Bodycam footage released on Tuesday shows Denver police detaining a journalist attempting to photograph them as they were responding to an incident on a public sidewalk.
Susan Greene, editor of The Colorado Independent, says she stopped in downtown Denver last month after seeing a naked, African-American man who was handcuffed and surrounded by police.
Greene said that as she attempted to photograph the situation, two officers blocked her from taking photos, saying that medical privacy law supersedes her First Amendment rights and threatening to arrest her for interference.
The footage shows police taking Greene's phone and handcuffing her as she attempts to photograph one officer's badge. One officer tells her to stand up and “act like a lady.”
“Are you f---ing kidding me?” Greene responds in the video. “Act like a lady?”
“There you go,” the officer responds, “now you can go to jail.”
Greene was briefly detained in the patrol car and released after about 12 minutes, according to the Independent. Denver authorities said the man surrounded by police was brought to a hospital and released later that night.
Greene wrote in a blog post that she had an interest in the situation because her investigative work has largely focused on police brutality against black men.
District Attorney Beth McCann told Greene that the office would not press charges against the officers, but noted that officer telling her to “act like a lady” was “a little unnecessary.”
Greene says that she identified herself as a journalist when the police first approached her, though this is not visible in the body-cam footage.
Denver Police Department spokesman Jay Casillas told The Independent the department is investigating the situation internally. The paper’s lawyer said that the publication is considering legal action.
Mari Newman, a lawyer for Greene and The Independent, told the outlet that HIPAA does not apply to an individual on the street. The police department, according to the Independent, has sent two emails to its officers about the First Amendment.