- Robert Stolarik at Occupy Wall Street
Police officers in NYC are caught lying not infrequently, but rarely are they held accountable: district attorneys are hesitant to call out cops for perjury or truth-fudging form-filing because they don’t want to jeopardize their office’s relationships with the department, or just because it seems like more trouble than it’s worth. But sometimes you can’t just turn a blind eye—like, say, when a cop roughs up and arrests a Times photographer for taking pictures of a news event, and then flat out lies about why.
Michael Ackermann (ironically the name of a fine-art photographer) has been indicted on three felonies and five misdemeanors—charges of falsifying business records, tampering with official records, official misconduct, and more!—after he arrested New York Times photographer Robert Stolarik last year and lied about the reasons why, the Times reports. Stolarik was in the Bronx last summer when he began taking pictures of a street fight; as he photographed a woman being arrested, a cop told him to stop. “Another officer grabbed his camera and slammed it into his face,” the paper reports. “As he asked for their badge numbers, the officers took his cameras and pulled him to the ground.” The charges against Stolarik were dismissed.
Those against Ackermann, however, have not been. He claimed Stolarik interfered with the arrest by repeatedly using a flash in the officer’s face, but the district attorney determined not only did Stolarik not use a flash—he didn’t even have one that night. Heck, he doesn’t even own one, Gothamist reports. “If convicted on the top count,” the Times reports, “he faces up to seven years in prison and could lose his job.” Could lose his job! That sounds reasonable and fair.
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