An NYPD officer has been charged with falsifying documents relating to the beating and arrest of New York Times photographer Robert Stolarik on a shoot in the Bronx last August. According to a release, Officer Michael Ackermann of the 44th precinct claimed that Stolarik repeatedly discharged his camera's flash in Ackermann's face while he was trying to arrest a 15-year-old girl, "blinding him and preventing him from performing his duties." In fact, police later found that no flash was attached to Stolarik's camera, and none had been used that night.

At the time, the NYPD also accused Stolarik, a photographer for the Times for more than ten years, of striking an officer in the face with his camera. Before his arrest, Stolarik says he was kicked in the back and head by several officers. His equipment and press credentials were confiscated, and he was charged with obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. Both those charges have been dropped, and Stolarik's credentials were eventually returned to him.

"As we've seen so many times in this narrative, very often the officer's version is a work of fiction," Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association tells us. "I think the officer in this case decided to get a little too creative with the flash business...Robert doesn't even own a flash."

Ackermann, 30, was formally indicted by a grand jury with two counts of falsifying business records, two counts of tampering with public records, offering a false instrument for filing in the first and second degrees, making a punishable false written statement, and official misconduct. Tampering with public records is a class D felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 7 years in jail.

"Ray Kelly was good enough to meet with me in 2011 after the arrests at Zuccotti and issued that Finest message ordering the police to cooperate with the press," Osterreicher says. "Since that time, I have been dealing with a number of photographers who were interfered with or arrested for doing nothing more than doing their jobs. This continues to happen. I think it's really going to take a cultural change in the police department."

Osterreicher adds, "I've said many times: we can do this the easy way, with proper training. Or we can do this the hard way. Clearly this officer wanted to to it the hard way."

“We are pleased that officials in the Bronx took a serious look at this case and brought an indictment after finding police misconduct,” a Times spokeswoman said in a statement. “We remain troubled that the arrest of the photographer, Robert Stolarik, was made in the first place.”

The NYPD has not yet responded to a request for comment. This is the third public incident in which Stolarik was harassed by the police: in December of 2011 video showed an NYPD officer purposefully obstructing Stolarik's shots during an Occupy Wall Street protest. In 2004, Stolarik was tackled to the ground during the GOP convention. You can read the Bronx DA's statement on the case (note: it misspells Ackermann's name) below.

Ackermann