NYPD Officer Charged With Multiple Felonies After Arresting New York Times Photographer, Said Flash Was Interfering But There Was No Flash on the Camera

Still has a job


arrested by cop
screencap via The Gothamist

An officer with the New York Police Department has been charged by the Brooklyn DA for alleged crimes related to his arrest of a New York Times photographer. From the Times:

When an officer told  Mr. [Robert] Stolarik [the photographer] to stop taking pictures of a girl being arrested, he identified himself as a Times journalist and continued taking pictures. Another officer grabbed his camera and slammed it into his face, Mr. Stolarik said at the time. As he asked for their badge numbers, the officers took his cameras and pulled him to the ground.

At the time, the Police Department said in a statement that officers had given "numerous lawful orders" for both the crowd and Mr. Stolarik to move back, but that he tried to push forward and "inadvertently" struck an officer in the face with his camera. The police said that Mr. Stolarik "violently resisted being handcuffed," leading to a second officer being cut on the hand.

The charges against Mr. Stolarik, 44, were dismissed. He declined to comment on Monday.

The arresting officer, Michael Ackermann was charged with multiple counts of filing a false report and official misconduct; he could face seven years in jail if convicted on the most serious count. He has yet to lose his job even as he's been formally charged. The officer claimed the photographer was interfering by using his flash, but the Bronx DA found no flash was used and that the photographer's camera wasn't even equipped with flash at the time.

A Times spokesperson told the Times that the Times continues to be "troubled" by the fact that the photographer was arrested in the first place. The Times can be troubled, but it shouldn't be surprised. This is case is the third time the NYPD has interfered with the photography work of Stolarik alone (something not mentioned by the Times. Carlos Miller's Photography is Not a Crime has chronicled the police's war on photographers nationwide and you can read more Reason about the war on photography here.

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  1. A paren with no end.

    1. At some point somebody is going to put the second one, and we will be included as part of the article!

  2. It was the possibility of a flash that interfered, not an actual flash per se. In the alternative, the flash happened despite the evidence.

    1. Quantum policing?

      1. See, each civilian is in a state of superposition, between interfering and not interfering. Cop scientists posit a wave theory of offenders, in which the very presence of virtual offenders can result in waves of interference.

        1. I bet that’s scary close to the actual psychology of your average cop.

          1. The Uncertainty Principle makes it clear that cops can never know whether a civilian will attack or not.

      2. They used to act differently when observed, but now they don’t give a fuck.

  3. I’m “troubled” by the fact that the only reason this guy was charged is because the photographer worked for the Times.

    1. Exactly. Why can’t anyone in the public photograph their public servants at work on a public street? The police should have no expectation of privacy there, after all.

  4. pulled him to the ground


    1. That’s cop-speak for “ground face into pavement while shouting ‘Stop resisting!'”

      1. With the “stop resisting” command being presumed unnecessary, and hence, unspoken.

  5. A Times spokesperson told the Times that the Times continues to be “troubled” by the fact that the photographer was arrested in the first place.

    Too bad the Times isn’t more troubled by the way cops behave toward people who aren’t employees for their paper.

    1. It’s the same way that thy’re “troubled” by eminent domain.

      1. If this keeps up, the Times might actually go from troubled, to slightly irritated, to mildly pissed off, to concerned, to aggravated, until eventually they might get all the way to angry.

        But, probably not.

        1. See, thing is if the Times starts to actually defend civil rights because they are well.. rights, then people might get confused when the Times goes back to shilling for coercive government action. Really the point that they’re trying to get across it to remind the NYPD that the Times is part of the ruling caste, too, and that they require a certain level of respect that was not provided in this case.

          1. Yes, this is exactly what I expect–the press gets its special treatment, then all goes back to normal, with mere citizens getting treated like shit.

            1. “Tell your guys to stop taking compromising pictures of us, and we’ll make a show of filing charges against the cop who did this. Fair enough?”

        2. Unless Bezos buys it.

  6. This will continue. Even if some punishments are meted out, unless punishment is swift and sweeping every time cops interfere with lawful photography, they will continue to do it, because the pain of punishment is less than the usefulness of not being recorded (because they are doing illegal shit themselves).

    It is the logic of thugs; it is better for them to thug out and get slapped for it occasionally, because it makes potential photographers/filmers of the police afraid, rather than have restraint, and have people not be afraid.

    So, this practice will continue unabated.

    1. one of those insightful Epi comments that don’t have anything to do with personal hygiene or Warty. Bravo!

      (and agreed)

    2. Pretty much this. Thankful (sorta) a not insignificant percentage of these assholes can’t seem to control themselves enough to keep from stepping into undeniable thuggery, and it draws at least some attention. It’s a race to see what happens first, the public starts demanding the heads of these cops and their political enablers, or we slip into a true authoritarian society.

      1. We “slip[ped] into a true authoritarian society” long, long ago.

  7. “lawful orders” – so no Simon Says?

    1. Freedom means asking permission and taking orders.

      1. The Tulpa Way?

  8. Who in their right mind would ever want to be a cop?

    You would have to a loser.

    1. Someone who wants to strut around like a peacock and beat the living shit out of anyone who doesn’t immediately obey their every word.

      1. i.e., a loser.

  9. he could face seven years in jail if convicted on the most serious count.

    Or, he could agree to undergo a thirty minute anger management training session endorsed by the union, after which all charges will be dropped and a letter of commendation will be placed in his file. The mayor will call him and thank him personally fore his many years of devoted service to the people of New York City.

    1. Do you think Herr Mayor would give him stock tips, as well?

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