Photographer arrested while covering courthouse scene
INDIANA–A photographer for the South Bend Tribune was arrested minutes after he attempted to photograph the family of a slain police officer as they left the St. Joseph County courthouse in early July. The photographer, Joe Raymond, was arraigned on three felony charges in mid-July — one count of battery on a police officer and two of resisting law enforcement.
Raymond entered pleas of not guilty to all three charges, and his jury trial is set to start in late October.
Raymond was covering the sentencing of Gregory Dickens Jr., the man convicted of killing South Bend police officer Paul Deguch. After Dickens’ sentencing, Raymond tried to photograph the family of the dead police officer as they came out of the courthouse.
Raymond’s attorney, George Horn, argued at the arraignment that Raymond, a staff photographer with 25 years of experience, was only doing his job. Raymond was standing on a public sidewalk and used a lens to photograph the police officer’s family from a distance so that he would not be intrusive, Horn also told the court. Such newsgathering should be protected by the First Amendment, he argued.
The charges against Raymond involve two sequential encounters with the police on the day of the sentencing.
After the sentencing, police officers escorted the family of the deceased police officer out of the courthouse. As the family emerged from the courthouse, Raymond attempted to take pictures of them, according to police reports. The family did not wish to be photographed and so police officers asked Raymond to stop taking photographs and to leave the scene, the reports said. Around the same time, one officer blocked Raymond’s camera with his hand, according to court documents.
Later, on another side of the courthouse, Raymond had a second encounter with the police. Raymond reportedly stopped his car and yelled at police officers. After he refused to move his car, police officers approached him. At this point, according to police reports, Raymond started to drive away, causing one officer to dive out of the way while another officer was hit by the passenger door. Raymond was stopped in his car two blocks away and arrested.
Raymond disputes the facts as stated in the police report and has the support of the management and staff of the newspaper. Raymond says he was simply returning to the Tribune offices when he drove away from the courthouse, not attempting to anger or injure the police officers.
(Indiana v. Raymond; Media Counsel: George Horn, South Bend)