Although the student photographer who was handcuffed for photographing loose cows at Ohio State University has received absolutely no support from his school, he has been receiving support from journalism organizations throughout the country, including the Society of Professional Journalists, the main group that came to my defense after my first arrest.
And it was only because of this overwhelming support that police ended up dropping the criminal trespassing charge against him.
Obviously, they were hoping to teach him a lesson, which is never to document the ineptitude of your local police force, especially when they are running around like fools chasing loose cows for two hours.
The incident occurred two weeks ago, but Alex Kotran was still facing criminal charges up until this week.
Prior to that, he was told by OSU and The Lantern, student newspaper he was shooting for, that he would not receive any legal assistance from them.
The situation got so political that even after The Lantern Publications Committee passed a resolution to commend Kotran for his behavior during the April 21 incident, they revoked that commendation a few days later.
What a back-stabbing bunch of hypocrites.
But then the backlash began when the story started getting national exposure.
Mike Harden of the Columbus Dispatch stated the following:
Shame on Officer Linton for turning a molehill into Mount Fujiyama.
Shame on Police Chief Paul Denton for not telling Linton, “Put your gun away, Barney. This is Mayberry, not Miami Vice.”
Shame on T he Lantern Publications Committee for, instead of joining in a unanimous cry of outrage, sounding like a bunch of whimpering eunuchs.
Shame on a university whose inaction suggested that it cared so little about the First Amendment that it would not even rise to protect a photographer to whom it paid nothing for the gathering of its news.
When learning that OSU turned it backs on Kotran, SPJ and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offered their help.
Here is a copy of SPJ’s letter it sent Wednesday to the OSU police department. The Society of Professional Journalists also encouraged him to apply for a grant from its Legal Defense Fund, which I received twice during my initial legal battle.
Unfortunately, all that money went to an attorney who ended up withdrawing from my case when he learned that I wasn’t about to accept a plea deal. That’s when the credit cards began getting maxed out. Luckily, I found an attorney who was not afraid to go to trial, Arnold Trevilla. I recommend him for any criminal defense work.
Even though Kotran is not facing criminal charges anymore, he still needs a lawyer because the incident will be reviewed by the Office of Student Life’s Judiciary Committee and OSU police still want to intimidate talk to him.
And hopefully he can retain a lawyer to file a civil suit against the cow-chasing cops.