Photojournalist Mannie Garcia Awarded $45,000 in Police Lawsuit
1st A win. Police misconduct win.
The suit claimed that Montgomery police were in the habit of illegally arresting people who recorded their activity; this, say Garcia’s lawyers, was the case when the police threw Garcia (and his First and Fourth Amendment rights) to the ground and charged him with disorderly conduct. The facts of the case—in addition to a Statement of Interest submitted by The United States Department of Justice asking that courts be cautious of police using discretionary charges in cases like these—led to the $45,000 financial settlement reached this week.
Bob Corn-Revere, one of the attorneys representing Garcia, said he was pleased to see that the First Amendment rights of not just credentialed photojournalists but also citizens are being upheld. NPPA general counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher, who worked with Garcia and his lawyers on this case, was also happy with the judgement, praising Garcia and his legal team for relentlessly pursuing this case.
Finally, for his part, Garcia says he is “relieved.”
“I’m extremely relieved that it’s come to fruition after five and a half years,” he said. “I think this law suit has given attention to the fact that police departments need to pay attention in regards to individuals’ rights. It’s going to have an effect for everyone, not just me.”