A photojournalist covering the bizarre tasing death of a man at the hands of police in upstate New York was cited for jaywalking Monday – after police ordered him to stop photographing the outside of the home where the man had lived.
The incident took place as Colonie police were searching the home of Chad Brothers, who died Sunday after he was shot with a Taser gun inside a gym where he had been working out.
According to the Times-Union of Albany:
Chad Brothers died less than an hour after he was restrained by Colonie police and gym-goers at the popular Troy-Schenectady Road fitness center. Officers said they had to use three Tasers, two sets of handcuffs and a baton to subdue the 6-foot-1, 235-pound construction worker when he went into an fit of rage after he either fell or jumped off an elliptical machine around 6:15 a.m.
According to police, Chad Brothers then increased the speed on a treadmill another patron was using and punched him in the face, toppled weight machines, rifled dumbbells around the gym and ripped drawers out of file cabinets before the first responding officer arrived.
Chad Brothers then refused to calm down despite police demands. Police said he passed out once they corralled him into custody and never woke up.
Police then went to Brothers’ apartment to search for clues into what made him go berserk at the gym.
And naturally, the media sent their reporters and photographers to the scene.
But police wanted one photojournalist to not take pictures of the home until after they conducted their search, which not only is a Constitutional violation, but a pretty baseless order considering a photograph from the outside can hardly jeopardize an investigation.
While the search was being conducted, a Troy Record photographer was cited for jaywalking after police said he refused to delay taking pictures until police finished searching the home.
According to a police report, Jeff Couch was cited after he crossed the street during heavy traffic while police asked him to stop taking pictures of the apartment building. Troy Police Capt. John Cooney said police are conducting an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the citation.
The National Press Photographers Association has been in contact with the Troy Record to see if it wants any assistance in fighting the jaywalking charge.
But considering they did not even mention the incident in their paper (as far as I can tell), they don’t seem too keen in making an issue about it.