Last november, at the scene of a deadly collision, a photographer on the scene got into it with an on-duty officer who approached him about his camera. He recorded the chat they had under the officer’s nose, and then uploaded it to the internet. The video gained a good amount of attention, showing the officer acting aggressively, and now the police department he’s from has decided to uphold the complaint put against him.
According to the photographer, the officer seized his camera illegally, got within 5 centimeters of his face and began shouting, swore at him, threatened arrest, and tried forcing him to delete the pictures on his camera. If you watch the video, you can hear the police officer say “You’re lucky I didn’t knock you out”.
The story, in the end, does have a happy ending, albeit rather conflicted. The Gloucestershire Police has now given the sergeant a written warning, and he was removed from frontline duties. He also apologized to the photographer himself, stating that there really was no crime occurring in the first place. The photographer was abiding by the regulations set in the street already, he wasn’t taking photographs of anything he wasn’t supposed to be shooting, and he was as harmless as any other bystander.
The officer did say that the photographer handed him the camera, while the photographer claims the officer snatched it. Still conflicted with what happened, the photographer even declined an offer from the officer to apologize to him in person. At this point, it’s important to remember that there are both sides to every story, and we need to be careful with knowing the facts before just jumping onto the “police brutality” wagon. In this situation, it seems like the officer did step up for his actions, and that he was honest about it. Maybe I’m more sympathetic because I doubt we’d see something like that much coming from the U.S., but regardless of whether this is in England or not, the officer does seem sincere.
It’s nice to see that police all over the world are starting to understand that photography is not a crime. Hopefully, more development plans are taken in the police forces there to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. No party really does get out of it better off than they started.
[Via BBC UK]