The editor of an Ohio newspaper said that he was “shocked” by what he says military police did to his reporter and photographer Friday — so shocked, his paper is considering legal action
“I’m personally shocked by this incident,” the Toledo Blade’s John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief, said. “I believe our people were totally in the right.”
According to the paper, both a reporter and photographer were detained and had their equipment confiscated while snapping pictures outside the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center — a government owned, contractor-operated facility that produces tanks.
“Blade reporter Tyrel Linkhorn and photographer Jetta Fraser said they went to the driveway entrance of the tank plant operated by General Dynamics’ Land Systems on Friday afternoon,” the Blade reported. “They stayed outside the plant’s gate and did not pass an unmanned guard shack. The pair were leaving when they were stopped by military police.”
Everything photographed was visible to the naked eye and can be seen using Google Earth and Google Street View, according to the paper.
“After protest by The Blade, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s office made a call to General Dynamics,” the Blade added. “Keith Deters, manager of the plant, said Friday evening he was able to persuade the military police to release the cameras after they reviewed the photographs.”
Fraser reportedly said that an officer told her taking pictures of the facility raised the “suspicion of terrorism.”
“I really don’t understand what I was not allowed to photograph. If I can see it from the road, it’s available to the public eye,” she told the Blade. “If there is something terribly significant there, then they should probably hide it from the public.”
Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, seemed to agree with Fraser.
“From our point of view, these are people [who] completely overstepped their authority, probably because they were bored,” Osterreicher said.
Throughout the incident, Fraser and Linkhorn were wearing badges identifying them as journalists, according to the Blade.
“Both Mr. Linkhorn and Ms. Fraser were wearing Blade and news media credentials,” the paper reported. “They were detained, and Ms. Fraser said she was placed in handcuffs and escorted out of their vehicle when she initially refused to provide military police her driver’s license, saying that she was not the person driving the vehicle.”
Ultimately, a Blade staff member reportedly picked up the confiscated equipment around 8:30 p.m. — about seven hours after military police allegedly seized the items.
Upon reviewing the equipment after it was retrieved, several photographs were reportedly found missing. When questioned, a representative from the military facility reportedly said some photographs had been removed.
The manager of the plant, however, appeared to deny this, telling the Blade he would “have no idea” who have deleted the photographs.
The Blade says they are considering legal action.
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