Video Evidence Gets Two Separate Photographers Off The Hook

Two photographers from opposite ends of the country found themselves in similar situations over the past few weeks. Although the charges leveled against each were different, both photogs were ultimately exonerated after video evidence was presented on their behalf. Amateur photographer Joshua Garland from Seattle and photojournalist Alexander Arbuckle from New York were charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct, respectively. After YouTube and Ustream videos by others in the area were presented as evidence, however, charges against Mr. Garland were dropped and Mr. Arbuckle was acquitted.

The charges themselves aren’t disconcerting, but what is disconcerting is the fact that, at least in the Arbuckle case, video evidence seems to prove that the police weren’t only mistaken, but lied under oath in an attempt to make their charges against the photographer stick. And although it’s unclear what, if any, consequences the arresting officers in either case will face, many are hoping that the officers are charged with perjury. Until something changes though, especially when you’re dealing with protest photography, stay in sight of a video camera or two — you never know when that footage might come in handy.

(via PopPhoto and Boing Boing)

Image credit: OccupySeattle01May2012 (182) by Dan Morrill

  • Swedgin

    Not only should they be charged with perjury, they should lose their jobs.  If their testimony is proven unreliable, showing that they lied under oath or on reports undermines their ability to serve the public as police.   You can’t take anything they say on any case as being the truth without evidence to back them up.

  • Tam Nguyen Photography

    Always glad to see our tax dollars at work…

  • Deal Spam

    @Swedgin Completely agree… Dishonorable discharge & no pensions. Police should be the examples to follow. 

  • Alan Kurtz

    Your headline is only half right. Charges against Mr. Garland were dropped. But Mr. Arbuckle was acquitted after a trial. Legally those are two very different outcomes.

  • Coyote Red

    PetaPixel, be careful with what you parrot from other sites. 

    It looks like in both cases being a photographer was not considered during the arrest.

    As a police officer myself, I want to have a certain amount of personal space–especially in a confrontational situation.  You don’t even have to watch carefully to a see a masked subject with a heavy object in his hand approach the officer in a menacing manner.  The officer first attempts to push the masked subject back.  That subject then bats the officer’s hand away…

    I can tell you there are only a few places where an officer wouldn’t do the same thing as these officers in taking him.

    Dont’ even think about telling me that it’s obvious that he’s a photographer and all photographers should get a break.  Why?  Because if I were up to no good and want to get within striking distance I’d dust off an old Canon AE-1, throw some film in it and call myself a photographer.  Then when I get the opportunity I’d use it like a brick or swing it by the neck strap.  If I broke it, who cares?

    As for the other gentleman, Mr. Arbuckle, we don’t see anything that points to officers arresting him for being a photographer.  In fact, in the shown video that photographer was escorted out of the arrest area and shortly thereafter shows a lady from the AP who showed her credentials and the police released her.  Kind of tells me that if you’re media you’re LESS likely to be arrested.  What happened here we don’t really know.  I haven’t seen further more detailed information.  It kind of sounds like he was simply swept up the general melee of what ever the police were doing.

    agree wholeheartedly with Sewdjin–you lie just once on the stand and
    you’re done.  Our chief will fire you with no second chances.  Period.

    Also, I’ve long ago stopped visiting BoingBoing.  Some of the crowd that visits, and even some of the staff, are rabidly anti-police.  You really have to take what they say with a grain of salt and do your own investigation on the subject matter.  Really sad as I liked their other articles.

  • DL Cade

    You’re absolutely right, thanks for pointing that out :) We’ve gone ahead and changed that.

  • DL Cade

    @CoyoteRed thank you for your concern and I apologize if the post came off biased. I assure you that in the future we will try to do our best to be neutral and present the facts as they are. I have several police officer friends myself and have nothing but respect for what you guys have to deal with, especially in protest scenarios. 

  • PLD

    Most of these “photographers” at these occupy protests are just straight hipster protesters with DSLRS. Its been documented many times these protesters egging on and or straight up assaulting the police in order to get a response and then selectively editing video or show photos that offer only their side of the story. I would not trust any of those protesters.

  • Joepublic

    This is real simple. For EVERYONE’s sake, riot police should have their helmets equipped with GoPro cams. Video it, know its being video’d, evidence will prove itself.

  • BillStewart2012

    Disconcerting?  I suppose so, the first time or two that you see police blatantly lie on the witness stand, and the judge not question them on it; after that you pretty much just expect it.  For me that was back in the days that we used actual film in our cameras, and surprisingly it got exposed to light in the months the camera was hanging around in the evidence room. 

  • SargentManuela

    my co-worker’s sister got paid $21912 the previous week. she gets paid on the internet and got a $416800 house. All she did was get fortunate and put into action the steps given on this link===>> ⇛⇛⇛⇛►

  • Thomas winberry

    Well, it would seem that these events are at the epicenter of several issues that are currently redefining what life in America will be like in the 21st century. Corporations use money and influence to get laws  custom crafted to fit their objectives, and then try to get outlawed any activity that would bring these biases to light. (ref: Photos of cattle in feed lots shot from public space in several states) The Patriot act has had a serious and insidious effect on the personal freedoms of American citizens, and will most likely be re-thought and re-sahped in the coming years, however when cities and states can simply post signs stating no photography allowed (George Washington Bridge, NYC) there seems to be a serious conflict with the original intent of the founding fathers. After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, shouldn’t they be proctected under the free speech clauses of the constitution?

  • Jude I⚡caяiot

    Hopefully the lying cops are sued.