June 27th, 2011 by Mickey Osterreicher
Emily Good, the Rochester social activist who was arrested while she videotaped Rochester police performing a traffic stop from the front lawn of her home had all charges againstÂ her dropped today. Ms. Good was charged with NYS Criminal Procedure Law Â§ 195.05 – Obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, whereby a
“person is guilty of obstructing governmental administration when [s]he intentionally obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from performing an official function, by means of intimidation, physical force or interference, or by means of any independently unlawful act . . . .” Obstructing governmental administration is a class A misdemeanor.
Reports say that the legal question was: did the evidence satisfy the elements of the crime charged under NYS law? Accordingly, prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Good used “intimidation, physical force or interference” to disrupt the police traffic stop. Since she was 10 to 15 feet from the police and doing nothing to interfere with police other than videotaping the People would not have been able to meet their burden.
Last week NPPA general counsel, Mickey Osterreicher sent aÂ letter to the Rochester Mayor and Police Chief objecting to her arrest and requesting that all charges be dropped. He also requested that the police begin an investigation into the matter which both the Mayor and Chief agreed to do. The incident was covered extensively by the media and seen widely on YouTube.
There has been a recent increase in these types incidents involving the arrest and/or detention of photographers exercising their First Amendment rights. NPPA has been involved in some of them, which have occured in Baltimore, MD, Miami Beach, Fl, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Buffalo, NY and Washington, DC.