Sunday, August 7, 2011

(PNN) COPS BEAT, ARREST REPORTER FOR TAKING PHOTOS OUTSIDE CONCERT IN PAHOA

(PNN) COPS BEAT, ARREST REPORTER FOR TAKING PHOTOS OUTSIDE CONCERT IN PAHOA

(PNN) -- Aug 7 -- Big Island reporter and blogger Damon Tucker was severely beaten by police and arrested for "hindering a government operation" Friday night while taking pictures from a public sidewalk outside a concert he was covering in Pahoa.

According to a post on his popular Damon Tucker's Blog "the police have now confiscated my camera and cell phone as well as roughing me up and locking me up in a police detention holding cell for taking video and pictures of them in action from the sidewalk in front of Pahoa Village Cafe."

Seven pictures posted yesterday, taken by Tucker's wife upon his return from the emergency room, show apparent multiple deep abrasions scraps and bruises on all of his extremities and torso.Tucker says his right shoulder is damaged, he is limping on his left leg and is in severe pain.

He says that he took the pictures on his cell phone which was confiscated by police as "evidence," as was his camera which he was not using.

Tucker wrote that he will "be filing a lawsuit against the Hawaii County Police department soon for a few things."

In his Friday night post Tucker wrote that:

People are allowed to take pictures and videos of police officers w/out getting roughed up. I’m battered, bruised and bloody from an officer slamming on the sidewalk… Thankfully I have eyewitnesses that will come forward to say what happened.

My wife took pictures shortly after I was released from jail tonight…

I just want my cell phone back and camera back…. I was rolling video when the officer took me down and they took my cell phone and camera from me for “Evidence”.

This is not Tucker's first run-in with police while covering news and taking photos. On Christmas Eve, 2008 Tucker was investigating complaints of violations of the American with Disabilities Act at Pahoa Post Office when a HPD officer threatened him and forced him to delete pictures Tucker had taken of the parking lot and the officer.

Tucker declined further comment for now saying he is weighing his options and will post again about the incident on his blog. He is due to appear in court on September 8.

4 comments:

KimoRosen said...

Andy, Great frickin blog! Please keep us posted! would you mind if I ran the URL to this blog on my blog? Aloha Kimo

Karin said...

He is not a reporter. He is not a journalist. He not a member of the media.

TheSitRep said...

Sorry Karen but I have to disagree.
Damon is as much a journalist as Dan Rather or Walter Chonkite.
Do you have some definition of journalist that we don't know about.

And as far as a member of the media. Damon is very much part of the media His "medium" is his blog.

Being part of the media or being a jounalist does not require a license or to be a guild member.

We are all covered by this little thing called the first amendment.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. "

Damon is a free press agent!

Karin said...

TheSitRep,
Totally agreed. The First Amendment makes no distinctions and 'journalists' have no special powers or secret membership.
And I absolutely agree that non-journalists can play a big role. However, career journalists generally adhere to standards and ethics across the industry.
Damon will tell you himself, he's 'just a guy with a blog.' That may make him a publisher, perhaps even a reporter on some levels, and certainly a free press agent, but he does not claim to be recognized as an accredited journalist.
And I'm sure there is much more discussion to be had on this subject!