A New York City cop who arrested a New York Times photographer last year to prevent him from photographing an arrest was charged with falsifying records Monday, a charge that could land him in prison for seven years.
Although we know he will never spend a a day in jail, it is refreshing that the Bronx District Attorney’s Office even brought the case before a grand jury in the first place.
After all, cops falsifying records is something that takes place on a daily basis throughout the country, which is why so many of them take issue with citizens recording them.
NYPD officer Michael Ackerman claimed that Robert Stolarik had repeatedly fired a flash in his face, which blinded him and I imagine, caused him to fear for his life.
But it turns out, there was no flash on Stolarik’s camera.
However, that didn’t stop another cop from shoving the camera in Stolarik’s face, which prompted the photographer to demand their names and badge numbers. That, of course, prompted six cops to pounce on him where one cop ended up with a cut hand, which lead to the claim that Stolarik had “violently resisted.”
Everything in this story is straight out of the police playbook we have seen so many times over the years, attacking the photographer, only to claim the photographer had attacked them, then claiming the camera was used as some kind of weapon.
The only difference is that one cop ended up facing criminal charges.
According to the New York Times:
A New York City police officer who had arrested a photographer working for The New York Times has been indicted on three felony counts and five misdemeanors accusing him of fabricating the reasons for the arrest, the Bronx district attorney announced on Monday.
The officer, Michael Ackermann, 30, claimed that the photographer interfered with an arrest last year of a teenage girl by repeatedly discharging his camera’s flash in Officer Ackermann’s face. But the officer’s account unraveled after the office of Robert T. Johnson, the Bronx district attorney, examined photographic evidence and determined that the photographer, Robert Stolarik, did not use a flash and did not have one on his camera at the time. Prosecutors added that no other officers or civilian witnesses reported seeing a flash.
Officer Ackermann, 30, was arraigned at State Supreme Court in the Bronx. He was charged with several counts related to filing false records and official misconduct. If convicted on the top count, he faces up to seven years in prison and could lose his job. He was released without bail pending the outcome of the case.
When an officer told Mr. Stolarik to stop taking pictures of a girl being arrested, he identified himself as a Times journalist and continued taking pictures. Another officer grabbed his camera and slammed it into his face, Mr. Stolarik said at the time. As he asked for their badge numbers, the officers took his cameras and pulled him to the ground.