Colorado journalist says she was detained for taking photos

Posted at 3:48 PM, Jul 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-06 17:48:27-04

DENVER (AP) — An editor for a Colorado online investigative news publication said Friday she was handcuffed by Denver police after she started photographing them standing around a handcuffed man sitting naked on a downtown sidewalk.

Susan Greene of The Colorado Independent reported that an officer standing near the man, who was lying on a sidewalk near the state capitol, told her to stop shooting photos. When she refused, she said, she was handcuffed and put into a patrol car Thursday.

Greene said the officer ignored her assertions that she had a First Amendment right to take photos on a public sidewalk. Colorado law protects the public's right to record the actions of peace officers.

She said she was released after the officer consulted with someone on his cellphone.

Denver's police department didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but later tweeted that they have opened up an internal affairs investigation into the matter. 

Greene said she was driving when she spotted the scene, pulled over and began to shoot pictures. As she was being pushed toward the police car, she said she complained the officers were hurting her — and that they said she was hurting herself by resisting.

Greene said a police sergeant later assured her he would look into the incident and ensure evidence was preserved for review. She also filed formal requests under the Colorado Open Records Act for records both about the incident and about what happened with the unidentified man on the sidewalk, she said.

Greene worked at newspapers in California and Nevada before joining The Denver Post as a reporter and columnist. She and a Post colleague were finalists for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting about the destruction of DNA evidence in criminal cases. She joined the Independent in 2013.