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The Video Recording, Please 


We have heard from Eureka Police Chief Murl Harpham, and we appreciate his swift response to Editor Carrie Peyton Dahlberg's complaint about being threatened with an arrest after she took photos in the Eureka Main Library parking lot.

Harpham says there is a video recording of the incident, but so far it has not been made available to us. Giving us a copy of the recording will be a great next step toward correcting any errors on either side.

Meanwhile, you should know that after reviewing the tape, the chief says his officers did identify themselves, said "please" right after saying "no taking pictures," and made the arrest threat because they felt Carrie was too close, not because she was taking photos.

Harpham concludes, "[T]here was no violation of the law or policy by any officer ..." We respectfully disagree. Again, we are eager to obtain a copy of the recording, in its entirety, so we can fully understand the context and sequence of events. We understand the police and the district attorney are conferring on the legalities of releasing the tape.

Meanwhile, there is some good news here. The chief acknowledges that his officers could have been more polite. There is also some troubling news. The chief implies that evidence cannot be photographed in a public place. That's just plain wrong. Anything in a public place can be photographed, although officers can always request that certain shots not be taken. (See "From the Editor" Q&A on this page.)

The chief has suggested that this is a training opportunity for his officers and for the media. We agree. The more we talk, the better. Let's start with the recording, and then go from there.

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Judy Hodgson

Judy Hodgson is a co-founder of the North Coast Journal.

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