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Chicago freelancer arrested at crime scene

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  1. Newsgathering
A Chicago-based freelance photographer was still waiting Wednesday for police to hand back his video equipment, more than a week…

A Chicago-based freelance photographer was still waiting Wednesday for police to hand back his video equipment, more than a week after his arrest at a crime scene for allegedly refusing to stay behind the yellow tape.

According to the Pioneer Press newspapers, Mike Anzalde was detained for nine hours on misdemeanor charges of resisting an officer; he eventually got his still cameras back, but the memory card was erased. Chicago Police Sgt. Antoinette Ursitti told the newspaper chain Anzalde refused to obey orders at the scene of a police-involved shooting.

Anzalde said that was "absolutely untrue." In his telling, he was standing across from the crime scene when a spokeswoman told him he could not take pictures of it. Anzalde said he agreed not to. But when a relative of the victim came by, according to the Pioneer Press, he said he took out his video camera, and the spokeswoman came back: "She asked for my press credentials. I didn’t have them around my neck. I had them in the car, along with my cell phone and other things. It was a big breaking story. I just got out of the car with my cameras."

So he was arrested.

David Cuillier of the Society of Professional Journalists called for the charges against Anzalde to be dropped, according to the Pioneer Press: "A journalist is doing his job gathering information for the public, not hurting anyone, and police cuff him, drag him to jail, take his equipment, and then delete information they don’t want the public to see. That sounds a lot like Russia to me, not America."