Photog Sues Police After Unlawful Arrest Leads to Loss of White House Credentials

When photographer Mannie Garcia — known best, perhaps, for his iconic photograph of President Obama — was arrested for disorderly conduct while recording Maryland police officers performing an arrest, he didn’t realize that it would mean the loss of his White House credentials. And although he was eventually acquitted and given back his camera (with the memory card missing), the damage had already been done and Garcia is looking to hold someone accountable.

To that end, he has filed a lawsuit agains Chief of Police Thomas Manger, and Officers Chris Malouf, Kevin Baxter and Michael Graves. Garcia claims that he identified himself as a member of the press several times but the officers did not take well to the fact that he continued to film them, which lead to his alleged battery and false arrest.

Garcia is seeking somewhere in the vicinity of $500,000 in compensatory and punitive damages over both the loss of his press pass and the alleged physical and emotional harm done him by the officers who, as of yet, have not been disciplined by Montgomery County.

(via Pixiq via Courthouse News)

Image credit: 2010 11 16 – 1399 – Washington DC – White House by thisisbossi

  • Ed

    Stories like this remind me of my encounter videotaping the Chicago police years back. You can see the result at

  • Keith S

    Why would they arrest him if they had nothing to hide? Seems to me if they were doing everything by the book, they would welcome the documentation as proof against a claim from the subject they arrested. As long as he didn’t get in the way of the officers doing their job he was within his rights to take the photos in a public place of a public action. Just my thoughts.

  • Shell63

    Maybe the day is coming soon when seizing the camera and memory card won’t be enough, as the images have already been uploaded to an anonymous servers somewhere.

  • wayne myers

    I am above the law

  • Greg McKay

    Hopefully he gets every penny. This has got to stop!

  • Ricky Nyhoff

    agreed. Think of all the revenu he will lose because he doesn’t have access to the White House anymore. Not only jobs he would lose inside the WH but subsequent jobs he would lose because his name isn’t associated with the WH anymore. 

  • Vincent

    Surprise, surprise. Cops acting like fascists with very little consequence.

  • Jeff Willey

    Yet another incident in a long stream of cases where cops wrongly believe that they can’t be filmed… As this becomes more common, I wonder why they haven’t realized that folks still have a 1st Amendment right to photography in public spaces?

  • Guest

    does that depend on the state, or does the first amendment hold precedence when recording police? I’ve heard of people getting arrested for taking cellphone videos of police, so I really don’t know where the law stands.

    I was present when the SWAT team came to my campus because some kids took over a building (for public education, not shenanigans or graffiti).  I didn’t bring my camera with me (thankfully) but I remember the cops practically smashing student’s cameras. oh, and smashing students. All my four years as an undergrad, I’ve witnessed cops abuse their power with unnecesssary brutality and blatant violations of the laws they supposedly uphold.

  • RMurdoch

    At least citizens of the USA can be glad they live in a country where, when (alleged) shameful abuses like this occur, they can raise a stink about it, try to shame the guilty, and maybe get some redress. The important thing is to keep raising a stink about it.

  • Jeff Willey

    The 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution supercedes state law – That being said there are various interpretations and states have tried to impose other laws (like wiretapping) and the notion of a right to privacy (not a right guaranteed by the Constitution) to justify these actions.

    The reality is that you can take a picture of anyone in a public place – with or without consent.  A lot of people (cops and private citizens), for whatever reason, wrongly believe that they have to grant permission for their picture to be taken.

  • Aaron David Cole

    Not that I shoot much editorial any more but the thought did cross my mind about having one card slot loaded with an eye-fi card that would communicate .jpg basic photos to my cell for uploading to a secured site.

    At least the photos would be safe if such an event occurred.

    It’s sad that photographers even need to contemplate stuff like this. It’s not Mom and Dad’s USA anymore.

  • Hubman

    What I don’t understand is if he was acquitted (if he was in fact actually tried or if charges were just dropped), why does he still not have White House access? Is the secret service or whomever that restrictive about who has access, that even in a case like this privileges are revoked?

  • Adam

    I hope he wins. Half a mill will make those pigs think twice next time. 

  • junyo

    The money will be paid by the insurance policy the PD carries and any increased premiums passed along to the municipality’s tax payers. This won’t even affect the police’s doughnut budget. So no, it won’t make them think twice.

  • Pablo

    I remember a case in one of the eastern states where a motorist videotaped his stop by state troopers and the court barred the taping in his subsequent defense because of some state law.  Don’t know whether the decision was appealed/upheld/overturned or what.

  • HeathHenry

    my roomate’s mom got paid $ 14828 past week. she is making an incom e on the internet and bought a $481700 house. All she did was get fortunate and put into use the guide exposed on this web site 

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  • Belinus

     That is a copout (no pun intended) thing to say. If you actually have read this blog, you would know that there are stories from all over the country posted her about how photographers have been getting harassed for doing their jobs. In some states photojournalists with proper credentials (obviously this guy was because he passed a White House security check) can actually cross police tape except in certain circumstances.

    He was doing his job and the police more than likely did not want an outside record of their activities. The right to film the police in public during the course of their duty is protected by the first amendment and even supported by the Justice Department.

  • Good Guy

    It is NOT a First Amendment “right.” It is a protection guaranteed by the First Amendment and those stinkin’ donut eaters must protect the photog rather than harass the man. Remember Coffee and Donut Boys that oath you took?
    Now start abiding by it!