Posts Tagged 'New Hampshire'

Accident/Crime Scene Photographer Found Guilty

 Brian Blackden is the enthusiastic Concord, NH, freelance photographer who works crime and accident scenes often wearing protective safety gear. We posted on him before, when in November he was arrested for an incident that took place in August, and last week he was found guilty of impersonating an emergency worker. 

As The Concord Monitor reports:

Concord District Court Judge Gerard Boyle handed down his verdict at theof Blackden’s trial yesterday afternoon, also finding the photographer guilty of displaying red emergency lights without authorization on the ambulance he brought to the Interstate 93 crash scene Aug. 25. He fined Blackden $1,000 for each of the two crimes and ordered him to pay a $240 penalty assessment but didn’t sentence him to jail time.

Blackden’s attorney, Penny Dean, said he will appeal the impersonating emergency personnel conviction to the Merrimack County Superior Court. Blackden is also suing the state police for allegedly violating his First Amendment rights by seizing his camera at the accident scene.

In related accident-and-crime-scene news, reports that the Connecticut State Senate passed a law that would make it illegal for police officers, paramedics and other first responders to photograph victims at crime and accident scenes and then distribute those photos to others. The bill was in response to a New London police officer who took photos of the victim of a fatal heroin overdose in 2009 and shared them. The bill only applies to photos taken outside the first responder’s job description.

NH Accident Scene Photographer Arrested

We posted on Brian Blackden a few months back — he’s the freelance photographer who works crime and fire scenes in Concord, NH for the First Responder newspaper and web site. At a fatal traffic accident in August, a state trooper confiscated Blackden’s camera, and then an investigation was launched into whether or not he was interfering in the scene and impersonating an emergency responder. (Blackden likes to wear safety gear that may resemble an emergency responder’s, but his helmet clearly says photographer.)

Well, now the results of that investigation are in — and Blackden’s been arrested. He’s been charged with two misdemeanors: obstruction of government administration and impersonating rescue personnel, in addition to two motor vehicle violations.

Blackden is apparently well-known among local media, emergency responders and police, and usually is able to photograph incidents with no problem. He’s also an enthusiast, no doubt. The state police didn’t know him though, and as happens so often, they overreacted. Because the fact of the matter is, if the guy has media credentials AND is photographing in public, there doesn’t seem to be laws that are being broken here.

According to Blackden’s lawyer, the state police sent seven officers — 7! — along with the second in command to execute a search and arrest warrant at Blackden’s home, even though he’d already volunteered to turn himself in.

If nothing else, that tells you right there this is more about the police department’s ego and assumed self-importance than the rights guaranteed in the constitution.

Source: WMUR

Accident Scene Photog Could Be Charged

Brian Blackden photographs crime and fire scenes in and around Concord, NH working for the 1st Responder newspaper and web site and as a freelancer. He even travels in a van emblazoned with “1st Responder News” and wears safety gear. But yesterday, at a fatal traffic accident, he came upon some officers who didn’t appreciate him taking photos while in a fire coat and helmet. So a state trooper confiscated his camera and now they are considering charging him with impersonating an emergency responder.

“You apparently have a member of the general public dressing as a firefighter to gain entry into areas they normally wouldn’t have access to, for their financial benefit,” [State Police Lt. Scott] Sweet said.

Blackden … said he has never posed as a firefighter or EMT. His fire helmet, he noted, says “photographer.” Blackden said he is often allowed into the thick of fire scenes in the Concord area to get up-close shots, but he said his clothing has nothing to do with it. Rather, it’s because of “a good rapport and working relationship with the different departments,” he said.

Regarding his confiscated camera, police said they are holding onto it until they can determine what exactly went on at the scene — and they want to see if he took photos of the deceased victim.

This story stinks from every angle. Blackden might be a little eccentric, sure, but he had media credentials, and taking his camera amounts to an illegal search and seizure. Was there no crime scene tape? Could he not have been told to get back? And since when is it a crime to take photos of deceased accident victims? This did all happen in public. You can’t tweak and/or override the law because you’re irritated someone got too close.

Article from Concord Monitor

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