An internal investigation has begun into allegations that an Albuquerque police officer took a camera away from a local TV reporter working on a story.
The reporter, Cristina Rodda, 34, is facing a criminal trespassing charge after following a tip that a rave was going to be held at a club on Albuquerque’s West Side, according to KOB-TV, the station Rodda works for.
According to the Albuquerque Police Department’s Southwest Area Commander Macario Page, APD is conducting an investigation into what happened April 29 outside Tumbleweed nightclub, including allegations that an officer demanded the reporter’s camera and possibly erased video from it.
Police Officer Stephanie Lopez, who was working overtime at the concert being held at the nightclub, noticed a woman, later identified as Rodda, who stayed in the parking lot filming.
According to a KOB-TV report, Rodda went to Tumbleweed, 12500 Central NW, to check out the tip because six people had been arrested there in February for selling ecstasy during a rave.
The club’s manager told Lopez that when he approached the woman and asked her to leave, she pointed the camera in his face and said, “Are you sure you want to do that?” according to the complaint.
“In the video, a nightclub employee is seen approaching (Rodda) and questioning if she can be there,” the KOB-TV story states. “A KOB photographer was also in the parking lot and said when Rodda was asked to leave, she started walking toward her car.”
Lopez later found Rodda hiding behind a row of cars and as she approached, Rodda began to walk away. Lopez asked her to stop two times until Rodda complied, the complaint states.
When asked what she was doing there, the woman said she was a freelancer for KOB-TV and was trying to get a story. Rodda then gave her driver’s license.
Due to the “large crowd of people” and “activity” going on, as well as the fact she was “trespassing,” Lopez asked Rodda for her camera so it could be viewed by APD’s Special Investigations Division officers, according to the complaint. Rodda “willingly” turned over the camera, the complaint states.
According to the KOB-TV story, Rodda said a police officer hired by the club called her back and “demanded” she turn over the station’s camera. The camera was returned to KOB-TV a few days later, but it appears video from the camera was deleted, according to KOB-TV.
— This article appeared on page 1 of the West Side Journal