Posts Tagged ‘police’


Press Club of Long Island To Hold Police and Press Forum

The Press Club of Long Island will be holding a special meeting on Thursday focusing on the relationship between police and the press.

Journalist Phil Datz will be showing the widely viewed video of his arrest as well as video of previous confrontations with police at crime scenes.

The program will feature a panel discussion on journalists’ rights and responsibilities at crime scenes as well the policies that police have and

the training they receive on managing the media at scenes. Panelists will include Newsday Associate Editor Cliff Schechtman and representatives from the Suffolk and Nassau Police Departments. Carolyn James – a former SPJ Region 1 director and the editor of the Babylon Beacon, Amityville Record and Massapequa Post – will serve as the panel’s moderator.

The panel is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at Newsday’s auditorium, which is located at 235 Pinelawn Rd. Melville, N.Y. 

Tickets are $10 for PCLI members and $20 for non-members. Contact Bill Bleyer at bill.bleyer@newsday.com or 631-843-2750 for more information.

Swift Action By Long Island SPJ Chapter Yields Results

By spotlighting the unjustified arrest of a cameraman by the Suffolk County Police Department,  The Press Club of Long Island was able to convince the law enforcement agency to admit its mistake this week.

The department determined Monday afternoon that news cameraman Phil Datz was improperly arrested for filming the aftermath of a police chase on Friday.  Police Commissioner Richard Dormer urged the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office should dismiss all charges against Datz.

PCLI, the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s largest journalism organization, had called earlier Monday for the Department to drop all charges against the freelance video journalist.  PCLI had also demanded that the department investigate the sergeant involved for what video taken at the scene indicates is a clear case of police abuse of authority and infringement of the journalist’s First Amendment rights.

The video shows Datz, who was working for Stringer News Service at the time and had been charged with misdemeanor obstruction of governmental administration, was filming across the street on public property. He had not crossed a police line and was in no way interfering with officers.

When confronted by the Fifth Precinct sergeant, he politely asked where he could film and suggested contacting the Public Information Office but was only threatened. After he moved further away, he was then arrested without cause.

Meanwhile, pedestrians and motorists freely moved around the scene without interference by police.

Dormer said, “The department is conducting an internal review of the incident between a Suffolk County Police Department supervisor and a photographer that resulted in the photographer’s arrest. I am working with the Suffolk County District Attorney to have the arrest nullified.

“The police department believes in keeping an open line of communication with the media and we will be reviewing the department’s policy concerning involvement with the news media. The department will also provide refresher training to all officers regarding the interaction between the news media and department personnel.

Press Club of Long Island Takes A Stand For Unjustly Charged Journalist

The Press Club of Long Island, the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s largest journalism organization, is calling on the Suffolk County Police Department to drop all charges against freelance video journalist Phil Datz, who was arrested for filming police response to a car chase on July 29.

PCLI also demands that the department investigate the sergeant involved for what video taken at the scene indicates is a clear case of police abuse of authority and infringement of the journalist’s First Amendment rights.

The video shows Datz, who was working for Stringer News Service at the time and was charged with misdemeanor obstruction of governmental administration, was filming across the street on public property. He had not crossed a police line and was in no way interfering with officers. When confronted by the Fifth Precinct sergeant, he politely asked where he could film and suggested contacting the Public Information Office but was only threatened.

After he moved further away, he was then arrested without cause. Meanwhile, pedestrians and motorists freely moved around the scene without interference by police.

We hope the department will correct this matter and work to avoid this kind of incident in the future.

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