The Chicago Headline Club is championing a Chicago photojournalist arrested Tuesday at a south-side crime scene. Mike Anzaldi, on assignment for SpotNews Chicago, was videotaping as police investigated an incident in the 6200 block of S. Honore where, according to police, an off-duty police officer fatally shot a man who attempted to rob him. SpotNews Chicago provides photos and videos to local news outlets.
The Headline Club says police accused Anzaldi of crossing police tape (something Anzaldi denies) and he was then charged with obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest. His video camera and two digital cameras were confiscated, says the Headline Club, and only the digital cameras were returned to him -- with their photos deleted.
The Headline Club, the Chicago chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, said in a statement that it "strongly protests" Anzaldi's treatment. David Cuillier, chairman of SPJ's Freedom of Information Committee, was quoted as saying, “Regardless of whether Anzaldi crossed the line or not, it seems pretty clear that the police crossed the line. 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."Headline Club president Dawn Reiss says Anzaldi has applied for an SPJ Legal Defense Fund grant to help him fight the charges.