News cameraman Philip Datz won a $200,000 settlement from the Suffolk County Police Department stemming from his 2011 arrest at the scene of an investigation.
“This settlement is a victory for the First Amendment and for the public good,” Datz said. “When police arrest journalists just for doing their job, it creates a chilling effect that jeopardizes everyone’s ability to stay informed about important news in their community. Journalists have a duty to cover what the police are doing, and the police should follow the law and respect the First Amendment to ensure they can do that.”
In addition to the monetary award, the county also agreed to implement a new training program and create a Police-Media Relations Committee, according to the National Press Photographers Association.
In a video of the arrest, Suffolk County Police Sergeant Michael Milton tells Datz repeatedly to “go away.”
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” Milton says. “There’s nothing you can hold over my head or anybody out there.”