U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Status Coup photojournalist briefly detained while covering NYC protest

Incident Details


In screenshots of footage captured by a bystander, New York Police Department officers detain Status Coup photojournalist Jon Farina while he was covering a pro-Palestinian protest. He was released without charges after approximately 10 minutes.

April 15, 2024

Status Coup photojournalist Jon Farina was briefly detained by New York Police Department officers while documenting a pro-Palestinian protest in New York City on April 15, 2024.

Farina told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he documented the protest as demonstrators made their way from Wall Street in Manhattan to the Brooklyn Bridge, shutting it down. The demonstration was part of a national campaign to block roads on Tax Day to disrupt economies and pressure leaders into advocating for a cease-fire, The New York Times reported.

Police had blocked most entrances to the bridge, Farina said, but a group of approximately 100 protesters found a way onto the roadway at around 3:30 p.m., blocking vehicular traffic. Farina said he and freelance photojournalist Olga Fedorova followed the demonstrators to continue their coverage.

Bicycle officers with the Strategic Response Group followed the protesters as they marched across the bridge, then began to arrest them one by one.

“I stayed behind with Olga to document as the rest of the protest continued forward,” Farina said. “The officers started telling us to move along, and they were in Olga’s face trying to prevent her from documenting the arrests.”

In footage captured by Farina, he and Fedorova can be heard identifying themselves as press, and an officer responds that he understands but orders them to keep moving across the bridge. A few moments later, another officer orders Farina to climb over the fence to the pedestrian side.

Farina said he responded that he had too much equipment and that he didn’t want to risk damaging it, so he told the officer that he’d walk to the end of the bridge. When Fedorova saw that he wasn’t climbing over she also stayed to walk with him, Farina told the Tracker.

As they neared the end of the bridge, officers boxed in Fedorova and handcuffed her, despite her protestations that she was a member of the press documenting the demonstration. Moments later, Farina was detained and cuffed with zip ties as well.

“We’re in the street documenting because there’s action happening — officers are making arrests or protesters are marching. We’re not there for no reason,” Farina told the Tracker. “If we can’t be there to properly document the arrests, then people aren’t going to see the truth of what’s happening on the ground.”

In an interview with the Tracker, Fedorova said the two of them were detained for approximately 10 minutes. The officers called the department’s Legal Bureau, she said, which advised them to release the journalists without charge.

Farina contended that the lack of charges shows that they shouldn’t have been detained in the first place and that such actions are part of a larger problem with the NYPD’s response to demonstrations.

“This is an issue and it’s been growing each week, every protest. The police, the violence and the chaos they cause, and the assaulting of journalists and the detaining of journalists, it’s just been getting worse,” Farina said. “I’m hoping we can fight back against this because it’s getting out of control.”

Farina told the Tracker he was assaulted while covering a separate pro-Palestinian protest on March 28. The New York Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.

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