War on Cameras

Corrections Officers Threaten to Arrest News Crew Over Innocuous Footage, Prevent Crew From Complying With Order to Leave


respect his authoritah
News Channel 13

A news crew from News Channel 13 out of Albany, New York was harassed by a corrections officer while filming a stand-up near a soon-to-be-abandoned prison in Wilton. The officer told them they couldn't film near the prison without permission from the state government. The news crew was actually okay with this and willing to comply. Reporter Mark Mulholland told the corrections officer the crew was going to relocate to a nearby public historical site, Grant's Cottage, where Ulysses S. Grant died.

That's where things turned South. At the beginning of the encounter the officer told the cameraman not to film him but the cameraman, knowing his law, continued to film the officer and his interaction with Mulholland. The footage (watch below) shows that the corrections officer was opposed to Mullholland filming at the public historical site—a location that was open at the time, that tourists were visiting, and in which the news crew had filmed yesterday.

Mulholland pushed back as the corrections officer exceeded his authority by trying to prohibit that as well and remove them from the entire mountain. The footage shows the correctional officer also display an unprofessional and embarrassing attitude for a law enforcement official. After the news crew departed for Grant's College, another corrections officer blocked the road—allowing other cars through but not the news crew. Then corrections officers called state police and tried to confiscate the news crew's video because it contained footage of an abandoned prison, threatening the crew with arrest. Executives from the news station had to call state officials to resolve the situation.

The Department of Corrections (DOC) released a statement to the station regretting the escalation but avoiding responsibility:

"We regret that this situation escalated, however the WNYT news crew blatantly disregarded a state officer who informed them they were trespassing. Department regulations state that photographs taken while on Prison property require prior permission. This policy is for the safety of all staff, visitors and prisoners."

News Channel 13 notes there haven't been any prisoners at the soon-to-be abandoned prison in several months. The footage, which you can watch as part of the segment below, appears to contradict the rest of the DOC's narrative:

h/t Adam P.