Detroit Free Press photographer Mandi Wright was arrested on Thursday after she filmed officers making a separate arrest on a public street.
In her footage, Wright showed several officers leading a handcuffed man to a police car, when a man in plain clothing approached her and requested that she turn off the camera on her phone. When she identified herself as a reporter for Free Press, the man replied that he didn’t care who she was and reached for her phone.
The footage shakes as the two struggle for possession over the phone, and off-camera Wright can be heard accusing the man of touching her.
The man finally grabbed Wright’s phone, but she tackled him and was arrested for interfering in police business.
Wright later found that the man was an officer, though he was out of uniform.
Wright was allegedly detained with the man she had filmed being arrested and was asked personal questions about her name and address. After six hours, she was released with no charges and her phone was returned, though the memory card was missing.
The video, however, had been saved in the phone’s internal memory.
If Wright’s accusations are factual, it could mean a serious breach of department policy.
“Some of the police actions all through this incident need scrutiny — not the actions of our photographer,” Paul Anger, editor and publisher of Free Press, said in defense of Wright’s actions.
Deputy Chief James Tolbert said he would remind officers of citizens’ right to film police affairs, as long as they are not interfering. Tolbert said the right was especially important to the press.