Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, sent a letter to the chief of the San Francisco police department denouncing the seizure of material and property from the home and office of freelance videographer Bryan Carmody on May 10, 2019.
"While other First Amendment organizations have already condemned that raid," Osterreicher wrote, "we also wish to express our disagreement with your reported comments defending that search and seizure." Given the safeguards provided by state and federal law, these actions have a "chilling effect of the First and Fourth Amendment guarantees under the U.S. Constitution, we respectfully request that your department return all property seized from Mr. Carmody..." Osterreicher said.
Additionally, the NPPA joined in an amicus brief with Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 58 other media organizations in support Carmody.
Reported upon last week by various media outlets, the Columbia Journalism Review's "The threat and the irony of the San Francisco stringer raid" gives background into California shield law and Carmody's reputation in the Bay Area.
"Carmody is an imperfect free-speech martyr," Tony Biasotti wrote in the CJR. "Other Bay Area journalists describe him as something of a troll, barraging them with angry tweets when they reported stories critical of the police, or when they were arrested while covering protests. But there is a consensus among journalists and free press advocates that this police raid crossed a line."
The NPPA is an active advocate for the legal rights of visual journalists and works with its members to understand the law and their constitutional rights.
The letter is here.
The amicus document is here.
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