DETROIT - A Detroit Free Press photographer is thrown behind bars for something many of us do regularly, but one police officer thought she crossed the line.
Veteran photojournalist Mandi Wright, 47, was training a reporter on how to use an iPhone camera when they came across several police cars near a credit union last Thursday in Detroit. Wright began recording when she was told by a police officer, who the Free Press says was not wearing any identifying gear such as a badge or shirt, to back up.
Video recorded by Wright shows the officer tell her to back up twice. When the photographer identifies herself as a working journalist, the officer is heard telling her he doesn't care who she is.
"You have a right to be in a public street, you have a right to film a police action. And that's all we were doing," Detroit Free Press Editor and Publisher Paul Anger told Action News.
The Free Press alleges the officer grabbed Wright's camera, and within minutes put her in handcuffs and under arrest. Anger says Wright acted properly and wasn't too close to the situation. He says she didn't cross any police tape and was on the public sidewalk.
Anger, who went to the police precinct that evening, says Wright was put in the same interrogation room as the suspect, who he was told is a convicted felon. Wright told Anger she was briefly left alone with the suspect in the room.
Wright was released nearly eight hours after the initial incident, and no charges have been filed. Before leaving the precinct, she received her iPhone, but its SIM card was missing. While Anger did not explicitly say officers removed the card, he suggested removing it unintentionally would be difficult. "You have to sort of straighten a paperclip and pry it out of there, so it takes quite a little bit of effort to get that card out of the phone," said Anger.
The missing card has prompted an internal investigation by the Detroit Police Department. The video, which was also recorded on Wright's iPhone, is also being reviewed by investigators.
Our attempts to receive comment from the Detroit police were unsuccessful. At this time, Wright is out of the state on a pre-planned vacation.
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