Police body camera footage released on Tuesday shows an altercation between two Denver police officers and a journalist from the Colorado Independent, in which the officers tell the woman to “act like a lady” as they handcuff her.
Susan Greene, a reporter and editor at the newspaper, was handcuffed and detained for more than 10 minutes after she attempted to film the Denver police surrounding a nearly naked African-American man sitting handcuffed on the sidewalk on July 5, according to Greene’s account. The man was taken to the hospital and released later that evening, the city said.
The investigative reporter was driving along East Colfax Avenue near the Colorado State Capitol Building when she approached the scene. According to Greene’s article about the incident, she was filming with her iPhone when Officer James Brooks came over and blocked her camera. In the footage, the officer cites the man’s right to medical privacy per the HIPAA Privacy Rule as the reason she was not permitted to film him.
Officer Adam Paulsen joins Brooks, and they tell the journalist that the First Amendment does not supersede HIPAA.
The officers then tell Greene, “Step away, or you’ll be arrested for interference.” Shortly after a second warning, the officers handcuff Greene. “Stand up straight. Act like a lady,” Paulsen can be heard saying in the video.
“Stand up and act like a lady,” Brooks echoes.
Greene states that the officers are hurting her as she is led to the back of a squad car and police tell her to “stop resisting.” She was detained for roughly 10 minutes in the police car and then released.
District Attorney Beth McCann informed Greene last week that the D.A.’s office will not press charges against the officers.
Greene wrote about her call with McCann after the decision was made: “[McCann] said a charge of false imprisonment wasn’t an option because there’s an exemption for cops. And she said her office likely would have a tough time convincing a jury that Brooks assaulted me.
“I asked McCann about her take on the incident beyond the question of criminality. ‘I don’t know that he knew you were a journalist, for one thing,’ she said. ‘But people are entitled to take pictures as long as people are not’ getting in the way of police. She added that Brooks’ comment ‘Act like a lady’ ‘was a little unnecessary.'”
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