Date: August 2012
The New York Times and NYPD went to war after an experienced photojournalist was assaulted and charged with obstructing government administration and violently resisting arrest while covering the arrest of a 16-year-old girl in the Bronx. Robert Stolarik, 43, was covering the arrest in the Concourse section of the Bronx when he beaten, handcuffed, and taken to jail. According to the NYPD, Stolarik had been ordered to leave the scene, and "inadvertently" hit an officer with his camera. Stolarik was forced to the ground and handcuffs were applied; Stolarik says he suffered bruises and scrapes while being struck with his own camera in retaliation. The police report states that he "violently resisted being handcuffed." Naturally, Stolarik offered a different account, and told The Village Voice he was taken down and dragged by officers. The Times claimed to have video of the incident, which they say featured the photographer face down on the sidewalk below a pile of "about six officers." A spokeswoman for the publication says that, in the view of the newspaper, Stolarik wasn't doing anything more than what they had paid him to do.
A $9,000 camera was not immediately returned to Stolarik, and lawyers for the National Press Photographers Association say they were still waiting for the NYPD to release $18,000 worth of equipment taken as evidence, in addition to Stolarik's press credentials. The equipment was returned a few weeks later, and Stolarik says that he does not plan to file charges against the NYPD. He simply wants the charges against him to be dropped.