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Written by Mark Nichols   

According to RT News, police in Detroit, Michigan have launched an internal investigation after a Detroit Free Press photographer was detained for filming a group of officers as they arrested a suspect on a public street recently. Courts have basically decided that people have the right to film cops in the performance of their duties in public as long as they don’t interfere with an arrest.

Detroit Free Press reporter Mandi Wright was on her way to an assignment with a newspaper reporter when the pair came upon eight officers making an arrest.

The video shows Wright capturing a pat down before she is approached by an officer, who orders Wright to “back up” before covering the camera lens and demanding that she turn it off.

In the video, Wright then identifies herself as a photographer for the Free Press.

The officer responds, “I don’t care who you are.”

He then reaches for the camera and Wright can be heard asking “Are you touching me?” before the images cut off. Witnesses say the two tussled before uniformed officers put Wright in handcuffs for interfering with an arrest.

Wright, 47, has accused the police of wrongfully confiscating her iPhone. She also says she was briefly locked up alone with the suspect she filmed being arrested.

She has also asserted that the memory card from her newspaper-issued cell phone camera went missing just after an officer wrestled the device away from her.

“I was just surprised at how quickly it escalated,” Kathleen Gray, the reporter traveling with Wright, told the Free Press. “There was no effort to try to figure out who we were or what we were doing. It was just immediately going for the phone.”

The photographer was held in custody for over six hours. Wright says for at least part of that time she was left alone in an interrogation room with the original suspect. Deputy Chief James Tolbert said if that’s true, “that could be a serious breach of department policy.”

The deputy chief told editors of the Free Press the incident had already become a point of embarrassment for the department.

As in most other cases where police have confiscated cameras and cell phones, Tolbert reminded officers they are not authorized to stop an individual from filming.


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