Detroit journalist still facing felony charges for photographing cop scene
March 2, 2009 @ 1:58AM
A Detroit journalist who was arrested last November for taking pictures at a police scene is still facing two felony counts despite the fact that the charges are an obvious act of retaliation from a vengeful prosecutor.
Diane Bukowski was initially facing five felony counts of assaulting, resisting and obstructing a police officer, but a judge reduced them to two felony charges, which is still a travesty considering a Seattle deputy is facing a single misdemeanor charge for violently attacking a teenage girl.
In fact, police charged her with a single misdemeanor after she allegedly crossed a police line to photograph the scene of a double
fatality resulting from a police chase. They also deleted her photos.
But a few days later, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy slapped her with five felonies.
After all, Bukowski has been a frequent critic of Worthy “for not bringing criminal charges against officers involved in cases where evidence indicated shootings were unwarranted,” according to the Detroit Metro Times.
Now the ACLU is also suggesting that this is a case of retaliation, according to the Michigan Messenger.
The ACLU noted that Bukowski has reported on allegations of illegal strip and cavity searches by police in southwest Detroit and the refusal of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to prosecute police involved in killings.
“ [T]he danger is real that any ruling or verdict by the court that is adverse to the defendant’s interest (whether deserved or not), will be perceived by many as retaliation for her journalistic work,“ the group wrote. “These suspicions can be bolstered by questions about why the defendant is being prosecuted zealously given the absence of allegations that any real harm in the way of physical injuries or property damage resulted from her actions. Such perceptions and questions can chill journalist’s aggressive pursuit of information that the Constitution’s framers believed was essential to a healthy democracy.”
A spokeswoman for Prosecutor Kym Worthy denied the charges were retaliation against Bukowksi.
“We do not bring cases to retaliate,” said Maria Miller, spokeswoman and assistant prosecutor for Wayne County. “Her case was charged and is being prosecuted because we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the charge in this particular case.”
Bukowski, who is facing two years in prison, is scheduled to go to trial on April 27.