I started to think that even if a person could work out 24/7 I doubt that they could get as built up. Makes me wonder.

  11. Stan R says:

    We are no worse than the police states that everyone used to complain about. The policeman should be charged with violating the constitutional rights of the free press.

  12. TomNJ says:

    Give a moron a gun and badge and this is what you get. A stupid bully who thinks he can he away with anything. Maybe he acts that way because he cant perform in bed or something. What a loser.

  13. NO ONE ABOVE THE LAW! says:

    Where do cops in general think the money comes from originally to pay their salary? That is no way to act towards a member of the press, The camera man had a job to do for the public interest at large just like that cop did, except the cops pay comes directly from all tax payers salaries and that camera mans pay is from a privately owned for-profit company!

    What ever happened to the first amendment? No one should be above the law not even cops!
    What this country is coming to is unbelievable that this is what we’ve come to.

  14. Linda says:

    Cops and fireman have been given unbelievable powers thanks to Homeland Security and they know it.

    1. Shamrock says:

      What do firemen have to do with anything in this story? Moreover, what powers do you think they have that could be abusive? Moronic statement!

  15. mj says:

    hes just lucky the police didn’t shoot him . thats how they do it around here … shott first , ask questions later. the police are out of control.

  16. Steve Leboy says:

    Thats our tax dollars at work from what I see $120,000 a year does not get you much these days. Wait till they take the expressway again they paid the new county exec S>B> $47,000 for it.

    1. mjd says:

      Sadly, SGT Milton earned $151,047.00 last year (as per NYS employee salary public records.) Suffolk county will probably settle for 2x that amount just to make the false arrest lawsuit go away. GOOD GOING ON WASTING THE COUNTY TXPAYERS MONEY SGT MILTON — JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO YOUR JOB OR THE MEANING OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT!

  17. kendra says:

    you this police officers are getting on my nerves more and more everyday of the week they think they own us and all the guy was just filmilng and mining his own business what has gotten into them these dayz all cause they carry a little raggedy badge and a gun there not god and can never be god…and please by all means report that police officer cause that is not right what he is doing at all.

  18. Bob says:

    The chrome dome is an arrogant Nazi type. After “doing this for 30 years: it’s no surprise that he acts this way. Assign him to a job where he has no public contact.

    1. Marc says:

      He is not an officer. An officer is a PUBLIC SERVANT who is here to protect and serve….These actions are none of the above. He should be fired, end of story.

  19. badman says:

    this officer is in a wee bit of trouble!! If he doesn’t get some sort of administrative punishment, this cameraman should sue Suffolk county.

  20. Scott says:

    This is more of a simple man, working for the publice, in a police uniform, acting and believing that HE is above the law and answers to no one. Since he addmitted that he has been doing this for 30 years, he should be fired.

  21. Flynn says:

    Such behavior has no place in law enforcement.

  22. Frank says:

    Well, the Sgt. has 30 years of service. Seems like that’s about all the time he will rack up, if justice has anything to do with it

    He’s the law. That’s it. What he says goes.

    It doesn’t seem the photographer was beyond any crime scene tape. And other members of the public were present.

    What happened to the right to free speech and presss? Well seems like it doesn’t extend out to Suffolk County.

  23. teetotaler says:

    Every reporter should have a hidden camera.

  24. jen says:

    What was the arrest for? No info on what the actual situation was – maybe there was an underage person involved that they wouldn’t want taped. This is Bohemia Long Island, not some crazy area from The Shield. I’m sure there’s a reason for the cop’s insistence – why doesn’t that info come out?

    1. DD says:

      Yeah, I’ll tell you the reason, a little power has gone to his head. The reporter was breaking no laws, and being respectful. Makes me think the cops were doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing. Maybe they were beating up the guys they were chasing like with Rodney King.

    2. DD says:

      Jen, yeah, I’ll tell you what the reason was, a little power gone to his head. The reporter was breaking no laws and was out of the way and respectful of the scene. Makes me think maybe the cops didn’t want anyone to see what they were doing, like beating up the guys they had to chase, like with Rodney King!


    typical fascist response from the nazi ss, i mean the police
    cops in this country have WAY to much power

  26. Lawn-Guy Land says:

    “Datz was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, a misdemeanor. ”

    How does filming “interfere” with anything? I’m thinking that cop just wanted another arrest for his quota.

  27. tito says:

    There is a pervasive arrogance of police officers which range from how they deal with the public to how they do what the hell they please when they’re off duty, knowing stuff will be covered up – I’m talking about DWI, bar brawls etc. I know from personal experience.

  28. FRANK L SOUCIE says:


  29. Onslow says:

    Another example of strongarm law enforcement tactics.

    This incident was very simply about 1) law enforcement does NOT like to be filmed at all, and 2) law enforcement NEVER wants to be questioned.

    Law enforcement has been given far too much power in this country – they NEED to be filmed in order to be kept in check.

  30. sawnetbean says:

    I hate it when cops become little dictators.

    1. Tommy says:

      I hate cops, period.

  31. steve says:

    cop has been on the force too long!

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