Unprovoked attack on WKYC photojournalist
""Hey, turn that off. What are you filming a policeman
for?" the officer demanded. "I didn't give you permission to do that.""
CLEVELAND -- A WKYC-TV photojournalist on assignment
was confronted by an off-duty Cleveland police officer.
Roberson was working with WKYC reporter Lydia Esparra, checking on the
activities of Cleveland Public School students, who had a third straight
day off because of the weather.
Because idle youngsters had previously caused trouble
in and around Public Square, the news crew began their assignment there.
They found the area generally calm and quiet, and were invited inside
Tower City by employees of a store in The Avenue, the shopping mall
The employees told Esparra and Roberson there was an unusually
large number of youngsters inside, but that mall security was doing
a good job.
Two off-duty Cleveland police officers working for Tower
City noticed the WKYC-TV crew inside the store and confirmed with mall
security that they did have permission to be there.
Suddenly, a third off-duty Cleveland police officer, also
working mall security, appeared at the entrance to the store. "Hey,
turn that off. What are you filming a policeman for?" the officer demanded.
"I didn't give you permission to do that." "I don't need permission,"
correctly replied photojournalist Roberson, who had been given clearance
by the store to be there and to work on the story.
The off-duty officer walked toward Roberson, and pushed
the camera to ground, damaging the camera and injuring Roberson's arm
in the process.
A few minutes later when Roberson re-started the camera,
he was confronted by a representative of Tower City, who put her hand
over the lens and demanded the camera be turned off. "I just got assaulted
by one of your officers here," Roberson explained. "No you didn't,"
the Tower City employee told him. "How can you tell me I didn't?" asked
Roberson, as the Tower City rep continued to keep her hand over the
Roberson was treated at an emergency room for an arm injury.
Cleveland Police Lt. Thomas Stacho, who viewed the tape, said the matter
would be investigated. "Now that we have had an opportunity to review
it, we will turn it over to our investigators, let them review it, interview
all the parties, and get to the bottom of this."
Tower City had promised a faxed statement to WKYC about
the incident, but by mid-evening it still had not arrived to the newsroom.
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