Correction: The law enforcement officer was not an arson investigator, as previously stated.
An unidentified law enforcement officer appeared to assault a photographer who was obeying orders and retreating at a fire scene on the west side.
The photographer, who asked not to be identified, said the officer twisted his arm, broke his camera and then refused to provide his badge number.
“I was walking away when he told me; then he came right at me and twisted my arm and took my camera,” the self-described fire chaser said. “He squeezed the phone so hard that he broke the buttons.”
He said he admires firefighters and never wanted to cause trouble. He said he was leaving the hospital, where his wife was, when he spotted a fire on the horizon.
“I have a lot of respect for firefighters,” he said. “This isn’t about them.”
It was originally reported that the law enforcement official was with the Fire Department’s arson division, but Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said the officer was from another agency.
Police have declined to comment.
Tonight I will be on Fox 2’s “Let It Rip” at 10:45 p.m. to discuss the growing tension between firefighters and photographers.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.