Cops: News cameraman arrested in Bohemia
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Suffolk police on Friday arrested a news cameraman in Bohemia who was trying to videotape the aftermath of a police chase, officials said Saturday.
The cameraman, Phil Datz, was charged with misdemeanor obstruction of governmental administration, police said. The department said it is investigating the case.
Datz said he was standing on a public street open to pedestrians and vehicles when a Fifth Precinct sergeant approached and demanded he leave.
Datz said the officer had approached within seconds of Datz's beginning to film.
"There are two people standing right next to where I was that the cop didn't have a problem with," Datz said in an interview. "The street was open the whole time."
Datz said he eventually moved a block away and continued to shoot video. That is when the sergeant arrested him, he said.
In a statement issued Saturday, the Suffolk County Police Department said: "The department is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Mr. Datz."
A department spokesman declined to say anything more about the incident or give the department's policy for filming on public streets.
No one was hurt in the chase, which began in Ronkonkoma and ended on Sycamore in Bohemia, police said. It involved Camilo Tatis, 24, and Ramon Rivera, 33, both of Brentwood, who were arrested on drug and other charges, police said.
Datz, 34, of Valley Stream, who works for Stringer News Service, was issued a desk appearance ticket and is due in court later this year.