Friday, June 16, 2017

NY Reporter Handcuffed For Taking Photos In Courthouse Hall

Dowty in black shirt
A court security officer handcuffed a reporter for and The Post-Standard Thursday morning after the reporter took pictures of an arrest in the hallway of the Onondaga County Courthouse.

The New York state court officer ordered the reporter, Douglass Dowty, to turn over his cell phone then handcuffed him about 10:45 a.m.

Dowty's hands were cuffed behind his back for about five minutes and he remained in police custody for 10 minutes before other court officers released him.

Dowty was not charged.

Journalists have long been allowed to take photos and videos in the courthouse's hallways. About a year ago, signs were posted warning the public not to take pictures in the hallways. Court administrators, however, said journalists could continue to film and shoot pictures.

Dowty was covering courts this morning when a fight broke out outside the trial of a man accused of murder.

Court security officers had surrounded a man who was pressed against a window, Dowty said. One of the officers told the man repeatedly to relax, but he appeared agitated and told them he wasn't resisting, Dowty said.

Dowty took a photo of papers strewn on the ground then crossed at a safe distance between the man and a courtroom door, he said. He then took two more photos of the officers surrounding the man.

As the officers led the man away, Dowty took two more photos, he said.

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