ABC Producer Arrested for Photographing Democrats

An ABC News producer-reporter has been arrested for taking pictures of Democratic Senators and other VIPs, apparently from a public sidewalk.

Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic Senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel. Police on the scene refused to tell ABC lawyers the charges against the producer, Asa Eslocker, who works with the ABC News investigative unit.

A cigar-smoking Denver police sergeant, accompanied by a team of five other officers, first put his hands on Eslocker’s neck, then twisted the producers arm behind him to put on handcuffs. […] During the arrest, one of the officers can be heard saying to Eslocker, “You’re lucky I didn’t knock the f..k out of you.”

Eslocker was released late today after posting $500 bond.

Eslocker and his ABC News colleagues are spending the week investigating the role of corporate lobbyists and wealthy donors at the convention for a series of Money Trail reports on ABC World News with Charles Gibson.

Steve Verdon sent this along, noting,

As an avid amatuer photographer I find these stories rather disquieting. Technically speaking the general rule is that once you go out in public you have no expectation of privacy and hence anyone can take your picture.

Plus there is the element of not picking a fight with the guy who buys his ink (and bandwidth) by the gallon (terrabytes).

No joke.

ABC’s reporting on this matter, bylined to Brian Ross, is rather hyperbolic and perhaps missing some essential facts. But the idea that one can’t photograph public officials, going to a public event, from the public sidewalks is baffling.

It should be noted that, although the cease-and-desist order that preceded arrest was apparently done at the behest of the hotel, we don’t have any information tying it to the Democratic Party or convention officials.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Media, US Politics, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    This is just a preview of what life will be like in the People’s Republic of Hussein Obama. Under Hussein your civil liberties will be toast.

    Luckily McCain will keep the Bush status quo on the issue.

  2. Spoker says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Freedom of the press is such a wonderful thing, especially when you can have John Law arrange so it can work for you just the way you want it to!

  3. JJ says:

    Triumph, In case you hadn’t noticed this civil rights violation occurred on George Worthless Bush’s watch. I do agree with you however, McSame will give us four more years of the status quo.

  4. Bithead says:

    Now, why on earth would the “Bush DOJ” as you claim, try to silence anyone bringing up facts against Obama? You boys aren’t making any sense.

    In any event, the request to the DOJ is coming from the Obama people.

  5. PD Shaw says:

    Well I sort of understand. The Chinese are trying to put on a show and maintain certain apperances, the reporters are being provocative and . . .

    Wait a minute, this isn’t about the Olympics?

  6. PD Shaw says:

    Sorry, I thought I saw this clip before. But it was a British journalist taking pictures of Tibet Protesters. Honest mistake.

  7. Michael says:

    In any event, the request to the DOJ is coming from the Obama people.

    [Citation needed]

  8. Bithead says:

    the Boston Globe:

    The Ayers TV spot. The American Issues Project is running a TV commercial making it seem as though Barack Obama and Bill Ayers, an unrepentant radical in the 1960s and ’70s, are best friends and that Obama supports his violent acts.

    Get some Justice. Obama’s campaign has demanded that the Justice Department investigate the Ayers spot, claiming it’s electioneering, not issue advocacy. Dallas megamillionaire Harold Simmons is bankrolling the ad. By himself. Simmons was a major donor to the Swift Boat smear job against Kerry and has raised more than $50,000 this time for McCain. Hard to call this an independent expenditure.

  9. Steve Plunk says:

    Don’t make a federal case out of this. Cops are cops from sea to shining sea. If you don’t do as they say and do it quickly expect to be rousted. Just try explaining the law to a police officer and see where that will get you.

    Another example of how our civil rights are more threatened by local officials than the federal government. Your city council has less respect for your rights than the DOJ, FBI, or whatever bogeyman you want to throw out.

  10. Michael says:

    Okay Bithead, now you’ve got me confused. When did the conversation go from the ABC producer and a C&D from the Hotel, to the Ayers spot?

  11. Michael says:

    So, James, are we going to get a post about what the police are doing in Minneapolis?