Body camera video of police detaining a Denver journalist photographing officers shows one officer taking her phone and another handcuffing her right after saying she would be arrested for interfering if she didn't stop.
Susan Greene, editor of The Colorado Independent, was put in a patrol car in July after trying to document police tending to a handcuffed naked man on a sidewalk.
An officer used his body and hands to block her. When she stopped to talk, he said medical privacy law trumped her First Amendment rights to record the scene. This references HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Mari Newman, a lawyer for Greene and the Independent, said, "HIPAA does not apply to an individual on the street. It’s designed to protect private medical information — for example, information that a medical provider or an insurance company might have about a patient. HIPAA does not impose any obligations on a private individual walking around on the street."
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She was handcuffed after she then tried to photograph his badge. Officers told her to stand up and "act like a lady" and to stop resisting and relax when she said they were hurting her. She was released after about 10 minutes.
Police Chief Paul Pazen wrote in a letter to the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, the Colorado Press Association and the Colorado Broadcasters Association on July 10 that the investigation into the incident would provide a "professional, fair, and reasonable" outcome.