Friday, November 21, 2008

Nope, they definitely didn't get the memo

Mike Anzaldi, the Chicago photographer who was arrested for filming a crime scene from across the street, and who is accusing the Chicago Police Department of evidence tampering because they deleted the still images from his confiscated cameras, has been arrested again for filming in public:

"'They charged me with the exact same thing,' Anzaldi says. 'They know how it works. If you get charged with the same crime twice - especially in this case I hadn’t even gone to court on the first one - you can’t [be released]. They lock you up and you stay until you see a judge.'"

Keep in mind - Anzaldi possesses police press credentials, although they weren't needed in either of these incidents, since he filmed at the first location while standing on private property (with the owner's permission) that wasn't a part of the crime scene, and the second location wasn't a crime scene at all, but a case of a person bringing a toy gun into a homeless shelter, and Anzaldi was again filming on public property. Any private citizen would have been perfectly justified legally in taking pictures from those locations, much less a professional crime photographer.

Curiously, Monique Bond, the Chicago Police spokesman whom Anzaldi states ordered his arrest in the first incident, (and ironically whose job it is to communicate with the press) hasn't responded to interview requests from either the blogger covering this story or the Chicago Tribune, which by the way has finally been embarrassed into covering the story, which is more than a little strange given the fact that they regularly use Anzaldi's material. You'd think a newspaper would have been a little more proactive in going after a government agency who is actively stifling one of their own contributors. Maybe it's because he's just a stringer and not an actual employee. Freelancers being easily replaced, and all that.

The Chicago cops who are playing these intimidation games with an accredited member of the press should be immediately suspended and investigated for violating Anzaldi's First and Fourth Amendment rights.

Stop laughing, it could happen.

Yeah, you're right, who am I kidding. This is King Emperor Mayor-for-Life Richard Daley's fiefdom we're talking about, after all, where official corruption is endemic and part of the civic fabric.

"'I’m an expert in photography and photographer’s rights,” Anzaldi says. 'It’s my job. I know what I can and can’t do. [Police officers], on the other hand, I don’t know so much. I don’t think that they’re actually experts in the law. I don’t think that’s part of their expertise.'" (Emphasis mine)

Boy, you've hit that nail right on the head, Mr. Anzaldi. I hope that you enjoy all of that Illinois taxpayer money that's sure to be coming your way very soon via a sizable court judgment.

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