NYPD arrests photojournalist, charges him with disorderly conduct

February 11, 2020

Photojournalist Amr Alfiky was arrested while documenting an arrest in New York City, New York, on Feb. 11, 2020.

Alfiky, who is a photo editor at ABC News and a contributor to Reuters and The New York Times, was taking video of a man being arrested at about 7 p.m. in New York’s Lower East Side neighborhood when police took him into custody, Alfiky’s friend Mostafa Bassim told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In a video captured by Bassim, Alfiky can be heard repeatedly telling officers that he is a journalist as the officers push him toward the back of an SUV. As additional officers approach him, Alfiky can be heard offering to show them his press credentials and stating, “I did not refuse. I did not refuse.”

An NYPD spokesman alleged that Alfiky “refused to comply with repeated requests to step back,” and didn’t identify himself as a journalist until he was in police custody, the New York Daily News reported.

A police spokesman told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that Alfiky was taken to Manhattan’s 7th precinct and held for several hours before being released. The spokesman also confirmed that Alfiky’s press credential, issued by the NYPD, was confiscated.

That evening on Twitter, Alfiky wrote, “I’m out and safe. Thank you all for your invaluable support!”

Alfiky declined to comment and instead directed the Tracker to his attorney, Mickey Osterreicher.

Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, told the Tracker that Alfiky was charged with disorderly conduct and issued a summons for March 31.

“I’m hoping to have [the charges] disposed of before then, either to have the summons voided or to have the charges dismissed,” Osterreicher said.

If convicted, Alfiky could face a fine of up to $250 and up to 15 days in prison under state law.

Osterreicher told the Tracker that Alfiky’s press credential was returned to him on Feb. 14.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]

May 17, 2020 Update

The New York Police Department dropped the charge of disorderly conduct against photojournalist Amr Alfiky on May 17, 2020, National Press Photographer Association General Counsel Mickey Osterreicher told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

Alfiky, who is a photo editor at ABC News and a contributor to Reuters and The New York Times, was taking video of a man being arrested on Feb. 11 in New York’s Lower East Side neighborhood when police took him into custody.

Osterreicher said that before being dropped, the hearing date for Alfiky’s case was pushed multiple times in the spring and early summer because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The case was ultimately dismissed as a result of the New York Police Department’s “failure to timely file a legally satisfactory accusatory instrument with the court,” Osterreicher said.

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