|NMU||FLORIDA||Newsgathering||Apr 12, 2001|
Internal police report finds photographer’s arrest improper
- An investigation stemming from an arrest on a public sidewalk ends with minimal punishment against police officer.
An internal investigation by the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., police department found that an officer acted inappropriately when he arrested news photographer Joshua Prezant for trespassing, but the February report concluded Prezant could have been arrested for disorderly conduct. Prezant learned of the findings in March.
“I’m satisfied that it came to light that I was not trespassing when I repeatedly said I wasn’t,” the photographer said in an interview on April 11.
The incident occurred on a public sidewalk last August when Prezant refused to stop photographing an office building in Ft. Lauderdale while on an assignment for the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.
The officer, Anthony Castro, received a “non-disciplinary” letter in his file for “failure to know a law or ordinance which an officer or employee is sworn to uphold.”
Ft. Lauderdale police did not return calls seeking comment on the finding.
Prezant also claimed Castro used excessive force, vulgar language and refused to give his name and badge number. But after testimony from three police officers who witnessed the incident, police investigators found insufficient evidence to sustain the other allegations.
“He’s not being punished for handling the situation wrongly,” Prezant said.
© 2001 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press