Update: Police are considering charging Blackden with “impersonating an emergency responder at a fatal car crash.”
A former cop who was taking photos at an auto collision fatality Wednesday had his camera confiscated by police in New Hampshire.
Brian Blackden, who is also a former firefighter and EMT, now works as a freelance journalist. On Wednesday, he was working with Penacook Rescue.
New Hampshire state troopers said they found his actions “suspicious.”
According to New Hampshire news station WMUR 9:
Police said that it wasn’t clear to them if Blackden was acting as a journalist or as something of a first responder at the crash.
“This person was taking pictures right inside the scene, and while the victim was getting medical aid and being worked on, this guy was taking pictures. That’s above and beyond where we’d normally be with somebody,” Maj. Russell Conte with the New Hampshire State Police said.
It really does not matter if he was acting as a first responder or a journalist. If the accident was visible to the public eye, then he had the right to take photos.
Police had no right to confiscate his camera without a subpoena because it was not being used in a commission of a crime.
Blackden has retained a lawyer but police still refuse to return the camera. In fact, they are still considering slapping him with criminal charges. But I’m sure they are still searching the books for anything that might stick.
Blackden and his attorney, Penny Dean, said that they went to police to try and get the camera back, but were refused.
“We were treated very politely in there, but unfortunately we have no substantive answers other than we have an ongoing investigation, and my answer is an investigation into what?”
Dean said.State police said they are keeping it because pictures taken so close to the scene might display evidence related to the wreck.
Police said that they will continue their investigation and that they are not ruling out the possibility of a criminal charge for Blackden.