Stu­dent charged af­ter tak­ing traf­fic-stop pho­tos

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation -

PHILADEL­PHIA | Philadel­phia po­lice vi­o­lated a col­lege stu­dent’s First Amend­ment rights by ar­rest­ing him as he took pho­tos of a traf­fic stop out­side his house, a jour­nal­ism ad­vo­cacy group said Mon­day.

Tem­ple Univer­sity pho­to­jour­nal­ism stu­dent Ian Van Kuyk has been charged with ob­struc­tion, re­sist­ing ar­rest and dis­or­derly con­duct in a case de­scribed as a “mis­car­riage of jus­tice” by an at­tor­ney for the Na­tional Press Pho­tog­ra­phers As­so­ci­a­tion.

“He was just tak­ing pic­tures, as is his right, [as is] ev­ery cit­i­zen’s right,” at­tor­ney Mickey Oster­re­icher said Mon­day.

Po­lice Lt. Ray­mond Evers said Mr. Van Kuyk and his girl­friend were ar­rested for other of­fenses, not for tak­ing pic­tures.

“It’s very clear the of­fi­cers were aware of their First Amend­ment rights to take pho­tos,” Lt. Evers said, cit­ing a po­lice re­port. “Other things hap­pened that caused them to be ar­rested.”

Lt. Evers said the depart­ment is in­ves­ti­gat­ing in­ter­nally and that he could not re­lease fur­ther de­tails about the case, or the po­lice re­port on the March 14 ar­rest.

Mr. Oster­re­icher laid out the stu­dent’s ver­sion of events in a writ­ten com­plaint to po­lice Com­mis­sioner Charles H. Ram­sey.

Mr. Van Kuyk was sit­ting on his front steps in the city’s Point Breeze sec­tion when po­lice pulled over a ve­hi­cle. The stu­dent be­gan tak­ing pic­tures to ful­fill a course as­sign­ment for shoot­ing at night. He was not us­ing a flash and obeyed one po­lice com­mand to move back, Mr. Oster­re­icher said.

But of­fi­cers then asked Mr. Van Kuyk to stop tak­ing pho­tos. When the stu­dent as­serted his right to use the cam­era on public street, one of­fi­cer re­port­edly said: “Public do­main, yeah we’ve heard that be­fore.” Po­lice al­legedly pushed, shoved and threw Mr. Van Kuyk to the ground be­fore hand­cuff­ing him.

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