August 6, 2012

NYPD Violently Arrest NY Times Photog for 2nd Time Since 2004; Smash Camera into his Face Before Confiscating it

Robert Stolarik, the New York Times photographer who had a run-in with NYPD officers in December at an Occupy Wall Street protest, was arrested Saturday night while on assignment.

This time, the Times decided to write about it.

Stolarik was covering a brewing street fight when a New York City police officer slammed the camera into his face.

The Times said he was then dragged down and kicked in the back by several other officers.

Despite all that, police say he “violently resisted being handcuffed.”

Gawker stated that he "was shoved, punched, stomped on, kicked and had his camera confiscated and smashed."

The Times said another journalist shot a video showing Stolarik face-down beneath several officers, but for that has not been posted yet.

According to the New York Times:

Mr. Stolarik was taking photographs of the arrest of a teenage girl about 10:30 p.m., when a police officer instructed him to stop doing so. Mr. Stolarik said he identified himself as a journalist for The Times and continued taking pictures. A second officer appeared, grabbed his camera and “slammed” it into his face, he said.

Mr. Stolarik said he asked for the officers’ badge numbers, and the officers then took his cameras and dragged him to the ground; he said that he was kicked in the back and that he received scrapes and bruises to his arms, legs and face.

The Police Department said in a statement that officers had been trying to disperse the crowd and had given “numerous lawful orders” for both the crowd and Mr. Stolarik to move back, but that he tried to push forward, “inadvertently” striking an officer in the face with his camera.

The police said that Mr. Stolarik then “violently resisted being handcuffed” and that, in the process, a second officer was cut on the hand.

Update: Stolarik was also arrested by NYPD as he was covering the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Downtown Express, which reported on his arrest at the time, has a vivid photo of police holding him down on the ground that looks eerily similar to the description of his latest arrest.

News photographer Robert Stolarik was taking pictures of an arrest Tuesday near Union Square Park when he says police tackled him to the ground and cuffed his hands so tightly he thought it cut off his circulation.

Thursday he was wearing two casts because doctors feared he could have fractured two bones in his wrists. He’s more concerned about being allowed to do his job than he is with his injuries. “It’s the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been as a journalist and I’ve had a gun to my head in Colombia,” Stolarik, 35, said. “All of your rights can be take away instantly.”