Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Cameraman's Charges Dropped
By Joline Gutierrez Krueger And T.J. Wilham
Journal Staff Writer
The attorney for veteran KOB-TV cameraman Rick Foley claims police illegally searched his client’s news vehicle and failed to read him his Miranda rights before cuffing him, throwing him in the back of a police car and charging him with refusing to obey an officer.
Charges against Foley were dropped Tuesday.
APD officials said Tuesday they were trying to determine if a search had occurred. A police spokesman said it’s common for officers to do an “inventory” during someone’s arrest.
Foley was covering a police standoff near Copper and Charleston NE on May 29 when rookie officer Daniel Guzman told Foley to move to a different location, according to a police report. A video captured by Foley’s camera shows the officer lunging at him. Foley was handcuffed, placed in the back of a police car and cited.
Guzman was placed on administrative leave last weekend pending a disciplinary hearing scheduled for next week.
The refusing to obey charge was dismissed Tuesday after Metro Court Judge Benjamin Chavez ruled that Guzman had not provided sufficient facts, or probable cause, to support the allegation.
Chavez said Guzman had incorrectly used a traffic citation form and not a criminal complaint when citing Foley and that he had only repeated the charge and not the circumstances of the case on the citation.
Chavez dismissed the charge without prejudice, meaning that police can refile the charges at a later date.
“I think this case is dead,” Foley’s attorney, Matthew Coyte, said afterward. “It was dead from the beginning.”
Foley said after Tuesday’s hearing that police never read him his rights before charging him.
In a statement released to the Journal through Coyte, Foley said he watched in “amazement” as police searched his news vehicle without a warrant.
According to legal experts, the law allows police to search vehicles if the driver is in the process of being arrested. If the car is being towed, police can take an “inventory” of the vehicle to make sure valuables don’t come up missing.
Foley was not taken to jail.
APD spokesman John Walsh said officers routinely search the vehicle of someone who is being arrested and taken to jail.
In Foley’s case, Walsh said an officer might have taken inventory anticipating that Foley was going to be taken to jail — if his vehicle was searched at all.
Walsh also noted that neither Foley nor KOB-TV has filed a complaint with the department alleging an illegal search.