A former KOB reporter is suing an an Albuquerque police officer in federal court, claiming the officer destroyed a video shot by the station while covering a story, according to Courthouse News Service.
Cristina Rodda says she was reporting on a rave at an Albuquerque nightclub (pictured), attended by hundreds of people, when Officer Stephanie Lopez pushed a patron to the ground. Rodda, an anchor and reporter at the NBC-affiliate, caught the incident on tape.
Rodda was subsequently asked to hand over her camera. When she refused, Lopez searched Rodda’s purse “without her consent and without probable cause to do so,” according to the complaint. Rodda states that Lopez confiscated her video camera for evidence, but instead of logging it with the police department, viewed it in her home. The video was returned to KOB three days later with the clip in question removed, according to the complaint. An independent expert was later able to recover the deleted clip.
A judge dismissed a criminal trespass charge against Rodda related to the case. Rodda is suing Lopez and the city of Albuquerque, seeking punitive damages for “constitutional violations, malicious and selective prosecution, intentional spoliation of evidence, negligence, medical costs, and state torts,” according to Courthouse News Service.
Here’s a KOB report on the incident from May 31, 2011: