Alexander Arbuckle, a 21-year-old New York University journalism student, believed police were being portrayed unfairly in media stories about the Occupy Wall Street protests last year.
So he began a photojournalism project in an attempt to show officers in a more positive light.
He ended up getting arrested.
New York City police claimed he had been standing in the middle of the street blocking traffic on New Year’s Day, so they charged him with disorderly conduct, which as we all know is the catch-all charge when a crime has not been committed.
Thanks to videos from fellow photographers as well as police that showed he never left the sidewalk, Arbuckle was acquitted this week.
According to the Village Voice:
That’s the story told in the criminal complaint against Arbuckle, and it’s the story that the officer who arrested him told again under oath in court on Monday. The protesters, including Arbuckle, were in the street blocking traffic, Officer Elisheba Vera testified. The police, on the sidewalk, had to move in to make arrests to allow blocked traffic to move.
But there was a problem with the police account: it bore no resemblance to photographs and videos taken that night. Arbuckle’s own photographs from the evening place him squarely on the sidewalk. All the video from the NYPD’s Technical Research Assistance Unit, which follows the protesters with video-cameras (in almost certain violation of a federal consent decree), showed Arbuckle on the sidewalk.
And in an indication of the way new media are transforming the dynamics of street protest, a clip from the live-stream of journalist Tim Pool showed that not only was Arbuckle on the sidewalk, so were all the other protesters. The only thing blocking traffic on 13th Street that night was the police themselves.
No word on when his gleaming piece on police will be released.
Then there is Joshua Alex Garland, a Seattle photographer who was arrested during the May Day protests and accused of “grabbing a police officer’s hand and twisting his arm.”
Yes, that’s him in the above photo getting his arm twisted by police. Check him out in the video below as police pull him out of the crowd and arrest him.
He was charged with assault on a police officer. His case was dismissed this week once the video was introduced.
Expect more of the same this weekend during the NATO protests in Chicago.