A WNYT news crew doing a story on the historic cottage where Ulysses S. Grant spent his final days was threatened with arrest yesterday.
WNYT reporter Mark Mulholland and his photographer Matt Soriano, who work out of the station’s Saratoga-North Country bureau, were shooting in an area near a soon to be closed and empty state prison when a corrections officer told them they couldn’t shoot footage there.
When Mulholland told the officer they would shoot at Grant’s cottage instead, the crew for the Albany, NY, NBC affiliate were told they couldn’t shoot there either.
Mulholland and Soriano then attempted to drive to the cottage, but were blocked, at first, by a corrections officer who had parked his car in the driveway.
The situation escalated as far as having the state police get involved. That’s when they were told they would be arrested if they didn’t turn over their footage.
A call between station management, state police and the Department of Corrections resolved the matter. No one was arrested and no footage was surrendered.
The DOC released a statement that read, “”We regret that this situation escalated, however the WNYT news crew blatantly disregarded a state officer who informed them they were trespassing. Department regulations state that photographs taken while on Prison property require prior permission. This policy is for the safety of all staff, visitors and prisoners.”
Mulholland told the station he’s rarely seen anything like this in his more than 20 years in the business.