The NYPD claims that the arrest of a Times photographer in the Bronx Saturday night was justified because the photographer, Robert Stolarik, ignored orders to disperse and "violently resisted" arrest. But the NY Times—which had sent Stolarik on assignment to the Bronx that night—claims he was "doing nothing more than his job when he was roughed up and arrested." The Times plans to notify the NYPD "of our distress about this today," and now the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has also chimed in with an angry letter of condemnation to the NYPD.
Mickey H. Osterreicher, the General Counsel for the NPPA, was part of group of journalists and media outlets who met with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly late last year to discuss the NYPD's repeated stifling of press freedoms. "It seems apparent from the reports regarding [Stolarik's] arrest that proper training and supervision of NYPD officers regarding the rights of the press and the public to record and photograph on city streets is sorely inadequate and that the directives and spirit of the FINEST message issued by Commissioner Kelly in response to media mistreatment at Zuccotti Park last November are being disregarded," Osterreicher said in a statement.
Below, the letter the NPPA sent to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne today, demanding, among other things, the immediate return of Mr. Stolarik’s equipment and credentials, and a full investigation into the incident, which the NPPA alleges violated Stolarik's constitutional rights. (Browne has not yet responded to a request for comment, and we're not holding our breath.)