WUSA Photographer Detained by Police Because of His Vest

By Kevin Eck 

A WUSA photographer was detained by a Washington, D.C. area police officer over fears about what he was wearing.

Russ Ptacek, an investigative reporter for the Washington, D.C. CBS affiliate, caught the arrest on his cellphone and posted images on twitter. Tuesday, he posted an explanation of what happened on his facebook page.

“Folks, this police officer had just ordered our photographer, Jeff Keene to turn off his camera,” wrote Ptacek, who said the two were recording in a county garage shooting DARPA, a “highly sensitive DOD building.”


According to WUSA, the two were shooting video “as part of a test at 10 D.C. area government buildings to see how agencies balance the need with security with the First Amendment, where photography falls under freedom of expression, according to experts.”

Ptaceck went on to say, “[The officer] then frisked [Keene] and ordered him to keep his hands up.” Ptacek added, “The officer doesn’t explain why, other than saying Jeff’s photographers vest was ‘tactical gear.’

Arlington Police responded to the incident by saying, “This encounter has been brought to our attention and we have already initiated an administrative investigation into the actions of our officers. We take all allegations of wrongdoing very seriously and we will thoroughly review the incident. We expect our officers to respect the Constitutional rights of everyone we encounter and provide the highest quality of service possible. Supervisors will continue to work with WUSA9 staff to gather all relevant information to conduct our investigation in the most thorough manner possible.

Here’s the video from Ptacek: