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NYPD Officer Charged With Lying on Arrest Report

In an extraordinarily rare occurrence, an NYPD officer has been charged for lying on an arrest report after arresting a New York Times photographer for taking pictures of him arresting someone else. But it’s pretty clear he isn’t the only one involved in the situation who was lying.

The officer, Michael Ackermann, 30, claimed that the photographer interfered with an arrest last year of a teenage girl by repeatedly discharging his camera’s flash in Officer Ackermann’s face. But the officer’s account unraveled after the office of Robert T. Johnson, the Bronx district attorney, examined photographic evidence and determined that the photographer, Robert Stolarik, did not use a flash and did not have one on his camera at the time. Prosecutors added that no other officers or civilian witnesses reported seeing a flash…

Mr. Stolarik, who has worked for The Times for more than a decade, was working with two Times reporters on Aug. 4, 2012, when he began taking pictures of a brewing street fight at McClellan Street and Sheridan Avenue in the Bronx.

When an officer told Mr. Stolarik to stop taking pictures of a girl being arrested, he identified himself as a Times journalist and continued taking pictures. Another officer grabbed his camera and slammed it into his face, Mr. Stolarik said at the time. As he asked for their badge numbers, the officers took his cameras and pulled him to the ground.

The Police Department said in a statement that officers had given “numerous lawful orders” for both the crowd and Mr. Stolarik to move back, but that he tried to push forward and “inadvertently” struck an officer in the face with his camera. The police said that Mr. Stolarik “violently resisted being handcuffed,” leading to an officer’s hand being cut.

Charges against Stolarik for resisting arrest were dropped immediately because there was no evidence for it at all. This is par for the course, though, the cops engage in misconduct, arrest someone who was doing nothing wrong, then lie about it and claim that they were resisting an arrest that should never have taken place. The other officers almost certainly should be facing discipline as well.

Comments

  1. ethanol says

    I am sure that they learned a valuable lesson here: to reserve their harassment and false accusations for people not connected to powerful journalistic outfits.

  2. unbound says

    oranje beat me to the punch. When are we going to put to bed the lie that everything little thing a police officer demands is a “lawful order”?

  3. eric says

    I guess we now record the journalists recording the cops. And when they get beat up and their cameras taken away (after the journalists are pacified), we send out people to record the people to record the journalists.

    In a gallows humour sort of way, it would be interesting to watch a group of police officers lie about their conduct towards a journalist….then the recorder of the journalist…then the recorder of the recorder of the journalist…and in each case get shot down by a tape, all in the same trial. I wonder just how many iterations a defense lawyer could go through before the judge would put a stop to it. “Yes, your honor, I know we lied about the first nine peole in this string of consecutive recordings. But we are telling you the truth about this tenth guy his camera phone really did hit my fist. I promise!”

  4. says

    I’m for shoulder/helmet cams being mandatory for all cops at all times when they are on duty, with a feed that (and this is important) goes to someone who isn’t the cops. Maybe a civilian oversight body, maybe the Public Defender’s office, maybe someone else, but there must be a copy of that feed in some other body’s custody. Ideally, the only ‘off switch’ would be plugging it back in at the end of the shift, and ‘forgetting’ to wear it or otherwise disabling it would itself be a criminal offence.

  5. brucegee1962 says

    #5, that sounds like a great idea. Politicians ought to also where them. I tell my kids, “don’t ever do anything you would be ashamed to see on the front page of a newspaper,” and that goes double for cops.

    I would tell that cops that I believe 99% of them are honest. The honest ones should be the ones in favor of this, because the bad apples are spoiling everything for them.

  6. D. C. Sessions says

    Why does this remind me of the gent who was arrested for assaulting an officer in performance of his duty when the gent struck the officer’s knuckles with his nose?

  7. ianeymeaney says

    @5 you obviously don’t live in NYC. The CCRB is a joke:
    “In 2006, the CCRB received 7,669 complaints from civilians, and closed 7,399 cases, of which 2,680 were full investigations (meaning that the civilian participated, the officer(s) were identified and an investigation was closed after doing a full and thorough investigation).[13] Approximately 6% of the full investigations resulted in a Substantiated disposition.[6] 262 cases were mediated, which is an option for certain complaints provided the officer does not have an extensive CCRB history, there was no arrest made and severe force or abuse of authority were not involved. In mediation, the officer and civilian both voluntarily bypass the investigative process and meet each other one-on-one with a third party mediator to discuss the incident and resolve it. This results in no disciplinary action being taken against the officer and often results in a more satisfied civilian as an outcome.”
    Plus, with a STRONG police union, and a mayor and police chief who are barely more than jackbooted thugs themselves, nothing will get done. Remember the 2004 Republican convention in NYC? Midtown was completely shut down and the cops were literally encircling everyone walking down the sidewalk with plastic fencing and jailing them for the crime of walking down the sidewalk. I cannot wait until Bloomberg is flushed down the memory toilet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_Complaint_Review_Board

  8. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    Unfortunately, Stolarik is one of the few with enough privilege and evidence and luck to escape the bullshit of the police.

  9. Trickster Goddess says

    @5

    Streaming feeds to a remote server is a good idea. It is what every civilian witness with a cell camera should be doing right now.

    I’ve had this idea for about ten years, surely by now someone has come up with an app that will do this. So even if a cop tries to smash your camera or wipe your memory card, you have a backup copy of everything that happened up until the lens hits the sidewalk.

  10. John Phillips, FCD says

    Trickster Goddess, my S4 sends all photos taken immediately to my Box cloud account. I think video has to finish before it can be sent though tying it up to a streaming app shouldn’t be too difficult. Also, if using a digital camera, you can get memory cards with built in Wi-fi or bluetooth that can link to your phone allowing your phone to upload them.

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