Viral video: NY cop arrests journalist for taping in public

Still frame of YouTube video of New York cop arresting journalist for filming on public property / YouTube

NEW YORK (AP, WACH) " A Long Island news photographer was arrested over the weekend as he tried to film a breaking news assignment on public property-- and now the video of the encounter is going viral.

Phil Datz, 34, says he was just doing his job Friday when he arrived at the scene of a police pursuit and arrest. He got out his camera and started to film. But a police sergeant on the scene confronted him and said he wasn't allowed to.

He ended up in cuffs, charged with obstructing governmental administration. He wants the district attorney to drop the charge.

Datz caught the incident on tape and it had been viewed on YouTube nearly 6,000 times as of Monday afternoon. The footage is now sparking coverage by multiple national media outlets including Fox New York. The video shows the road and sidewalk was open to other traffic, but the officer told the journalist to leave and then arrested Datz after he moved a block away.

A police spokeswoman said the department is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the arrest. A New York paper is reporting the photographer's supervisor says another officer apologized for the arrest, but said nothing could be done because Datz had already been booked.

The Suffolk County police department added to the outrage Monday after citizens reported the department is deleting comments and questions posted by the public regarding the incident on the department's Facebook page.

The Associated Press reports Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said Monday the department is conducting an "internal review" of the incident and the commissioner is working with the district attorney's office to "have the arrest nullified."

Dormer did not address whether the arresting officer will face any criminal charges or disciplinary action for making a false arrest.

What do you think about the growing number of incidents where citizens have been arrested for exercising your First Amendment right to record video in public?

How do you think the growing number of citizens who carry smartphones with cameras will change our society? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.