In an extraordinarily rare occurrence, an NYPD officer has been charged for lying on an arrest report after arresting a New York Times photographer for taking pictures of him arresting someone else. But it’s pretty clear he isn’t the only one involved in the situation who was lying.
The officer, Michael Ackermann, 30, claimed that the photographer interfered with an arrest last year of a teenage girl by repeatedly discharging his camera’s flash in Officer Ackermann’s face. But the officer’s account unraveled after the office of Robert T. Johnson, the Bronx district attorney, examined photographic evidence and determined that the photographer, Robert Stolarik, did not use a flash and did not have one on his camera at the time. Prosecutors added that no other officers or civilian witnesses reported seeing a flash…
Mr. Stolarik, who has worked for The Times for more than a decade, was working with two Times reporters on Aug. 4, 2012, when he began taking pictures of a brewing street fight at McClellan Street and Sheridan Avenue in the Bronx.
When an officer told Mr. Stolarik to stop taking pictures of a girl being arrested, he identified himself as a Times journalist and continued taking pictures. Another officer grabbed his camera and slammed it into his face, Mr. Stolarik said at the time. As he asked for their badge numbers, the officers took his cameras and pulled him to the ground.
The Police Department said in a statement that officers had given “numerous lawful orders” for both the crowd and Mr. Stolarik to move back, but that he tried to push forward and “inadvertently” struck an officer in the face with his camera. The police said that Mr. Stolarik “violently resisted being handcuffed,” leading to an officer’s hand being cut.
Charges against Stolarik for resisting arrest were dropped immediately because there was no evidence for it at all. This is par for the course, though, the cops engage in misconduct, arrest someone who was doing nothing wrong, then lie about it and claim that they were resisting an arrest that should never have taken place. The other officers almost certainly should be facing discipline as well.
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