After receiving numerous complaints about the NYPD’s actions at the Jordan Neely protest earlier this week, New York City’s police watchdog opened an investigation into the arr*st of a photojournalist.
On Wednesday, Arva Rice, chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, said the agency had received complaints after more than ten protesters, including credentialed photographer Stephanie Keith, were arr*sted at the demonstration on Monday.
“Unfortunately, we have already received several complaints regarding NYPD intervention during these protests, including the arrest of a credentialed photojournalist,” Rice said at the CCRB’s monthly meeting.
“The CCRB is here to protect New Yorkers’ right to peacefully protest and will work to hold officers who violated that right accountable.”
Monday night, protesters gathered outside the Broadway-Lafayette police station to voice their outrage at Neely’s de@th, which they believe was caused by a chokehold. High-ranking police officers can be heard shouting “Get on the sidewalk!” as video footage shows Keith and another photojournalist making their way through the situation.
A short while later, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell grabbed Keith by the arm and ordered two community affairs officers to “lock her up.” A second photojournalist is detained without being taken into custody. “I was trying to photograph and literally the next second I was grabbed,” Keith told The Post.
“It was completely traumatic,” she said of being arr*sted. “My wrists are still bruised and my thumbs have no feeling in them. They really messed up my hands, which is terrible because I’m a photographer,” she said, breaking down in tears.
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When the two officers grabbed Keith, she replied: “I’m press, I’m press. I’m a journalist. I’m press,” she said. “No you’re not,” they replied. “You’re arr*sted.” The award-winning photographer was arr*sted for disruptive behavior; his work has been featured in The New York Times and Reuters.
During a press conference on Monday evening, Chell accused the shutterbug of thwarting three separate arrests. “I absolutely was not interfering with their arrests,” Keith said.
You may view the tweet that relates to the Jordan Neely protest here:
NYPD watchdog opens probe into arrest of photographer during Jordan Neely protest https://t.co/wr9A52fQw4 pic.twitter.com/8JPcZrkmSh
— New York Post (@nypost) May 11, 2023
“If you look at the video, I don’t know what they’re talking about. The press photographers always maintain a very respectful distance. We just want to get a photo of what’s going on. That’s all we want, to get a photo,” she said about the charges.
“I’m not used to being treated with such violence, so it was a very traumatic experience.” And yet, Daniel Penny, the man suspected of killing Neely with a chokehold, has not been arr*sted. To determine whether or whether criminal charges are warranted, a Manhattan grand jury might be summoned as soon as this week.
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