Robert Stolarik, 43, was on assignment in the Bronx for the NY Times photographing the arrest of a teenage girl when an officer instructed him to stop. Stolarik identified himself as a journalist and continued shooting, and a second officer grabbed Stolarik’s 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,” according to the NY Times article.
The Police Department’s statement claimed that officers were trying to disperse the crowd, had told the crowd (including Stolarik) to move, and when Stolarik pushed forward, he “inadvertently” struck an officer in the face with his camera. The statement further explained that, while Stolarik was “violently resisting being handcuffed,” an officer was cut in the hand.
If this sounds familiar…it’s because Stolarik has been obstructed and shoved around by NYPD officers before. This despite the NY Civil Liberties Union repeatedly insisting that you’re entitled to take pictures of anything you can see from the sidewalk–period. Or, if you’re still unsure, watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the ACLU instruct you of your rights, School House Rock-style, to photograph anything and keep your camera (unless there’s a warrant for the camera or reasonable suspicion of a crime).