A videographer responsible for capturing news footage became the news on Friday, when he filmed part of his own arrest while trying to capture video of a police crime scene. But was it fair?
Phil Datz works for a third-party news outlet that tapes footage for other stations. On Friday, he was sent to capture the tail end of a police chase in Suffolk County, NY. But when he got there, one officer who claimed to be a 30-year veteran of the force wasn’t happy with his presence across the street. So he confronted Datz, telling him that Datz couldn’t film because the crime scene was “active.” A confused Datz respectfully tried to reason with the officer, but that didn’t work.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and there’s nothing you can hold over my head; go away” the officer who Datze refers to as “sergeant” can be heard telling Datz, who then gets in his car and moves a block away.
But that still wasn’t good enough for the officer. In Datz’s video, the cop can be seen speeding up to Datz’s new location, leaping out of his cruiser, and then telling Datz he is under arrest. Datz can be heard saying that he called the “PIO” — or public information officer — and he told him to keep filming. Then the footage stops:
Datz, who works for Stringer News Service, was arrested and charged with obstruction of governmental administration. He was finger printed and released.
According to the Long Island Press, another officer apologized to Datz at the station, but said that since the arrest had already been made, nothing could be done.
Tony Ryan, who owns Stringer, said his company is considering a lawsuit. According to him, this is the third time in the last two three years that one of his employees has gotten arrested at the scene of a crime.