Connect with us


Police Training on Photographers’ Rights Aims to Curb Violence Against Press



Adam Gray/SWNS

After a spate of lawsuits following the George Floyd protests, relations between police and media have never been more strained, or more complicated.

Court-ordered training sessions between police and media have been taking place in Minneapolis, led by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA).

General Counsel of the NPPA Mickey Osterreicher wants to stop occurrences happening like a photographer who almost lost his finger during a protest in Denver, or a photographer who lost her eye in Minneapolis.

Osterreicher has performed numerous training exercises between police and media. The sessions in Minnesota were thanks to the Goyette v. The City of Minneapolis lawsuit.

“There were a lot of incidents involving police and press where they were either interfered with or they were injured or they were arrested,” Osterreicher tells PetaPixel.

“A number of journalists brought a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order against the police and enjoining them from doing certain things. From arresting them, to using less lethal munitions against them.”

Police training in Minnesota | Captain Eric Barthel

Part of the lawsuit was settled out of court, which cost taxpayers $825,000. The settlement’s terms required that all the troopers in Minnesota had to receive First Amendment training.

Journalists in the Gopher State were granted a restraining order against the police. It requires that police use less lethal ammunition and bans them from seizing their equipment or issuing dispersal orders to journalists.

Osterreicher made several trips to Minnesota and did an estimated 15 sessions with both police and journalists in attendance.

“Hopefully, there was a better understanding of the rights and limitations that journalists have,” says Osterreicher.

Under the First Amendment, the right to record and photograph things in public is essentially a presumption; but it’s not absolute.

“It’s subject to time, place, and manner restrictions. Those restrictions have to be content-neutral, they have to be narrowly tailored to serve a specific government interest such as public safety. And they must leave open alternative avenues of communication,” he says.

“If you have an incident with one or two officers and a journalist gets real close with the camera they are perfectly justified to direct that person to take a few steps back. They might be worried about weapon retention.”

Osterreicher conducting police training in Minnesota | Captain Eric Barthel

Osterreicher says it really does depend on the situation. For example, if there is a bomb threat or an active shooter, cops might reasonably request the press to go back a couple of blocks.

Who Constitutes as a Journalist?

In the modern era, reporters from the New York Times and a YouTuber with 18 subscribers can look exactly the same. This makes it very difficult for police to determine who is legitimately press and who is not.

“We all know that journalists today are sent out with iPhones and they look like everybody else with an iPhone, oftentimes they do have credentials,” says Osterreicher.

“But oftentimes, we’ve seen during a protest, journalists being attacked by protestors for being journalists. So they often will hide their credentials. It’s definitely not an easy task.”

Ultimately Osterreicher believes in the American justice system ethos that would prefer a hundred guilty people go free rather than one innocent person see a conviction.

“A good number of people claiming to be journalists should be allowed to stay, rather than arresting journalists in general who are doing their job.”

Seeing Both Sides

Osterreicher is perfectly placed for mediation between journalists and media. He was a photojournalist in both print and broadcast for over 40 years. He has also been a uniform reserve Sherrif’s deputy in Erie Country, New York for a similar length of time.

cop and
Osterreicher has played both roles

“I understand the challenges of law enforcement but I certainly understand the fact that journalists need to be able to do their job,” he explains.

“I’m constantly encouraging journalists and news organizations to have conversations with police agencies before things go bad,” he says.

“During the middle of a huge protest is not necessarily the best time to stop and have a good conversation about what everyone should and shouldn’t be doing.”

Image credits: Feature photo by Adam Gray/SWNS.

Continue Reading

Recent News

Transport Links Transport Links
Travel29 mins ago

Transport Links in Bicester: Roads, Buses and Trains

Bicester, nestled in the heart of Oxfordshire, is a thriving market town renowned for its picturesque landscapes, historic charm, and...

Luxury Care Homes Luxury Care Homes
Home19 hours ago

Elevating Elder Care: Exploring Luxury Care Homes

As the population ages, the demand for elder care services continues to rise. With this increasing demand comes a need for...

Injection Molding Service Injection Molding Service
Lifestyle1 day ago

Value Of Injection Molding Service In Modern Manufacturing

There are various fields in which the Injection Molding Service is used for manufacturing purposes. It is one of the boons...

Tech1 day ago

Wireless Networking in a SOHO Environment

Also for a witness of this size, small office/home office or SOHO Network , it is very important to take...

Nikhil Mayakuntla Nikhil Mayakuntla
Tech2 days ago

Nikhil Mayakuntla Builds Your First Website (Step By Step)

Nikhil Mayakuntla, originally from West Des Moines, IA, is a beacon in the tech industry, especially revered for his profound...

Termite Treatment Termite Treatment
Home3 days ago

Mastering the Art of Pest Control and Termite Treatment: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Home

In homeownership, there are few concerns as pressing and potentially devastating as the threat of pests and termites. These insidious...

Cold Cold
Lifestyle4 days ago

6 Tips for Working Out in the Cold Season

As winter’s icy embrace tightens, maintaining an active lifestyle demands fortitude and savvy adaptation to the cold. However, armed with...

insMind insMind
Tech5 days ago

Reimagine Your Photos with insMind: The Best Free AI Background Generator

Imagine turning a simple snap into a studio-quality image in seconds. No technical skills or hiring professionals are required. Sounds...

Sickness Insurance Sickness Insurance
Health7 days ago

Exploring the Essentials of Sickness Insurance

In an uncertain world where health is often unpredictable and sickness is common, insurance stands as a pillar of financial...

Manchester Manchester
Real Estate7 days ago

Manchester Property Market: Future Growth and Expert Insights

For those seeking lucrative, low-cost, high-yield investment opportunities, the property market in Manchester currently presents a compelling case. Estate agents...