It was less than four years ago that Arkansas State Trooper Thomas Weindruch arrested a photojournalist for taking his picture, claiming he feared for his life because a flash was used.
Weindruck – who was disciplined for making that arrest – has apparently gotten over his fear of cameras and is now a photo enthusiast, according to his profile page on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – the same newspaper that called him out for having a history of “unacceptable” and “unprofessional” behavior in a 2008 article.
This is how he describes himself on Capture Arkansas, the section of the newspaper site that allows photographers to submit photos and vote for their favorites:
“I am an Arkansas State Trooper who loves taking photos of all kinds of things in my spare time.”
Weindruch even went as far as to use the same image taken by the photographer he arrested in December 2007.
The Capture Arkansas page came to the attention of an alert Photography is Not a Crime reader who sent it this way.
I sent photojournalist Bill Lawson an email last night asking if he gave Weindruch permission to use his photo, but he has not responded yet (for the record, he has not given me persmission to use it either, so I’ll remove it if he wishes).
But it is not likely considering how upset he was at being arrested, especially after learning that Weindruch already had a history of complaints against him for angry outbursts against citizens, according to a 2008 article.
Lawson filed a complaint over his arrest, alleging Weindruch physically roughed him up; would not let him sit down while he was in handcuffs even though he has health problems; yelled and screamed at him; and was rude, abusive and threatening.
Lawson said he was trying to photograph the fire, with Weindruch in the foreground, when Weindruch became belligerent toward him.
A three-person review board investigated the complaint and reported to State Police Director Col. Winford Phillips in January that it found Lawson’s complaint to be unsubstantiated, although it said Weindruch showed poor judgment in the incident.
Weindruch ended up suspended for two days without pay and removed from the street beat for a year.
Obstruction of justice charges were dropped against Lawson days after his arrest.
And now Weindruch is a photographer who enjoys taking pictures of pretty flowers and sunsets.
Let’s hope that helps ease his explosive temper.