Chicago Cop Assaults Photographer, then Claims Harassment

Francisco Jotautas
Chicago police officer Francisco Jotautas, the cop who photographer Chuck Jines says assaulted him. (Photo by Chuck Jines)


A Chicago photographer says he was assaulted by a police officer while shooting a protest against the closing of 50 schools.

Chuck Jines doesn’t give much detail about the assault on his blog but updated it four days later by saying he had tracked down the cop’s phone number through by Google by typing in the cop’s last name from his uniform, which was Jotauta.

He then called it in order to confirm the cop’s first name, which turned out to be Francisco.

A woman, whom he believes is Francisco Jotautas’s wife,  answered and confirmed he had reached the right household.

Jines thanked her and hung up. Minutes later, he received a call from Jotauta, who accused him of harassing him.

Then a few days later, he received a call from a detective claiming the same thing.

Jines doesn’t appear too concerned about their intimidation tactics.  I sent him a message this morning asking for an interview but he has not yet responded (his phone number is not as easily found on Google as Jotautas’ number).

This is how he explains it on his blog:

UPDATE: May 26, 2013

I just got off the phone with a Detective Steve Lazzara of the Chicago police (Hello, officer!;-). Seems officer Francisco Jotautas thinks it was a crime for me to call his house in order to get conformation on his full name.

According to officer Jotautas, he is now the victim! Lol… right, assault me, and then cry when I stand up for myself – how grand! I called the number that I had  found online through a Google search in order to acquire his first name. His name tag only had his last name.

There is no crime in calling a police officer. I called one time, asked if this was officer Jotautas’ number, and then said “thank you,” before hanging up:

Me – “Hello, is officer Jota… Jotaa, I’m sorry, I can’t pronounce the last name.”

Person that answered the phone: “Officer Jotautas?”

Me – “Yes, that’s it.”

Person that answered the phone: “I’m sorry, he’s at work.”

Me – “Thank you.” (hung up)

That was the extent of my conversation with whoever answered the phone. I now had confirmation of officer Jotautas’  full name. I believe it was his wife who had answered the phone. A few minutes later I received a call from officer Jotautas, apparently from his cell phone.

I identified myself as the photographer he had assaulted earlier that day. He said, “but I got your phone number.” I replied, “so what? I’m not doing anything wrong, nor do I have anything to hide. Now, don’t call me again.”

UPDATE: Here is a video where Jines goes into detail about the assault.


About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • discarted

    But what’s about to happen to Jines won’t be considered harassment, illegal, or threatening. But hopefully, the power of the internet will keep the CPD in check on this one. We’ll see though.

  • Tijuana Joe

    A quick google search shows he makes $79000 a year,
    is 48 years old, was once struck in his squad car, and may have a secret life as Mr Clean. Careful.

  • rick

    This story lacks any information regarding assault or an officer suppressing the public’s right to record.

    • rick

      Nice explanation by Jines

  • Wargamer

    I think it would be more proper to call the department to verify the spelling of an officer’s name and I can see how the officer might object to some stranger calling his home to get that kind of information.

    Was it illegal? Probably not, but it was insensitive and disrespected the officer as a human being. I think police officers need to be held to a higher standard than private citizens — but in this case the private citizen didn’t meet the standard of common courtesy.

    • Scott

      There is nothing wrong with someone calling a number that is publicly available. Why not go right to the source? He was nothing but polite in his phone call.

      The officer, on the other hand, even after being told not to contact him again had a detective call and accuse him of harassment. No harassment occurred in the original call so both the officer and the detective overstepped their bounds.

  • bc_motoguy

    don’t be idiots, LEO assaults on photogs are part of what this site is about. Pretty KEY to the whole gig imo.

  • txjazzman

    Should of used a Pay Phone on that first / last call to officer “Kojak”

    • rick

      “…should have…”

      Do pay phones even exist anymore?

  • steveo

    A leo told me once when I was filming that I could be charged with harassment, if people didn’t give permission. I, of course, ignored him. In FL, we don’t have a specific statute that deals with harassment, this is under stalking.

    A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

    Notice the elements: repeatedly and maliciously, I don’t think this videographer by calling one time would qualify for harassment.

    • Difdi

      If politely calling a publicly available phone number while investigating an
      assault qualifies as a malicious act, then police act with malicious intent every day,

  • Carlos_Miller

    Just updated the post with a video of Jines explaining in detail what took place the day he was assaulted.

  • riiick

    He noticed your shiny lens and it grabbed his attention.

  • Proud GrandPa

    I don’t like it when somebody hangs up without saying bye. We have a phrase that describes it: a hang-up call. One could easily classify it as harassment. Yet he did say thanks and was otherwise courteous.
    I probably would not vote him guilty of harassment in this case. But a repeat would be harassment for sure.

  • Barking Dog

    There was a story connected to this that said they were closing 50 schools but spending $100 mil on a private stadium. When I tried to chase down the story, the 50 entries on Google all repeated the same small bit of info word for word, so unk if that part is true.

    Wouldn’t doubt ‘ol Rahm, son of a terrorist would do that. You are cattle to be stolen from in his eyes.