With more than four decades of experience covering breaking news, Fox 6 news videographer Clint Fillinger knew that as long as he did not cross the yellow police ribbon, he was well within his rights to shoot video.
But a towering Milwaukee police sergeant ordered him away from the scene anyway, even though non-camera carrying citizens were allowed to remain.
The 68-year-old Fillinger walked backwards as he kept shooting, which always leaves the videographer vulnerable because he can’t see where he is walking. I crashed into a pole recently doing just that.
But having a cop marching in your face makes it even harder.
When the cop got too close, Fillinger lifted his hand up, most likely to protect his camera. Sometimes people get too close (and they say we do that).
They made contact, which was when the cop knocked him backwards, causing him to fall on his back.
The incident was clearly instigated by the cop, who arrested Fillinger for resisting and obstructing a police officer.
Fox News 6 and the NPPA have already sent letters to Chief Edward A. Flynn demanding the charges be dropped.
From the NPPA letter:
This is just the most recent incident in a rash of similar police abuses across the country. NPPA stands ready to work with your department to help develop reasonable and workable policies and practices in order to avoid similar situations. If your department’s vision is for “Milwaukee to be a place where all can live safely and without fear, protected by a police department with the highest ethical and professional standards;” we would respectfully request you commence a full and impartial investigation of this incident and bring disciplinary action against these officers if necessary. Additionally we request that all charges against Mr. Fillinger be immediatley dropped.