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Friday, May 30, 2008
City Cop Attacks KOB-TV Photographer
By T.J. Wilham
Journal Staff Writer
A KOB-TV photographer shooting video near a crime scene early Thursday morning was attacked by an Albuquerque police officer who had ordered him to move.
And it was all caught on tape, which the station has been broadcasting on its newscasts and its Web site.
Channel 4 cameraman Rick Foley, a 25-year veteran, was covering a police standoff near Copper and Charleston NE when officer Daniel Guzman told him to move to a different location, according to an Albuquerque police report.
Foley at the time was some distance from the police cars blocking the street.
Before the incident, Foley asked Guzman to identify himself, and he asked for Guzman's badge number.
Shortly after the officer told Foley he needed to move, the video shows the officer pacing and sizing up the photographer, then lunging at him.
Foley was handcuffed, placed in the back of a police car and cited for "refusing to obey an officer," according to a police report.
KOB-TV said in its newscast that Foley was preparing to pack up his van and leave when the attack occurred, but he had kept the camera running while moving.
Foley was eventually released.
Guzman, who has been with APD a little more than a year, wrote in his citation: "Mr. Foley refused to obey my lawful order to relocate himself to Central and Rhode Island. Foley was asked several times to move as he filmed me, sticking his camera in my face."
Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz said Thursday that he had not seen the video, although he was going to request that the city's independent review officer investigate the incident.
"If the officer is wrong, we will clearly take responsibility for it and address it," Schultz said. "This is one of those areas where we do periodic training, and this might be one of those instances we might have to do again."
The incident marks the second time a KOB cameraman and Albuquerque police officers have clashed in recent years.
In October 2006, officers detained KOB cameraman Jeremy Fine while he was filming the aftermath of a balloon crash.
Fine was asked by an officer to leave the area. Fine objected, saying he was allowed to go where the public could go.
Schultz said an investigation into that incident determined the officers acted inappropriately. They were ordered to go through further training, he saud.
KOB-TV news director Rhonda Aubrey declined to comment when asked whether she thought there was a systemic problem with the way APD treats news cameramen.
"We felt (this incident) is newsworthy because of the way our photographer was treated," Aubrey said. "He was out on a public street, he was not interfering with a police investigation, and he was not behind a police line.
"We are airing (the video) so people can draw their own collusions."
Police spokesman John Walsh said Thursday that he had received complaints from other journalists saying that officers had asked them to leave the area of a crime they were covering.
Walsh said that each time he has addressed the incident with an officer and was able to reach a resolution.
"I don't believe this is a systemic problem," Walsh said. "Our officers interact with media representatives on a daily basis and have a very good working relationship."