Five years after they were arrested for attempting to photograph a neo-Nazi rally in Toledo, two Michigan photojournalists settled a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Part of the settlement will require Toledo police to revise policies on how they interact with journalists covering events, according to The Detroit News.
Financial details of the settlement were not disclosed, if in fact, there were any.
The settlement stemmed from a 2005 incident where photojournalists Jeffrey Sauger, Jim West and Jeffery Willis were arrested before a neo-Nazi rally.
According to the 2005 National Press Photographers Association article:
Jeffrey Sauger, a freelance photojournalist from Royal Oak, MI, and an NPPA member since 1990, told News Photographer magazine that he was arrested for “criminal trespass” while in the “media pit” (an area set aside for journalists) that was within the boundaries of a cordoned off area that police had specifically set up for the rally and counter-protesters.
The photojournalists were arrested “for crossing police lines,” according to today’s story in The Blade, and that Jeff Willis, a Toledo Journal photographer, was the first to be arrested – even before the rally started. Also arrested was freelance photojournalist Jim West, a newspaper and magazine editorial photographer based in Detroit for more than two decades.
Sauger said, “I did not have the ‘temporary media pass’ as I was told by officers that I could not get one by the time I had arrived to cover the event for EPA (European Pressphoto Agency). I had already been in and out of the ‘media pit’ several times w/out incident. When I first arrived I asked a couple of different officers about being told that I could no longer get a pass and that others had said it was no problem. All of the area concerned was on a public street.”
Sauger ended up convicted but later had that conviction overturned in an appeal.