Posts Tagged 'Mike Anzaldi'

Photojournalist Captures Citizen’s Arrest

We wrote about Chicago freelance photojournalist Mike Anzaldi’s brushes with the law last year. And now it seems Anzaldi has found himself in the news again, though this time because he caught a citizen’s arrest on film. He narrates the incident in the above video.

Article via Chicago Now.

Selective Outrage for Journalist Arrests

I feel for the Current TV journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, that are being held in North Korea right now for illegally entering the country. They’ve been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor, and they must be scared to death. But journalists get arrested and convicted all over the world, and right here in the US – all the time.

Reporter Diane Bukowski was just fined $4,000 and sentenced to 200 hours of community service for doing her job in Detroit. Photojournalist Mike Anzaldi was arrested twice – and put in jail – for doing his job in Chicago. Democracy Now! host Amy Goldman was arrested at the Democratic National Convention in Minneapolis. The list goes on.

So why does this story provoke such outrage? A big part of it I’m sure is because one of the journalists is the sister of TV personality Lisa Ling. But the other side of it is that we like to act high and mighty and righteous, as if our country is so much more evolved that we’d never trample on the rights of a member of the press. It also doesn’t hurt that the offending country is much-hated, nuke-loving North Korea, one-third of the famed axis of evil. Implicitly we’re saying “What barbarians, those North Koreans!”, but the fact that most mainstream media outlets don’t cover these domestic incidents says a lot about us too.

Court Clears Chicago Photojournalist

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Photo by CatalogThis

For those of you who followed the story here back in October and November, you’ll remember that Mike Anzaldi is the freelance photojournalist who was unjustly (some would say ridiculously) arrested twice in Chicago for trying to shoot footage at crime scenes. The conclusion to the story is that a judge finally ruled in his favor, but the path to that point was predictably convoluted and drawn out.

After several court dates over the past few months, and coverage by the Chicago Tribune, the city and state decided that they would indeed press forward and charge Anzaldi with breaking the law. (Anzaldi heard that the coverage by the Tribune was in part responsible for the decision to move forward.) He was charged with two ordinance violations by the city and three counts of obstruction by the state.

Anzaldi picks up the story here:

Several court appearances went by with no real clear indication of what I was being charged with. The judge agreed, but allowed the state to amend their charges so that they made sense. This happened a few times. If it sounds silly, believe me, it was better being there. Even after the judge held the state’s hand through these pre-trial follies, the state still didn’t satisfy the court. 

The day of the trial, my attorney made a few pre-trial motions to dismiss a couple of the charges. The state was arguing that I obstructed the commander by filming. My attorney argued that it was impossible to obstruct by filming. The judge agreed, and tossed out that charge. The problem for the state was that their whole case was based on that notion; they argued that my filming created a chilling effect to the people who were gathered around me when the commander came over to interview them about the shooting. Never mind that it never happened. There was no interviewing, and no one was chilled.

 But, that was their made-up story, and they were going with it. Again, the judge threw that out before the trial began, so it was like the whole day, and their whole strategy, was out the window by 10 a.m. The rest of the charges were equally hollow and ridiculous.

At the end of the day, the judge admonished the state for failing to defend their claims.  He also mentioned that the commander’s testimony was surprisingly different than what was recorded on tape. While stopping short of calling him a liar, he said he didn’t understand why he would testify something different from what we would see on tape.

That said, the judge also indicated that if the state had successfully argued that their case was based on me chilling potential witnesses due to my filming, that he would have likely accepted that claim. Again, that didn’t actually happen, nor did the state have that opportunity due to their own incompetence.

Anzaldi is contemplating his next move. And he still has his video of the first incident, which he says is fairly tame, but it does prove his innocence without question. He says he may or may not release it one day.

And the Chicago Tribune Is Now Onboard

Looks like the hometown paper finally picked up the Mike Anzaldi story. Now we’ll likely see some results.

(As much as certain people decry it – i.e., politicians, cops, Fox News – when a major news outlet covers a story, it matters. It’ll be a sad day when newspapers are officially dead.)

Chicago Photographer Arrested Again – CPD on the Warpath

bond2Monique Bond, CPD Spokesperson

UPDATE: Mike Anzaldi has been cleared of all charges. Read the post here.

We checked back in with Mike Anzaldi, the freelance photojournalist who was arrested by the Chicago Police Department October 22 at a crime scene. Thinking we’d hear about the status of his arrest, we were shocked to learn he’d been arrested again – and the second offense is even more outlandish than the first!

As we posted before, Anzaldi was arrested and his equipment was confiscated, and about 500 images were deleted from his memory card, when the Chicago police decided that he wasn’t allowed to film a crime scene from a neighbor’s private property. He was charged with obstruction and resisting arrest and his status hearing is set for November 19.

On November 3, Anzaldi responded to a report of shots fired at a church. When he got there, it turned out a man had brought a plastic gun into a shelter and there was no crime after all, but Anzaldi decided to shoot a few minutes of footage just in case. As he was doing this, he was approached by an officer who told him he couldn’t stand where he was standing and then asked to see his credentials.

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This officer called his name into the dispatcher – here’s where it gets weird – and the dispatcher apparently told her to detain him. The officers on the scene were confused and clearly not in the loop, but nonetheless were following orders from above. After some back and forth with higher-ups, the officer told Anzaldi that there was some sort of problem with his ID but the computer in her car was broken, so she asked him to come to the station to clear things up. They promised it would take 15 minutes and they’d return him to his car. Anzaldi admits it was foolish of him to willingly go with them, but understand it from his point of view – it was not a crime scene, he had done nothing wrong, it was not a confrontational situation, and he never imagined anything would come of it.

Continue reading ‘Chicago Photographer Arrested Again – CPD on the Warpath’

Update: Arrested Photog’s Photos Recovered

Photo by Mike Anzaldi

In regards to freelance photojournalist Mike Anzaldi’s brush with the law earlier this week: Yes, he has recovered all the photos the Chicago Police Department erased from his memory card.

While journalists don’t always have their rights, they do have technology.

No Shooting Shootings, Says Chicago Police

Photo by Mike Anzaldi

This kind of thing is expected in someplace like Nepal or China, but … Chicago?

Freelance photojournalist Mike Anzaldi was arrested on Tuesday by the Chicago Police Department while covering a shooting in the Englewood section of the city. He was charged with resisting and obstructing a peace officer, held for nine hours and had about 500 images deleted from his memory card.

No doubt tensions were high since an off-duty detective was involved in the shooting, but Freedom of the Press should apply at all news events, regardless. And as long as journalists abide by the law, law enforcement should too.

We asked Anzaldi for his side of the story. He frequently covers breaking news in Chicago, and when he heard about an officer-involved fatal shooting on the radio, he arrived at the scene and was shooting images and video on the property of a neighbor with about 20-25 other bystanders. The problem, he says, arrived in the form of Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Monique Bond.

Continue reading ‘No Shooting Shootings, Says Chicago Police’



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