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Learning the Hard Way: Student Photographer Has Film Confiscated by Police

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Learning the Hard Way: Student Photographer Has Film Confiscated by Police

Article excerpt

Student photographer has film confiscated by police

ERIC ROTTENBERG, A photojournalism major at San Francisco State University, learned the hard way the street risks of his chosen profession.

The 23-year-old student was shooting pictures of a demonstration at United Nations Plaza in San Francisco for a class assignment when he spotted something that seemed a much better story.

After a foot chase, police were wrestling to the ground a suspect who allegedly had attempted the robbery of a clothing store by spraying a caustic chemical in a clerk's face.

"I was shooting right up to the time when the cops got the guy into the patrol car," Rottenberg recalled. "At that point, an officer came up to me and said, 'Get the fuck out of here:"

Before he got 10 yards, another patrolman, Darby Reid, who had forced the suspect to the ground and handcuffed him, shouted, "Hey, you with the camera, stop;' the student recounted.

"At first?' Rottenberg went on, "I began to run. Then my brain kicked in and I said to myself, 'Do you really want to be tackled by a cop?'"

Rottenberg said Reid demanded his film, saying he needed it as evidence in a criminal arrest.

The photographer said he believes Reid. feared the pictures might reveal him using excessive force in subduing the suspect.

However, Rottenberg said he saw the suspect kick Reid several times in the patrol car.

The Police Department later said the pictures were evidence of an assault against a police officer. …

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