An experienced photojournalist was arrested while covering a protest over the chokehold death of Jordan Neely in New York City.
Dramatic footage of Stephanie Keith being led away in handcuffs by the NYPD was shared widely to Twitter with one video showing Chief of Patrol John Chell, one of the highest-ranking members of the NYPD, shouting “Lock her up.”
Chell later said in a news conference that “the reporter interfered in at least two arrests in the middle of the street” and later interfered a third time.
However, videos on social media appear to show Keith stepping out into the street so she could get a better angle of what was happening, and was not interfering with arrests.
Taking to Instagram, Keith says that she couldn’t believe that she was arrested, “I was flabbergasted,” she writes.
“In the last slide you can see I was standing apart from where there were arrests and I was with Adam Gray and Andrew Kelly. For some reason, they chose me from that situation,” Keith, who was later released, says.
She also posted a photo showing painful bruises on her wrists from where she was handcuffed by the NYPD.
AP reports that Keith is a freelance photographer who carries out assignments for Getty Images and The New York Times.
In an email to PetaPixel, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) says that the organization fully supports Keith who was doing nothing more than her job as a visual journalist.
“We find it exceedingly troubling that a high-ranking member of the NYPD chose to disregard her First Amendment right to cover a matter of great public concern by ordering her arrest,” says Mickey Osterreicher.
“As in almost every similar case of the unconstitutional arrest of a journalist we expect that the unsupportable charges will be dismissed by the district attorney.”
What Was Stephanie Keith Photographing When She was Arrested?
Keith was attending protests that have been sparked from the death of Jordan Neely on May 1. 30-year-old Neely died on a train at the Broadway-Lafayette station in Manhattan after the Black homeless man was allegedly threatening passengers and was put into a chokehold by a fellow subway rider named Daniel Penny.
Protestors have been climbing onto the tracks of the subway and on Monday Keith was one of 11 arrests that police officials said were mainly for disorderly conduct.
Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey says that a Molotov cocktail was found on the ground among the protesters.
Image credits: All photos by Adam Gray.