I have often said it is never a real good idea to confront someone who has a video camera in hand. Especially these days. The video above is an excerpt from the longer video below and illustrates my point.
The original raw video was posted on the Connecticut Post site yesterday with the story of a fatal crash on I-95 at Exit 23 in Fairfield on Sunday. A 67-year-old woman passenger died in the one vehicle wreck. It snarled traffic on the Eastern Seaboard's Main Street for hours. Sounds newsworthy to me.
From the :47 video above you don't get much context about what set off this confrontation. But the 2:54 video below seems to indicate not all that much. Obviously there may be something even earlier that we are missing.
I am really not sure what there is to gain here for the Connecticut State Police. If troopers find it necessary to clear news photographers to secure evidence or for safety reasons, isn't there a better way to do it?
You personally may not like the idea of a free press, but I am reasonably certain that wearing a uniform in our country doesn't make you the arbiter of what is okay to shoot and what isn't. I have a recollection of learning that in grade school, but it is so long ago and so much has happened since then that I could be wrong. If it has changed, please forward me the updates that I've missed. I really have some catching up to do.
No matter what else happened before or after this video, we are left with these images on YouTube and a major newspaper's web site. Trying to step back and be objective in this case (some may question if I can considering my checkered past as a TV reporter), this is how I assess the video:
A photographer doing his job in an apparently professional manner. He keeps his distance. Does not appear to be in a particularly dangerous spot and does not interfere with the important operation at hand. The trooper, on the other hand, appears to confront the photographer and the public by losing his cool in a very unprofessional manner.
It's just a reminder that the person with the camera usually wins in these situations and your organization's image is the loser.
I will leave you with this question that was posted with the YouTube video. It's probably a good one to think about: "If the trooper acted this way knowing the camera was rolling how does he act when no cameras are around???"
But then again, maybe he was just having a bad day.