The Crime of Photographing (or Reporting) a Crime

But now there’s yet another concern to add to the list: getting deported. Photojournalist Geraldo Carlos was taking pictures for a story about illegal dumping for a Brazilian-oriented newspaper in Newark, NJ, when he found a woman’s body in a plastic bag.

Stories abound of run-ins between the cops and photographers are getting more and more frequent, as confusion grows over what and where it's legal to photograph.

When Carlos reported the crime, one of the first questions he was asked was if he had a Green Card. Reportedly, when he replied that his visa had expired, his camera was confiscated. Later, when his editor, Roberto Lima went to the police station to object to the demand that the newspaper turn over all the photos that Carlos had taken, Lima said he was handcuffed to a bench and briefly detained.

The issue in this case is less about censoring photographers (although confiscating other work by the photographer seems unnecessary), instead it brings to light a growing fear in the immigrant community about being questioned about immigration status when reporting crime.

Police are prohibited from questioning victims or witnesses about their immigration status, and Newark City Councilman Augusto Amado has called for an investigation into the incident.
—Kathleen Davis
Assistant Editor