Thursday, May 29, 2008

Video: APD officer, photographer scuffle

By: Tom Joles, KOB-TV, and Joshua Panas,

An Eyewitness News 4 photographer was cuffed and cited Thursday morning for disobeying a police officer. It was a situation where the photographer was trying to do his job. And now the Albuquerque Police Department is reviewing the tape to see if the officer crossed the line.

APD says a driver and officers had exchanged gunfire at Copper Avenue and Rhode Island Street NE. An Eyewitness News 4 photographer covering the incident approached two police cars at Copper and Grove NE, believing the suspect was already in custody. The photographer was told that he had to go to a media staging area, but he claims the officer wouldn�t tell him where that was, so he just moved back.

The two officers briefly talked, and then one of them told the photographer where to go.

Video of the incident shows one of the officers walking away, looking at the photographer, and then walking out of frame while the other officer drives away from the scene.

The photographer then began to put his camera in the news vehicle to move to the media staging area when the officer begins circling around.

�I�m not putting the camera down until (inaudible),� the photographer told the officer as he was approached.

The two scuffled for a short time, and then the photographer was handcuffed and detained for about 90 minutes.

A police report identifies the officer as a D. Guzman and Eyewitness News 4 was told Thursday evening that Guzman had been a police officer for 13 months and on the street for seven months.

APD Chief Ray Schultz has yet to release a statement about the video, but APD spokesman John Walsh said the tape will be looked at.

�I can't comment on exactly what occurred on it. That will be reviewed by the independent review officer and, like I stated, he will come across with recommendations and the Albuquerque Police Department will act on those recommendations," Walsh said.

APD says they will proceed with the citation against the photographer.