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Chicago's Secret Police

The Chicago Headline Club, the largest chapter of Society of Professional Journalists in the country, strongly protests the arrest of a journalist, Mike Anzaldi, and confiscation of his equipment at the scene of a police shooting Oct. 21.

Anzaldi, a free-lance photographer for Spot News Chicago, a 12-year veteran of Chicago news coverage, and holder of police credentials, was charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer. His two digital cameras were confiscated and Anzaldi said his still photos - approximately 500 photographs - were deleted after covering a crime scene that involved an attempted armed robber who was shot and killed by an off-duty Chicago Police officer. Anzaldi's video camera and videotape were also confiscated and still have not been returned.

Police said they arrested Anzaldi because he crossed police tape at the scene of the shooting and thus violated the Municipal Code. "I never crossed the police tape," Anzaldi said Wednesday in a phone conversation with the Chicago Headline Club.

However, the City of Chicago Municipal Code permits, under 4-328-010: No person shall pass police and fire lines for the purpose of gathering and editing spot news or photographing news events unless such person is a legal holder of a news media credential as provided herein.

"Regardless of whether Anzaldi crossed the line or not it seems pretty clear that the police crossed the line," said David Cuillier, chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists' Freedom of Information Committee. "A journalist is doing his job gathering information for the public, not hurting anyone and police cuff him, drag him to jail, take his equipment, and then delete information they don't want the public to see. That sounds a lot like Russia to me, not America. The right thing to do is drop charges, apologize, and move on."

The Chicago Headline Club asks that charges against Anzaldi be dismissed and his equipment, with film intact, be returned immediately. Anzaldi's digital cameras were returned at his release at 9:20 p.m. Tuesday night, but with his photos were erased. Later, Anzaldi was able to retrieve his photos through a photo recovery process.


* Mike Anzaldi on

* What role did police spokesperson Monique Bond play?

* Spot News Chicago


Posted on October 24, 2008

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