Friday, May 11, 2007

Stringer and The Man

I didn't begin this blog to keep track of photog altercations, but since I need fresh content, let's get started! Lately, there's been some bad voodoo between cops and news shooters, two groups that most often get along, albeit begrudgingly. The most recent case happened just down the road in Smithfield (home of Ava Gardner!), where freelance photographer Carter Rabil got a free ride downtown after refusing to move for law enforcers. Holy F-Bomb! I'm no expert in police-media relations and aside from a few half-watched Matlock episodes, I don't know diddly about the law. But even a rube like myself knows better than to hurl obscenities at a uniformed officer and expect him to do anything but decorate my wrists in court-appointed bling-bling. Did I just say 'bling-bling'? Egads...

Perhaps I'm just rattled by all the conflict. Like Rodney King, I just want everybody 'to get along'. Unlike King, I ain't got a rap sheet that dates back to 1987. Which makes me the average photog - a working class lenslinger who will do anything to get that shot, 'cept curse a cop and go to the pokey. There's just no honor in it. More often than not, such crime scene shenanigans are showboating anyway; puffy-chested posturing by cops who hate photogs or by photogs who hate cops. Fellas, please - is one more shot of crumpled sheet-metal worth a night in the slammer? And officers, why must you single out the lowly photogs when Sally Sue Sixpack and her six ugly kids are trampling through the debris field even as we speak? Huh? If there's a lesson here, it's simply this: Don't tell the cops to' get the $#@! out of your way' - unless you got time to kill and a real hankerin' to be on YouTube. Remember, can't make slot from the back of a squad car.

You can however sample the most troubling of aromas, but that's the subject of another post.


Anonymous said...

What was the photog thinking?! That first cop was bending over backward to be patient. Just get out of the way. What are you going to get that you can't get 20 feet further back?

Anonymous said...

" Smithfield Police
Among media types, Smithfield police don’t have the reputation of being good to work with. The latest evidence of this was the arrest of Carter Rabil, a freelance photographer working for WTVD-TV. Rabil was trying to film a wreck scene on April 26th. According to police Rabil was arrested after “stepping amidst” body tissues and parts of a wrecked moped that had hit a large truck. They say he was ordered to move and cursed Captain Bruce Gentry.

Rabil says he was standing behind the police tape that blocked the scene and that the Smithfield police used excessive force, assaulted him, and were uncooperative with him trying to do his job. Rabil says this isn’t the first time he has been threatened with arrest him at crime scenes over the years. We hear the SBI has been called in to investigate. The internal investigation found no wrongdoing by officers.

Maybe so, maybe not. But media people who work with them say they need to attend charm school."

NC Spin