Milwaukee freelance journalist Geoffrey Davidian, 70, tells Romenesko readers:
City of Milwaukee settled the federal civil rights case I filed after a cop broke my camera while I was recording several officers ticketing the victim after a squad car exited an alley and T-boned her car. When reporters and photogs have rights violated, they let their news organizations go to battle for them. But the violation is against the reporter and photog, not just the newspaper.
More power to the news organization that pushes back when an employee is violated, but the reporter or photographer still has a cause of action against rogue cops. We don’t act like the violated rights are our rights. It’s come to the point where we let the company’s rights take precedence over our own.
Anyone who sees the video of Police Officer Joseph Anderer grabbing my camera can see he smirks as he breaks it. Not until every instance of this conduct is challenged will there be justice for individual journalists. Meanwhile, taxpayers bail out these rogue cops all over the country, including repeat offenders like Anderer. I’m happy to share my strategy with any abused journalist and tell them what I did so that they can do it themselves.
* Aug. 26, 2012: Davidian: “I’m not going to go away. I intend to have my story public” (jsonline.com)
* April 21, 2015: City of Milwaukee settles with journalist over his broken camera (jsonline.com) | Video of the incident (youtube.com)