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CHC, INBA Reaffirm Support for Arrested Videographer

Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Two leading news organizations, Chicago Headline Club and Illinois News Broadcasters Association, in a letter to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Police Supt. Jody Weis, strongly protest that a videographer now faces three charges instead of the initial single charge. The CHC and INBA in October had called for immediate dismissal of the charge against Mike Anzaldi of Spot News and immediate release of his video equipment and recordings. Both organizations now urge that all charges be dismissed.

Anzaldi, a holder of Chicago Police Department credentials, was originally charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer at an Oct. 21 crime scene.

Police, at the request of the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, released Anzaldi’s equipment. However, in further endangerment of journalists’ First Amendment rights, the state’s attorney’s office in court Dec. 4 amended the single complaint to make it three:

  • obstructing a police officer
  • failing to leave crime scene
  • failing to show credentials when ordered

Anzaldi’s trial was set for 9 a.m. Dec. 17 at the courthouse 555 W. Harrison St. To prepare for trial, Anzaldi voluntarily turned over to the state’s attorney’s office the original videotape he shot as he was arrested. The prosecution sought the tape to examine it for edits, saying the copy they received has “issues.”

To help inform journalists of the police media rules, the Headline Club has posted all available Chicago police media rules on its Web site, headlineclub.org. Police have said they will revise the rules by February, when credentials for 2009 will be issued.

In the light of the Anzaldi arrest and the increased media coverage of Chicago, we believe every street reporter should be fully aware of the rules, both now and after the revisions.

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