NEWS MEDIA UPDATE · WASHINGTON, D.C. · Newsgathering · Nov. 15, 2005
Freelance photojournalist arrested while shooting photos
Nov. 15, 2005 · A freelance photojournalist arrested in Washington, D.C., earlier this month for crossing a police line and interfering with an arrest spent two nights in jail before the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia decided not to prosecute him.
D.C. Hughes, a photojournalist for Lemur News Images, said he was carrying media passes issued by the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington when police asked him to move away from an incident scene blanketed with officers on Nov. 5. Officers were hovering over a man on the ground who was later put into an ambulance while other officers surrounded the area, as seen in Hughes’ photographs from that night.
Hughes moved, he said, but was later arrested and had his camera equipment and media pass confiscated. He was held for 48 hours before appearing Nov. 7 in D.C. Superior Court, which was where he first learned what he had been arrested for.
“I don’t threaten well and I can’t stand being accused of something I didn’t do,” Hughes said, adding that he will pursue legal action against the arresting officers and the Police Department because he wants to prevent a similar situation from occurring.
Other charges, including receiving stolen goods and possession of drug paraphernalia, were listed in a criminal information summary Hughes received from Superior Court, but all were “no papered” — meaning he would likely not be prosecuted for the incident that led to his arrest, but could be rearrested and prosecuted at a later time. The charges, which Hughes denies, were not listed in the police incident report.
Hughes retrieved his confiscated camera, media pass and other property Nov. 7 from the police’s Third District Headquarters, but found a camera cover missing and about 65 images erased from his memory card, which he was able to recover using image recovery software, he said.
The police-issued media pass “is intended for use by members of news gathering organizations who cover assignments within Washington, D.C., whose regular duties necessitate their crossing police lines on a routine and continuing basis,” according to information on the department’s Web site.